Trend: increase in EWS reports & cases in 2015

09 February 2016

With 147 EWS notifications divided across EWS cases, GMP+ International faced a signifi-cant increase in the number of EWS notifications compared to 2014 (75). The number of warnings sent to GMP+ participants was significantly less (17) than the 45 warnings in 2014. This shows that GMP+ certified companies have the situation under control faster, reducing the risk of contamination in the chain, due to which feed safety was not com-promised. Most notifications related to pesticides in feed materials.

Thirteen additional audits were required for further investigation into correct compliance with the GMP+ FSA requirements (10 notifications) or correct compliance with specific GMP+ BA5 requirements (EWS) (3 notifications).

These are the main conclusions of the EWS year figures of 2015.

Feed materials and pesticides dominate

Almost 80% of the reports concerned feed materials. Compound feed, additives, premixtures and non-feed (foodstuffs, bedding, fertilizer and products with a technical destination) caused much less problems for GMP+ participants.

In feed materials, the number of notifications relating to pesticides has increased significantly; from 12 notifications in 2014 to 44 notifications in 2015. This makes contaminant ‘pesticides’ hazard number 1. Despite the fact that there is no product limit for Salmonella, contaminant ‘micro organic hazards’) comes in second (16 notifications Salmonella and 1 Enterobacteriaceae). Followed, closely by reports about dioxins/PCBs in feed (16 reports).

Most problems with pesticides in feed materials occurred in grains and byproducts of grain (12 notifications) followed by byproducts of soy (10 notifications).

What is striking in the Netherlands, is that the number of notifications of unsafe feed concerned more compound feed (11 notifications) than feed materials (10 notifications). The reports of compound feed related to the presence of heavy metals (4 notifications), Salmonella (4 notifications), pesticides (1 notifications), salinomycin (1 notification) en flubendazol (1 notification).

Causes of contamination

In 20% of the notifications the cause of the contamination originated within the direct control of the feed company (category ‘processing’). This concerns notifications in which the contamination arose somewhere in the production process. This may be during cultivation (for instance because of the use of pesticides), processing (for instance by a leakage in a machine) or during transport and storage (for instance because of cross-contamination) of the relevant product.

‘Natural exposure’ is cause number 2, followed by human error.

In 20% of the cases, no cause (‘not detected’) of the contamination could be detected.

The biggest category, ‘not applicable’ consists of notification in which eventually – after investigation – there proved to be no unsafe feed. This concerns situations in which the contamination was not confirmed by the counter analysis, the product limit was not exceeded after deduction of the measurement uncertainty or because there is no product limit (such as in Salmonella).

The importance of reporting!

It is essential for irregularities to be reported. It allows for swift action and, where necessary, other parties involved to be informed of possible threats or risks (damage control). For that reason, the Early Warning System (EWS) is an important element of a feed safety management system such as GMP+ FSA.

Risk management, the learning effect of EWS!

EWS notifications of participating companies form a source of inspiration for GMP+ to emphasize potential risks in its communication, ànd it can lead to improvements of the GMP+ FSA module (such as the Aflatoxin protocol harvest 2015), Feed Support Products (quick scan chloramphenicol and adjustment of risk assessments), the certification and conformity requirements (integrity policy), risk communication and other activities (such as: providing an explanation at theme meeting of HISFA).

A number of terms explained

Notification                     Unsafe feed being reported to GMP+ International

Case                                  The whole of notifications about the same unsafe situation. It concerns notifications of different companies. Several notifications may relate to one case.

Warning                           GMP+ participants are warned to be alert to possible contamination in the purchase of a certain product from a certain country or region. The situation is urgent and not (fully) under control. 

Risk communication      GMP+ participants are not warned for an unsafe situation, but information about EWS notifications that may be relevant to the risk assessment of the participants is shared. For instance, the cause of multiple notifications leads to the same source/risk.

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