In early October, the food sector was shaken by large-scale fraud case in Poland. The incident once again makes clear that not every party can necessarily be trusted and, more importantly, that animal feed safety is not possible without intrinsic motivation and a sense of responsibility.
Roland van der Post
Managing Director, GMP+ International
Let's start with the good news: fraud cases are rare. By far the majority of entrepreneurs in our great sector want the best for their businesses, their colleagues, animals and the end consumer. And thanks to the rise of quality management systems, certification schemes and – not least – stricter supervision, these days there is more attention than ever for safe feed and a strong chain.
Unfortunately, not everyone can be trusted to act in good faith. It was recently announced that the Polish authorities had raided a company that is suspected of having sold technical vegetable oils for feed purposes for years. Everyone in our sector knows that is prohibited. The Polish authorities are currently investigating.
GMP+ International was notified about possible fraud by our Certification Body. After makng brief enquiries, an EWS notification was sent out right away. The firm’s GMP+ FSA certification was immediately revoked by the Certification Body. Companies like this have no place in our chain.
A natural question is how this could have happened. And why this company was able to boast a GMP+ FSA certificate for years. Our Certification Bodies conduct audits to determine whether companies are working in accordance with our standards. During those audits, a lot of controls and verifications are carried out. Sometimes, these bring incidents to light. But often they don't – usually because companies simply have their affairs in order. And occasionally because they are able to keep things well hidden; those who are bent on fraud are clearly prepared to go to great lengths.
GMP+ International and our Certification Bodies are not police officers. The GMP+ Feed Certification scheme sets companies uniform standards and leaves a high degree of responsibility to them. We work according to the ‘trust & verify’ principle. But we cannot rule out all incidents.
Precisely for that reason, we continue to emphasise that companies’ work is not finished once they have a certificate on the wall. It takes more than that to keep feed safety at a high level. For this reason, we encourage companies to work to create a feed safety culture. To remain alert when working with others. To invest in the level of knowledge in the workplace, for example via the GMP+ Academy.
The incident in Poland demonstrates that we cannot neglect that sense of responsibility. Fraud not only creates financial risks and risks in terms of criminal prosecution, it affects the entire sector – not least due to the negative publicity. So let this case be a wake-up call. Take your responsibility and report incidents. Only through our own efforts and dedication will we make the difference and create a safe sector.