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Animal Health

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Livestock Production
Thursday, May 12, 2016 10:05:34 PM
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Chain approach in feed safety control is crucial


Johan den Hartog, managing director, GMP+ International


Livestock production and the consumption of animal products are crucial to the economic and nutritional well-being of millions of people around the globe. Animal feed plays a leading role in the food industry as the most important contributor to safe, abundant, and affordable animal proteins for a growing population. The role of animal feed in the production of safe food is recognised worldwide.

Lessons from the past

Due to the international character of the animal feed industry, the wide variety of macro and micro ingredients, and the sometimes long supply chains, controlling  feed safety risks across the whole supply chain is crucial.


Back in the 1990's, some hard, lessons were learned by the GMP+ FSA (Feed Safety Assurance)
certified companies. The cadmium in cadmium in di-calcium phosphate  crisis in 1996, the mad cow disease found in meat-and-bone meal between 1992 – 2000, dioxin found in Brazilian citrus pulp in 1998 and dioxin used in fats from Belgium in 1999 were all incidents that demonstrated the important role of a stable and controlled supply chain.


These incidents led to the conclusions that safe feed can only be produced and delivered to a farmer when the whole feed supply chain is involved in feed safety assurance. As a result pro-active approach by means of HACCP is preferred instead of a re-active approach after the occurrence of safety emergencies.

The GMP+ Feed Certification scheme

In 1999 GMP+ International therefore decided to integrate HACCP principles into the GMP+ Feed Certification scheme and to extend the scopes for certification to the entire supply chain. These improvements were implemented between 2000 and 2003, based on the principle that every entrepreneur in the feed chain is responsible to put safe products and services on the market.


Many companies underline this approach, evidenced by the large and still growing GMP+ participants. Today, over 15,000 companies / locations are GMP+ FSA certified, located in over 80 countries in Europe, North and South America and Asia. Participation is triggered by market demand, but also in some cases by the free choice of market leaders.


The three pillars of a Feed Safety Management System

An additional advantage of the chain approach is uniformity regarding the principles of feed safety control in the whole feed chain. The principles, laid down in all GMP+ FSA standards are:

  • a sound prerequisite programme
  • a detailed and exhaustive hazard plan 
  • a supporting management system

These three pillars are the base of a complete management system for assuring feed safety.


Specific requirements for suppliers are designed to create a feed supply chain where all involved companies assure the safety of the feed in all stages of production and distribution in the same way. With a GMP+ FSA certificate, they demonstrate that they meet the highest standards for feed safety.



Third party certification

All GMP+ FSA certified companies worldwide are certified by third party certification through a uniform and consistent set of rules for certification. This certification process is assessed in a consistent way by accreditation and via compliance assessments performed by GMP+ International.


The global coverage of GMP+ Feed Safety Assurance enables to act swiftly. This in the interest of all links in the feed chain, the livestock and aqua farmers, as well as the following links in the food production chain. In this way, a level playing field is created on a rather high level internationally.


Harmonization of feed safety assurance schemes

Multiple feed safety assurance certification schemes operate locally and globally. Some of them have a mutual recognition agreement  to enable companies, participating in different certifications schemes, to trade properly. Experience demonstrated that, even small, differences in purchase requirements by the several certification schemes could result in confusion and sometimes (ab)use.


In June 2015, GMP+ International reached an harmonization agreement for the supply of feed ingredients and services with three leading feed safety assurance scheme holders (AIC, Ovocom, QS).The aim of this agreement is to create uniformity, to improve transparency and to avoid (ab)use of the current differences. The goal is to achieve this uniformity before end 2016. The result should be a better control of the feed safety in the whole feed chain.



For more of the article, please click here.


Article made possible through the contribution of Johan den Hartog and GMP+ International

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