PARTNER INTRODUCES HIMSELF
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Mia Eeckhout from Ghent University introduces herself:
The UGent Faculty of Bioscience Engineering sciences has been involved in FDL from the very beginning through the Lab for cereals and feed technology, and more specifically through Mia Eeckhout. Mia Eeckhout, professor of food and feed technology since 1989, was one of the first board members of the FDL foundation and succeeded Yvan Dejaegher (Belgian Feed Association – BFA) as chairperson in 2014.
I am responsible for research in and teaching of compound feed technology. Every year, some 25 engineers graduate who, in addition to knowledge about animal nutrition, also have a healthy dose of knowledge about compound feed and pet food production. The Lab also conducts research into new ingredients and additives on behalf of or in collaboration with the industry. Within the faculty and in addition to this lab, the lab for nutritional quality of animal products from the Animal department is also actively involved in research for the compound feed sector.
When Feed Design Lab was created, the board consisted of 3 Dutch and 3 Flemish members. In this way, they attempted to give sufficient visibility to the fact that FDL and in particular its pilot factory is targeting both the Flemish and the Dutch compound feed sector. This approach also secured the link with both regions.
My task within FDL (programme manager) has developed into screening possible future themes for workshops and projects, developing the educational offer as well as support, based on experience, for the development of the services provided by the pilot factory.
I became a partner and, a few years later, the proud chairperson of FDL, from the conviction that there was a need for such an initiative as an exchange platform for knowledge and experience, and to help the sector deal with current and future challenges.
One of the subjects that are close to my heart is the technological feasibility of side streams within a circular (no-waste) economy. To achieve this, we can make use of the FDL infrastructure. Another theme is processing optimisation, with a view to optimum physical quality and microbiological safety, and with minimal adverse effects on nutritional quality.