Feed safety: Is a collective approach at national level key to risk reduction?

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A communication drive and expansion of geographical reach are on the agenda for a Dutch feed safety collective in 2017.

“Not all stakeholders are aware of the risks associated with feed manufacture, or how we manage those risks in the Netherlands, so it is critical we communicate widely about the work we have done over the past two years, we also want to consolidate all that we have achieved so far,” said Frank Jorna, managing director of SecureFeed, a collective addition to GMP+ or equivalent schemes in the Netherlands.

Delegates at Feed 2016 in Geel, the JRC conference on feed safety in October last year, heard about the work the collective has undertaken since 2014.

Germany and Belgium have similar type feed safety collectives but their membership is nothing like as large as the Dutch initiative, said Jorna. 

SecureFeed has nearly 400 feed company members, from large corporates like De Heus and ForFarmers to one person operations. Built on the foundations of an earlier feed safety initiative, TrustFeed, only companies selling feedstuffs from compound feed to wet feed to forages direct to Dutch livestock farmers can sign up to the scheme. 

He said another priority for the year ahead is the clear and succinct dissemination to feed industry participants in the collective, so that all members are fully aware of the goals of the scheme.

Complete risk profiling of feedstuffs is also an objective. “We want to able to show risk differential from organic soy from China, for example, compared to the equivalent from Argentina,” he told us.

The organizers of the feed safety collective also want to expand its footprint. “It will be difficult to grow the scheme within the Netherlands, as we already have the vast majority of Dutch feed companies involved. Feed producers just across our borders, those based in Germany, for example, but who also deliver feedstuffs to Dutch farmers, have expressed interest in joining our collective,” explained Jorna.

Aflatoxin tainted maize 

The trigger for the set-up of SecureFeed was the aflatoxin maize scare back in 2013, when Dutch and German dairy milk was contaminated by imported maize. Dutch dairy exports were threatened, and the industry was told to act to ensure greater feed safety, said Jorna.

SecureFeed develops and manages a system for monitoring and risk assessment, covering both raw materials for feed and the suppliers of those, resulting in a ‘double traffic light’ system. Every supplier-product-combination (SPC) is assessed. Participants then only work with SPC’s assessed by SecureFeed, explained Jorna.

Members of SecureFeed are obliged to carry out a certain number of sampling exercises on an annual basis, the larger the company the higher the sampling requirements, he said.

Jorna said the collective aims to map possible risks faster and to take appropriate measures before an incident arises. “Around €260,000 was spent on monitoring last year,” added Jorna.

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