September 11, 2017

12/09/2017: Chain approach: Joint and individual responsibility for safe feed

by Johan den Hartog, Managing Director of GMP+ International

No matter how serious an individual company is about its responsibility, safe feed can never be the result of the efforts of a single party

The weight of safe feed rests on the shoulders of all links in the chain. Issues regarding own responsibility and (deflecting) blame are as old as humanity itself. The holy books of the three great monotheistic religions all contain the famous story of Adam and Eve. 

Johan de Hartog
Image credit: GMP+ International
When Adam took a bite of the forbidden fruit in paradise, he blamed Eve for it – after all she had eaten it first and had given him the fruit. Eve, in turn, pointed the accusing finger to the devious snake that had seduced her. According to the tradition, God did not accept these apologies: it was the responsibility of Adam and Eve to not eat from the tree and they could not blame anyone else for it.

That wisdom is still valid today. It is not hard to see the similarities with an integral chain approach for the production of safe feed: the mistakes of one can affect the other, but that never relieves the latter party of its own responsibility for the choices it makes.

Too late

The chain is as strong as its weakest link. That is why feed safety assurance should not only be focused on individual companies, but on the chain as a whole. Companies can seek certification for this through independent assessment.

Such an approach means, in reality, that companies that are certified for safe feed can only purchase products and services from suppliers that are (equivalently) certified as well. Fairly quickly after the GMP+ Feed Safety Assurance (GMP+ FSA) certification was established we saw the importance of involving the entire chain in the pursuit of safe feed. Initially (1992-1999), the quality requirements and standards only applied to the factory where the compound feed was produced.

But no matter how strictly the company adhered to the rules, the factory always had to deal with supplied ingredients. If there was something wrong with it, the requirements and standards of the factory could not resolve that anymore; it would simply be too late for that.

So, in 1999, the decision was made to require a GMP+ FSA-certificate from suppliers as well. Later, this was further expanded into other parties in the chain, such as transporters, intermediaries and storage companies.

Own responsibility
It became clear that every company in the chain has to take responsibility for the assurance of the safety of feed products. Evading or running away from these responsibilities is unacceptable. A GMP+ FSA certificate is granted after an audit by an independent certification body approved by GMP+ International.

Subsequently, they are audited annually. This work method expressly does not mean that suppliers only have to wave their certificate and can then deliver their products or render their services without any questions. The chain approach lays a firm and important foundation for safe feed: it guarantees to a large degree that all links in the chain assure the quality of feed and services in a uniform and transparent manner (HACCP, prerequisites, system requirements and product limits). But due to the independent certification, the buyer also takes its responsibility.

The GMP+ FSA certification stipulates that suppliers are assessed and that the accepted batches are evaluated periodically. These are the so-called supplier assessments, also referred to as second party audits.

It does not serve to replace the certification audit (third party audit), just as the certification audit does not serve to replace the supplier assessment they are two independent elements that jointly bring the production of safe feed a big step closer.

Read the full article, HERE.

Visit the GMP+ website, HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine Milling and Grain
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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