An in-depth report from AIC Services on livestock feed assurance in the UK concludes that “UK animal feed is produced in a safe and transparent supply chain”.
The report, ‘Ensuring feed safety’, reviews a range of historical and current feed assurance data to support this view. However, the report also warns that such a high level of control is only achieved and maintained by continuing robust management of the whole feed assurance supply chain. Failure to maintain sufficient control in any link in the supply chain could lead to increased feed and food incidents.
Feed assurance has come a long way since the crises of the early/mid 90’s when BSE and Foot and Mouth disease caused major concern. Since then the industry has embraced feed assurance schemes, good practice as well as monitoring programmes for undesirable substances, resulting in safe feed and food throughout the supply chain. John Kelley, Managing Director of AIC Services said: “Feed companies are audited annually by an independent certification company. Any company that does not conform must correct non-conformances or risk being suspended from the schemes.”
Today, feed assurance schemes underpin much of the trade and therefore a very high percentage of the industry has adopted them. The schemes are acknowledged as excellent examples of ’best practice’ and have been given ‘earned recognition’ status by both the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland. This recognition has delivered significant savings for both government and industry, estimated to be in the region of £2mllion per annum. Given the level of European food and feed trade, EU recognition is very important. All the schemes have mutual recognition with other leading EU assurance bodies. The schemes also collaborate with the European Commission and European trade bodies on feed safety issues.
Looking forward, Mr Kelley highlights that the schemes must continue to lead and react to changes within the industry as well as those driven by governments on feed safety issues and the adoption of new technology. “While the industry can be proud of its achievements in the past years, this report recognises future challenges which must be addressed to ensure the UK continues to produce safe feed.”
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