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[ EN ]
Coded Tracer for Animal Feeds
This invention relates to a tracer for use in animal feeds.
It is common in tracers for use in animal feeds to utilize inert chemical compounds which can be easily mixed with other ingredients and analysed for in samples, and also compounds of which the ingredients would have low levels, such that there would be low background levels. Another type of tracer utilizes colouring, either an ingredient which colours the entire feed product or small particles which are colour-coated and detectable by release of the colour with a solvent. Tracers of these types are limited in the scope of applications because detection may be difficult when the tracer is diluted and without a means of identifing the tracer, consecutive batches can not be differentiated.
In the feed industry, as standards of quality rise, and as public expectations of quality also rise, strict quality control management becomes more and more important, for example, the ability of the manufacturer to recall a specific batch if there is an error in mixing. The invention of a tracer which is readily detectable and coded, such that individual batches of feed products can be differentiated, will facilitate quality control procedures in the processing and distribution of such feed products.
In drawings which illustrate embodiments of the invention, Figure 1 is an enlarged plan view of an individual tracer particle among adjacent particles of feed ingredients.
In this invention, the tracer consists of uniformly sized particles, made of either paper products, including cardboard, or plastic products, serving as a harmless marker, of which a very small amount is included in a quantity of the animal feed. The particle size of the tracer may approximate the particle size of the feed ingredients, in the intended use, as is necessary to have adequate mixing.
In the embodiment shown in Figure 1, the tracer particle 1 is approximate in size to the adjacent feed particles. The tracer, for a specific application, would have particles of uniform size and shape, but the size and shape used would depend on the application and would commonly range from 0.001 to 1000 cubic millimeters.

The tracer is distinguishable by colouring and by coding on the tracer particles. The code may consist of a group of symbols, such as numbers and letters, so that the particles of the tracer used in a single batch of feed would all have the same code, which would be different from that of the tracer used in other batches. For the convenience of the consumer, the tracer could be differently coloured for various feed product types, and coded to indicate the manufacturing company and the sequential batch number.
The tracer would usually be included into a quantity of feed within a range of rates of 0.1 to 1000 grams of tracer to 1000 kilograms of feed. The tracer would usually be premixed with a carrier ingredient prior to mixing with the quantity of feed, to facilitate efficient mixing and distribution of the tracer.
The tracer would usually withstand normal processing procedures and remain stable in normal storage conditions adequate for the feed products. The tracer may be improved by a coating on the particles of an appropriate resin or wax product, especially for certain applications, such as with the inclusion of liquid feed ingredients or of steam.
The detection and observation of the tracer in samples of the feed may be done by a microscopic inspection of the sample, and usually magnification of approximately 25 to 35 times is adequate. In feeds that have been pelleted or similarly processed, the sample may be crushed to separate the ingredient particles to facilitate the inspection.
Another way in which this invention may be used is as a tracer in plant seeds, such as in agricultural applications, for similar purposes as with animal feeds, to mark and track batches of seed.

Another way in which this invention may be used is as a tracer in the testing of the mixing ability of mixing equipment, by quantitative measurement of tracer particles per unit of weight in consecutive samples from a batch of feed.