Italian retail is taking its responsibility in the feed chain

Monday, May 27, 2019

About five years ago, GMP+ FSA in Italy was suddenly on the rise because market leader Veronesi Group started demanding feed safety certification from its suppliers. During a visit to Verona, Italy earlier this month, I received word that a new feed safety revolution may be around the corner.

Blog 5 - Italian retail is taking its responsibility in the feed chain

Johan den Hartog
Managing Director, GMP+ International 

While the connection between the feed production chain and retail is obvious, in the not-so-distant past they sometimes felt like two separate worlds. Because consumers do not buy from companies in the feed chain – farms do – feed companies didn’t always see themselves as part of the larger food chain. That was, of course, shortsighted. Because in the end, feed does end up in our food (more on that next month).


But times are changing. I noticed this once again on my recent trip to Verona, Italy, where GMP+ International organized a well-attended seminar about ‘Creating Value in the Chain’. With over 800 GMP+ FSA certifications (and counting), Italy is one of GMP+ International’s strongest markets. But that wasn’t always the case. Ten years ago, we had a hard time finding an audience. Things turned around when Veronesi Group started asking its suppliers to become certified for feed safety.


Now, it looks like we are about to enter the next phase: retail. The day before our seminar in Verona, I was told two large Italian retail chains have made a similar decision. Soon, they too will start asking guarantees from their food suppliers: feed used for the production of their animal products must be safe. When retail companies, with their large shares of suppliers, go all-in on feed safety, this can very well start a snowball effect. And a second surge in GMP+ FSA certificates in Italy may be the result.


To us, as a not-for-profit organization, it’s not about the numbers – it never has been. It’s about what those numbers represent. If we, through our Certification Bodies, can award even more GMP+ FSA certificates in Italy in the coming years, we all win. Because safe feed benefits all.