GMP+ participants are positive about the EWS system

20 October 2016

This is shown in a recently held EWS survey among GMP+ participants who filed an EWS notification in 2015 and the first half of 2016 and / or who have been involved in an EWS case.

Over the past years, GMP+ International has implemented improvement measures in the field of EWS. Mid 2016, the time was right to test the results thereof at the companies.

The EWS survey shows that we are friendly, have knowledge of our subject matter and provide objective and informative information. However, sometimes it is not entirely clear what EWS reporters can expect from GMP+ International with regard to response speed. In addition, EWS reporters expressed the wish to receive more information from GMP+ International.

The first step in transparency has been taken: what products with what contaminants in what countries were involved in an EWS report / case to date? From now on, that information is available via this overview.

An analysis of the EWS notifications/cases to date, resulted in the following interesting conclusion:

Increasing awareness of (potential) risks for feed safety among GMP+ participants

At the beginning of the 4th quarter of 2016, the number of EWS reports (172 divided across 103 cases) is already above the yearly total of 2015 (147 notifications divided across 98 cases. This increase can be explained based on increasing awareness of (new and existing) threats and risks for feed safety and an increasing awareness to report and exchange information.

The number of warnings (17) sent to GMP+ participants is equal to the number in 2015. This relatively low number shows that GMP+ certifies companies have the situation under control relatively quickly, due to which the risk of contamination in the chain remains small and the feed safety was not compromised. Most reports relate to pesticides in feed materials.

An explanation for the drop in the number of additional audits is that the EWS reports don’t nearly as much give rise to suspicion of non-compliance of GMP+ FSA requirements. At the same time, companies are more willing to share the information, so that the situation is clear much sooner.

These are the main conclusions of the EWS figures of the first three quarters of 2016.

Feet materials and pesticides still dominate

85% of the reports to date concerned feed materials. This is not very surprising, since weather conditions are uncontrollable.

In feed materials, the number of reports about pesticides has increased: from 45 reports in 2015, to 55 reports already in 2016. Most issues with pesticides in feed occurred in citrus pulp pellets (18 reports), lupins (11 reports), followed by soy byproducts (8 reports).

The complete overview ‘Risks by products and origin’ – also to be used for your own HACCP plan – is available at our GMP+ portal.

Causes of contamination

In nearly half of the reports of unsafe feed, the cause of the contamination was found:

  • 36 reports with a natural cause;
  • In 29 reports, the cause was in the immediate control of the feed company (category ‘Processing – inside feed company’). This concerns notifications in which, somewhere in the production process, the contamination has arisen. This can be during cultivation (for instance through the use of pesticides), processing (for instance by machine leakage) or during transport and storage (for instanced by cross-contamination) of the relevant product;
  • In 15 reports, the cause was beyond the immediate control of the feed company (category ‘Processing – outside feed company’). This can be in the sampling of the relevant product or analysis of the sample.

The biggest category ‘not detected’ (82 reports, or 47.7%) consists of reports in which the cause of the contamination was not found. These are reports in which investigation did not lead to a cause. It also concerns reports in which, in the end, the food did not prove to be unsafe. It concerns situations in which the contamination was not confirmed by the counter analysis, the limit was not exceeded or because there was no product limit.

The importance of reporting!

It is important for irregularities to be reported. It allows other parties involved to be informed of possible threats or risks at an early stage (damage control) and take the necessary actions. Therefore, the Early Warning System (EWS) is an important element of a Feed Safety Management system as GMP+ FSA.

The more reports, the better, is the communication of GMP+ International with regard to potential risks in feed products. This can serve as input in making your company specific HACCP plan. It allows all parties to better face the daily challenges involved in delivering safe feed for safe food.

What else can you expect from us?

Other suggestions for improvement that emerged from the EWS survey will now be detailed further. We will inform you about this in the near future. In addition, the partnership with SecureFeed, about which we informed you recently, may prove fruitful in the field of EWS.

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