In global terms, animal feeds and forages contain a wide range of contaminants and toxins arising from anthropogenic and natural sources. In this article, the distribution of heavy metals, radionuclides, mycotoxins, plant toxins, antibiotics and microbial pathogens in cereals, complete feeds and forages is reviewed. The impacts on farm livestock productivity and on the safety of resulting edible products are also considered. Evidence is provided to demonstrate that feeds contain a variety of substances as co-contaminants and that there are regional differences in the nature of the compounds involved. It is concluded that the options for remedial action are limited. Furthermore, although many developing countries lack appropriate legislation, change in this respect is inevitable as regulatory controls for feeds imported into Europe and America are strengthened.