Feed safety requires participation and cooperation
27 March 2017
Feed safety connects. That’s a major lesson of 25 years of securing feed safety. In 1992 the first code of feed safety control was established in the Netherlands. It was focused on the production of compound feed and premixtures. Since then, the certification scheme has made many connections. Right now, assurance of feed safety requires a huge network that participates and cooperates. “We continue to facilitate this network”, says Johan den Hartog, managing director of GMP+ International.
For his organization the main priority is for the GMP+ Feed Certification scheme to help companies produce safe feed. In the first period of GMP the code was developed in response to incidents and crises with unsafe feed. The current phase of life of the scheme is much more pro-active. In order to keep track of future developments, GMP + International involves certified companies and their environment in the development of the certification scheme.
This year, GPM+ International will celebrate its 25th anniversary and will establish its involvement in the industry with an international event in Amsterdam from the 1st till the 3rd of November 2017. During this event, GMP + International will looks back into past history, but mainly focuses on the future. Johan den Hartog, managing director of GMP+ International: "We appreciate the effort people have taken to shape the environment which has led to the expansion of the scheme as we currently know it but this year we are looking forward to trends and developments which lie ahead.
At the beginning of November, GMP+ International celebrates its 25th anniversary with an international congress in Amsterdam (the Netherlands). At the congress the focus will be on issues such as shortage of raw materials, climate change, the development of a bio-based economy, geopolitical tensions and – as because of that – currency fluctuations. "These are all aspects that we have to keep up with, for the assurance of feed safety. It requires adjustments at companies and in our schedule. Topics arise like in what way does feed safety and assurance impact the GMP + Feed Safety Assurance -(FSA) Module ? And what must be done to respond to these changes", says Den Hartog.
Reflection of the past
Characteristics of the current GMP+ FC scheme reflect issues from the past 25 years. Due to incidents with feed contamination, the market participants and authorities fueled the process. The first Code of Practice was issued in 1992 called GMP. This was integrated with quality management in accordance with ISO 9001, in 1995. The BSE crisis in Europe followed, which underlined importance to make feed safety assurance more proactive. HACCP made its appearance, and the scheme was extended to the supply chain (1999). That allowed for faster anticipation in case of incidents: early warning and tracking and tracing were introduced in 2000. Subsequently, the scheme went international (as of 2001) to companies in more than 80 countries today.
This way many parties are involved in the approach to obtain safe feed. That also leads to many wishes with regard to the elaboration of the scheme. GMP + International decided to actively involve them in the development of the scheme. In 2010 the multi stake holder participation was introduced. This has a crucial role in matching the schedule with the practice and the tremendous diversity that exists in the playing field worldwide and between the companies that are GMP + FSA certified. It better accentuated the global discrepancies between government and market requirements. Without compromising the minimum demands on the assurance of safe animal feed, GMP+ International introduced the possibility for regional wishes regarding the scheme. In 2011, country notes were introduced. This was followed by the desire to match feed safety certification with other aspects that require certification, such as sustainability requirements of raw materials like soy and palm oil. GMP + International anticipated with the GMP + Feed Responsibility Assurance (FRA) Module, which introduced in 2013 the opportunity for one-stop multi certification.
In the meantime the secretariat of GMP + International turned into a knowledge center for the many affiliated companies. For questions about how to comply with the conditions for certification, or about the safety of new feed materials. Or policy questions about the relationship of GMP+ FSA to the EU legislation for safe feed (General Food Law) and very practical questions about the calibration of weighing equipment. Den Hartog: "We have a lot of knowledge and experience. With our extensive, global network, we have access to even more. We will continue to facilitate companies in ensuring feed safety. With generic measures where necessary and tailor-made conditions and criteria where possible."
Den Hartog expects that the GMP + Feed Certification scheme will gradually continue to develop and that the regional differences in and additions to the scheme will increase. Anticipation of trends and developments will remain necessary, such as the recent focus that GMP + International put on feed safety culture (early 2011), integrity (early 2016) and fraud (early 2017). In addition, there will be continued growth in the number of certified companies, in particular in Central and Eastern Europe, South America and southern Europe, GMP + International expects.
These developments also require continued adjustments in the organization. "We want our knowledge and experience to remain at a high level. In addition, we are looking for participation and cooperation where functional. Partly with other organizations and also with, for example, the mutual recognition with other scheme owners. At the same time we are working on a more intensive exchange of knowledge and experiences with our certified companies. After all, their wishes form the foundation of our work,” concludes Den Hartog.