Peruvian fishmeal industry on the right track but opportunities are glooming

24 February 2016

During a Latin America tour in November 2015, we noticed the overall improvements made in the Peruvian fishmeal sector. In the previous newsletter, we informed you about it. In this newsletter, we focus on some opportunities for improvement of the risk assessment and monitoring, com-bined with saving money. Involved companies are invited to respond to GMP+ International and hand in suggestions for newsletters about other topics (see below).

Risk based monitoring

Peruvian fishmeal producers conduct monitoring by means of sampling & laboratory testing. However, this monitoring is possibly not fully based on a risk analysis approach. That could lead to unnecessary costs, but also an overlook of potential hazards. Two examples: aflatoxin and pesticides.

One of the HACCP principles is to set up and implement a monitoring plan for Critical Control Points (GMP+ B2, section 6.1). For traceability reasons, samples of incoming and outgoing products need to be taken, but that does not mean that these should be analysed in a laboratory. But for the monitoring plan, some are analysed according the determined frequency.

The nature and intensity of the monitoring by means of laboratory analysis is to a great degree determined by the results of the risk assessment carried out by the GMP+ FSA participant. A suitable base for carrying out a company-specific risk assessment is the generic risk assessment, which GMP+ International provides as part of the Feed Support Products services. The last version is of 17/11/2015, under code: 232, available for all GMP+ FSA certified companies and applicants.

It is important to carry out an assessment of possible risks of contamination for the whole production process, based on known information. The following three main phases in the production process could be distinguished:

  1. sourcing (catching of fish, storage in vessel, transport)
  2. processing of fish into fishmeal and fish oil
  3. storage & transhipment

For Peruvian fishmeal and fish oil, in the step sourcing the possible contamination of the coastal ocean waters and subsequently the contamination of the fresh anchovies must be addressed. Coastal ocean water could be contaminated by effluents coming from the mainland area. It is e.g. about effluent of:

  1. Wastewater from households and industry;
  2. Rainwater contaminated by pesticide and fertilizer residues used in agricultural production;
  3. Leaching and surface water contaminated with substances that are released during mining operations.

The processing step could have influence due to use or not of processing agents (chemical contaminants), maintenance of equipment and devices which contains lubricating of hydraulic oils, and hygiene (microbiological agents). It depends on the specific situation and mode of operation of a specific processing plant.

The risks during storage & transhipment are related to the moisture content of the fishmeal, the storage temperature conditions, packaging, purity of fish oil, possibility of co-mingling with other products, swapping and mixing up with non-certified products, etc.

It has been noticed that fishmeal producers carry out aflatoxin B1 analysis in the monitoring programs. However, it is not imaginable how and when that contaminant might occur in fishmeal. The fungi, producing this toxin, are typical for pre- and postharvest phase of certain cereals, under specific moisture and temperature conditions. It is inconceivable that it occurs during fishmeal production.

Regarding pesticides, monitoring of residues of so-called ‘old’ pesticides like DDT, dieldrin, etc. is noticed. The question is whether these pesticides are still used in the Peruvian arable production. If not, it could be more useful to focus on possible residues of currently used (‘modern’) pesticides.

Collective risk assessment and monitoring

Regarding risk assessment and monitoring, there are opportunities to conduct it partly by the Peruvian fishmeal producers jointly. The conditions of the sourcing part of the production chain are the same for all Peruvian fishmeal producers. It could be recommendable that the Peruvian fishmeal industry carries out this risk assessment jointly via its trade organization. That will increase uniformity in the perception of hazards and the validity of the risk assessment. It could also be useful to involve or consult the Peruvian authority in this assessment. The starting point can be the generic risk assessment of GMP+ International mentioned before. The result of the joint risk assessment could be input for the next version of this GMP+ risk assessment.

For monitoring of the possible risks in the sourcing phase, a joint monitoring program of the Peruvian fishmeal producers would also a possibility. Benefits of a joint monitoring program are reduction of total cost and better transparency. The GMP+ Monitoring Database is a useful tool for planning, analysis storage, assessment, and sharing of the results.

Sign up for the GMP+ International newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest news