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Special Select® premium fish meal is a high-quality protein made from menhaden. Unlike sources of plant proteins such as soybean meal, Special Select® fish meal is a complete source of highly digestible, low-allergenic protein, has a superior amino acid profile, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and is a natural protein source for animals and fish.

Special Select fish meal differs from conventional regular grade fish meal in the quality and freshness of the raw material. Special Select meal is produced from a single species of fish, the Menhaden. The Menhaden are delivered chilled and whole to the processing facility in modern refrigerated vessels where they are immediately processed.This immediate processing technique allows OPI to optimize the quality of the meal through low temperature drying conditions and stabilization at the time of manufacture. The product is therefore of high protein quality, showing enhanced digestibility.

Nutritional attributes

Fish meal has a high crude protein content ranging from 62% to more than 70% (Sauvant et al., 2004) and a high amino acid quality (Médale et al., 2009).

Potential constraints

Contaminants and toxic substances

Since proteins and lipids from fish are highly degradable, adequate processing has to be achieved in order to prevent protein breakdown into biogenic amines (especially histamines) or fatty acids breakdown into oxidized compounds. Bacterial development, although low, should be avoided given the low levels of moisture and the absence of carbohydrates. Cooking fish meal above 80°C normally destroys bacteria but the whole chain-process is susceptible to re-infection: high air-temperature must be reached in the dryers, external sources of contamination (rodents, birds, flies and insects) must be eliminated, and storage buildings must be dry (no condensation) and clean (FAO, 1986).

Fish meal is also susceptible to chemical contamination with harmful substances (chlorinated hydrocarbons: dieldrin, lindane, PCBs, dioxins) (Erne et al., 1979), due to the accumulation of those anthropogenic substances in the marine food chain and finally in the fatty tissues of fish used for the manufacture of fish meal. The levels of such contaminants (PCBs, dioxins) in fish meal depend on the fish source: fish meals from Central America have lower levels than those from the Northern hemisphere (New et al., 2002).

A toxic substance called gizzerosine is formed when fish meal is directly dried at 180°C (vs. 140°C) in order to improve fish meal productivity. Gizzerosine is detrimental to poultry as it causes gizzard erosion and black vomit (Hinrichsen et al., 1997). This problem can be avoided if steam is used to dry fish meal (Sugahara, 1995).

Ban in ruminant nutrition

Fish meal has been banned in the European Union since 2000 in ruminant nutrition but remains authorized for pigs, poultry and fish (European Commission, 2001). It was re-authorized in 2009 to make milk replacers for young ruminants (European Commission, 2009). Fish meal is banned in Australia under the Ruminant Feed Ban (AHA, 2014).


Although the use of fish meal is prohibited for ruminants in the European Union and in other countries, it is a valuable source of by-pass protein (cooking fish causes protein binding) and is thus used as a by-pass protein.



In Sheep, the undegradable protein content of fish meal improves forage intake. Inclusion levels range from 2.5% in lambs to 7.5% in milking ewes (FIN, 2000). High protein content improves immune status: feeding ewes with fishmeal during late pregnancy decreased worm infestation and thus reduced the use of anthelmintics (Donaldson et al., 1998).

Fish meal supplementation increases reproduction performance in ewes: conception rates, lamb litter weight, lamb weight and vigour at birth, including colostrum and heat production (Vipond et al., 1996; Robinson et al., 1989; Robinson et al., 1999). Milking ewes supplemented with fish meal produced more milk. Fish meal also improved live-weight gains in early weaned lambs grazing tall fescue (Poppi et al., 1988).


Fish meal has a high biological value for pigs. Protein of fish meal is of good quality: it has a high methionine content and the protein is highly digestible. Its contents in vitamins, n-3 fatty acids and minerals are very valuable for pigs. Levels of incorporation vary from 5 to 10% in piglet feeds to about 3% in feeds for finishers or sows (FIN, 2000; Patience et al., 1995).

Different studies proved that fish meal is beneficial in starters and weaned pigs at rates below 10% (Lopes et al., 2007; Zivkovic et al., 2007; Kats et al., 1992; Aas et al., 1984). Inclusion rates higher than 10% were not economically viable (Patience et al., 1995). Fish meal is also reported to be hypoallergenic to piglets and was found to decrease diarrhoea during post-weaning (Gore et al., 1990). It could be useful in low health status piglets to improve daily gain (Bergstrom et al., 1997).


Fish meal is an interesting concentrated protein source for poultry, particularly in situations where land animal by-products have been banned in poultry feeds. Fish meal has a high biological value in poultry, not only as a protein source but also as source of minerals, such as P and Ca, and trace elements such as Se or I. However, the high prices of fish meal limit the inclusion levels and those remain around or below 5% (Blair, 2008; Chadd, 2008).

Including fish meal in broilers diets increases body weight, daily weight gain and feed intake. Fish meal has greater impact on growing broilers than on starters. It is highly valuable to young turkeys. In laying hens and broilers, inclusion of fish meal may cause a fishy taste in eggs and meat (Blair, 2008).


Fish meal is a valuable feedstuff for rabbits. Due to its cost, there have been several attempts to replace it by less expensive products: it was possible to totally or partially replace fish meal with quinoa grain, blood meal, extruded hatchery wastes, meat meal and poultry viscera meal (Lebas, 2004).


Given that the indispensable amino acid profile of fish meal reflects that of the ideal protein pattern for fish or shrimp, fish meal is a major protein source in aquaculture. Protein digestibility of good quality fish meal is very high with equally high amino acid availability (Anderson et al., 1995). Fish meal is also a source of essential fatty acids, minerals and trace elements.


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Fish Meal Info

Mix And Match Available! Create your own custom Pallet of any type of 50 Lb Bag of Feed and save on shipping cost. A full Pallet is (40 to 50) 50 lb bags.




Delivery options/Information

Buying 1-10 bags we can UPS. (The cost will be calculated when you add the amount you want into the shopping cart and go to checkout, note this is before you enter any payment info).

Buying 11 or more bags if you are out of our farm route delivery area in upstate NY, we can arrange LTL deliveries to the lower 48 and most of Canada.

The lowest cost per unit way for us to deliver would be a full pallet, as it costs about the same to ship 2,500 lbs on a pallet as it does 1,000 lbs!

Please in the delivery notes say if you do not have a business/farm with a way to unload a pallet, as that will change the shipping price as the LTL shipper will charge for lift gate service.



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