The processes of digestion and metabolism result in losses of energy and protein in feed consumed by animals kept for the production of meat, milk, and eggs. However, food animals convert a wide variety of human-inedible materials into human food. The net effect on human food supply varies according to species, product, production system, and relative amounts of human-edible and human-inedible inputs; on a global basis, the plus and minus factors appear to be nearly in balance. The nutritional properties of animal source foods and their contributions to dietary palatability and variety as well as other factors appear to favor continued inclusion of livestock in food-producing systems. Efficiency of conversion of feed to food has increased significantly in recent years, and there appears to be good potential for further increases.
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