“A proper feed safety control of the whole feed chain is essential in order to keep the current strong position of the Turkish feed industry and to support its ambition to strengthen its position internationally. In every stage of the production chain, feed safety risks can occur.”
Livestock production and the consumption of animal products are crucial to the economic and nutritional well-being of millions of people around the world, including Turkey. Animal feed plays a leading role in producing safe, and affordable animal proteins for a growing population.
The Turkish feed industry develops rapidly and impressively to a higher level in volume as well as qualitatively. Partly, it is due to the development of the national livestock and aquatic farming. The Turkish feed industry has also a substantial export of feed products (concentrates, premixtures) to Europe and Middle East. A proper feed safety control of the whole feed chain is essential in order to keep the current strong position of the Turkish feed industry and to support its ambition to strengthen its position internationally. In every stage of the production chain, feed safety risks can occur.
In this article, we give an overview of possible feed safety risks and the way of control them in a transparent way and according international standards.
FEED SAFETY HAZARDS
Practise learns that feed products can be contaminated with chemical and physical substances and biological agents. It depends on the used ingredients, the origin, and the production processes in the links in the chain.
Chemical hazards may occur through natural chemicals (such as mycotoxins), industrial and environmental contaminants (like heavy metals, dioxins, and PCB’s), and residues of veterinary drugs, pesticides, and radionuclides. Some of them could also be potential contaminants of fishmeal and oil.
Physical hazards are foreign objects like pieces of glass, metal, plastic, rope, and wood.
Biological hazards are such as bacteria (like salmonellae), viruses, fungi, and parasites.
A too high contamination could influence the growth performance of the animals, increase the feed conversion, but also induce disease resistance, and result in biological changes. These are all consequences with an economic impact.
Above that, contaminants transferred from feed into the animals can also have a negative impact on the safety of the animal products for the consumers and on the health image of it.
The consumers expect a healthy product. To get safe animal feed, a proper feed safety control by means of an adequate assurance system is a precondition. If such an assurance system is applied demonstrably, it will add value to the animal products definitively. In the international feed market it is crucial to show that the safety of the delivered products are assured demonstrably via reliable certification.
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS IN A FEED SAFETY ASSURANCE SYSTEM
For the application of proper feed safety control, a series of risk mitigation measures should be put in place for achieving the best possible result.
1. First of all, it is necessary to implement a proper prerequisite program, also called Good Manufacturing Practises (GMP). It is about maintenance of buildings and machinery, training of employees, hygiene and cleaning program, pest control, etc. This all creates a basic level of control of possible hazards in the production process.
2. Secondly, HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) is a tool to identify specific hazards, which could become risks in the production process, remained after application of the prerequisites.
3. HACCP results in identifying and taking the proper control measures for mitigation of the real safety risks, as well as monitoring of the effectiveness of these control measures.
4. Additionally, a proper quality management system (like ISO 9001) ensures the consistent application of the defined control measures and verification procedures in the daily operations.
GMP+ FEED SAFETY ASSURANCE
The mentioned control measures are elements in many quality systems. Based on practical experiences of many participants in the past 25 years, GMP+ International added extra elements into the GMP+ FSA certification scheme: chain approach, traceability, and early warning.
Practical experiences show that the source of contamination in the feed sector often occurs in the supply chain. In the past, some cases resulted in delivery of huge amounts of contaminated feed ingredients downstream, resulting in much media attention, bad reputation, and high cost for removal. Therefore, in 1999 it was decided to choose for a chain approach by extending the scope of the GMP+ FSA certification to the whole supply chain.
Chain approach is a basic principle in the GMP+ FSA certification scheme. It means that all companies in the supply chain take their responsibility regarding the control of the feed safety of the products or services they deliver. It is the most effective approach to mitigate emerging risks in the chain as early as possible instead of an uncontrollable end-of-pipeline approach.
Only in some cases, a gatekeeper option is allowed for the producers of pre-mixtures and mixed feed. GMP+ Feed Certification scheme is unique in the world with this chain approach principle and therefore appreciated by many mixed feed producers. It enables them to have an adequate control of the risks which may occur.
All mentioned control measures are preventive: to avoid contamination of feed products put on the market. Traceability and early warning system (EWS) are additional corrective measures.
Traceability is important to trace back contaminated feed products delivered into the market. It enables to find the source of the contaminated lot(s) and if possible to find out the cause, which can contribute to improved control in the supply chain in the future.
Traceability enables also to trace forward customers which received contaminated lots to block these lots and avoid further distribution of the contaminated feed. Practise shows that this approach is very effective and avoids incidents at a larger scale with image and more financial damage.
Finally, EWS is an extra safety net. In case a GMP+ FSA certified company exceeds the maximum permitted level of a contaminant in feed products, it is obliged to notify GMP+ International. When other companies can be confronted with the same contamination in purchased feed materials, GMP+ International send a EWS message to all GMP+ FSA certified companies in order to alert them. This contributes to minimize the impact of contaminated lots of feed products on the market.
PARTICIPATION IN GMP+ FSA CERTIFICATION
Currently, over 15,100 companies / locations are GMP+ FSA certified, in over 79 countries all over the world. All kind of companies are involved: collection of arable products, trade, transports, transport charters, producers of feed materials, of additives, of pre-mixtures and compound feed. In this respect, GMP+ FSA certification is leading globally.
The total number of GMP+ FSA certified Turkish companies is 24 nowadays (with 28 certificates). The increase was substantially in 2014 – 2015.
The certified participants are mainly involved in production and trade of feed materials and additives. Besides that, there is also one producer of pre-mixtures and compound feed, due to increasing international activities. Above that, two sea ships charter companies are certified.
The GMP+ Feed Certification scheme is based on 25 years practical experienced which resulted in regular updates of the scheme standards. GMP+ International is an independent, non-profit organization operating internationally and based on a balanced stakeholders participation of the feed and food production chain.
We also suggest you to read our previous article titled "Technology Selection in Feed Plant".