A chain is often presented as a set of interconnected links. That paints a comforting, robust picture, but in reality it is more appropriate to conceive of a chain as communicating vessels. Because without sharing data and warnings, a chain is doomed to fail.
Roland van der Post
Managing Director, GMP+ International
One of the most important instruments within the GMP+ Feed Certification scheme is the Early Warning System (EWS). By means of this system, we warn GMP+ certified companies when limit values in products are exceeded. This prevents those products from being distributed further along the chain and together we minimise the damage.
It’s great to see that the EWS is effective. Not only are companies more frequently reporting breaches, increasingly they already have the incident under control when they do. So they pass on a report to GMP+ International, but they have already nipped the problem in the bud themselves.
In the past, that was often not the case. Breaches were discovered too late. And companies were somewhat reticent about reporting them. Plus, the incidents themselves were often not under control. I am not saying we now live in a perfect world where nothing ever goes wrong. But I do feel confident in saying that slowly but surely, a culture of responsibility has grown up.
That translates to a safer chain. In recent years, the number of published EWS reports (reports shared with the chain by GMP+ International) has fallen significantly. In 2016, we published 21 EWS reports. In 2018, the number was seven. In 2021 it was just one. We are less often required to remind companies of the steps they need to follow because they have already taken action to keep the chain safe.
In this way, the certification scheme is achieving what we hoped it would. Our scheme has its origins in an initiative by feed companies that wanted to work on feed safety together. Creating a feed safety culture is part of that. Within that culture, it is not the rules but the intrinsic motivation that is decisive.
The developments around EWS demonstrate that more and more companies recognise the importance of cooperation, transparency and a sense of responsibility. There is still work to be done, but we have achieved that turnaround together. Let’s continue down that road.