Precaution in the safety assurance

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Assurance of feed safety begins with precaution. Ad hoc measures that counter new incidents as they occur undermine the business continuity. And more importantly, it leads to unsafe feed that compromises both animal and public health. For that reason, the precaution principle forms the basis of the certification scheme GMP+ Feed Safety Assurance (GMP+ FSA).

And there’s a good reason for that. In 1992, we started with a Good Manufacturing Practice code. Today, we call this a ‘prerequisites program’. It concerns a couple of precautionary measures based on hazards known at the time, but it proved to be very reactive. In 1995, we included a number of requirements from ISO 9001 for the application of a quality management system but that didn’t make it proactive. It requires more than that, being: HACCP. That concerns proactive hazard analysis and risk control.


Quality management

Quality management provides a structured and plan-based approach in daily practice. The systematic has three elements: quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement. This leads to consistently good product quality, because there also is focus on the way that quality can be realized.

A lot of companies use ISO 9001 or ISO 22000 to document their quality management. The GMP+ B1 standard has the same structure as ISO 9001. The other GMP+ B standards also have similar requirements for quality management. This means that GMP+ FSA can be applied relatively easy for companies certified for ISO 9001 or ISO 22000.

In some countries, companies are certified for GMP+ and / or HACCP.  These are also important cornerstones within the GMP+ FSA certification requirements. This means that these companies also have a number of stepping stones towards a full GMP+ FSA certificate.


Hazard analysis

In the production of feed, hazards occur that compromise the quality and safety. Those hazards can be very diverse. They relate to the ingredients or raw materials used among other things. Their origin plays a role as well, as does the way they have been transported or processed and with what process finished products are realized. Therefore, safety assurance begins with an analysis of those possible hazards and risks for feed safety arising from them: de Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP). This methodology originates from the food industry and was prepared for GMP+ FSA  for the production of feed and the suppliers of raw materials back in 2000. The result of the risk analysis forms the foundation of risk management. It is a method for systematically identifying any risks in advance based on available knowledge and experience and for taking the proper control measures. Effectiveness of measures must be proven through validation. Such a hazard analysis must be carried out in every change of the production process.

Instead of always dealing with new incidents reactively, the assurance of feed safety focuses in more preventive and proactive measures.


Feed Support Products

Because of the years of experience with quality assurance, hazard analysis and risk assessment with many companies, GMP+ International has been able to gather a lot of knowledge. GMP+ International is happy to make this knowledge available to GMP+ FSA-certified companies who signed up for that.

Throughout the years, GMP+ International was given access to many generic risk assessments. These serve as a guide and an instrument for participating companies and for the auditors of certification bodies for:

  1. making their own, company specific risk analysis;
  2. carrying out supplier assessments (processes and ingredients);
  3. preparing an audit at a company.

The database with this information (Feed Support Products) also covers fact sheets about the hazards and the seriousness thereof, risk assessments of production processes, a list of products (feed materials) that can be used safely, monitoring results and specific feed safety limits.


Product limits

In addition to the quality and risk management, GMP+ FSA also covers statutory programs for various company types in the feed chain. This is also in line with the precaution principle: product limits are integrated in the certificate scheme to guarantee a minimum safety level. This concerns, for instance, the maximal permissible levels of undesirable substances.

More information about GMP+ FSA and its characteristics is available at, the portal of GMP+ International.


Combination of characteristics makes GMP+ FSA unique  

The certification scheme GMP+ Feed Safety Assurance was built in 25 years. It has characteristics that, combined, make GMP+ FSA unique. In the anniversary year, GMP+ International will highlight the main characteristics in its newsletters. It concerns ISO and HACCP, EWS and Tracking and Tracing, chain approach, international scope, Country Notes, Sustainability, Integrity, Fraud and Corporate culture. Together, they form the certification that facilitates companies in making safe feed, so that consumers have access to safe food of animal origin. In the coming months, these characteristics will be discussed in the newsletters and articles.