Since the last Global Feed Safety Summit in 2017 the world has changed quite a bit. A corona pandemic, trade tensions, climate change and conflict affecting feed ingredient flows. Ensuring feed safety in such a dynamic environment poses a constant challenge, demanding robust risk control and secure certification system. “That is where we want to set the agenda for the future,” says GMP+ managing director Roland van der Post.
There is no doubt in Roland van der Post’s mind, when it comes to feed safety, it is of the utmost importance that the feed industry and consumers can trust the methodologies in the sector to ensure safe feed and consequently safe food. He is also convinced that this needs to be a combined effort. “Feed safety is the métier of GMP+, but it is a responsibility of everyone involved. That is why we organised an event, where the decision-makers of our industry will gather. We want to discuss and look forward in time to strengthen the feed production chain together. We will set the stage, but it is the duty of each of us to set the agenda and show commitment which will force us to take the necessary follow-up steps.” He continues: “The best result I can wish for is that the participants agree on 4-5 concrete, actionable issues and pledge to ensure their execution.”
What is the role of GMP+ and the Global Feed Safety Summit, according to you?
“We see it as our main task to connect our industry during the summit. Over the last couple of years, all of us were forced to resort to digital meetings and virtual conferences. The Covid-19 pandemic showed us that virtual get-togethers do work. At least far more then we believed they would in the past. However, we also experienced that those meetings often were factual and purpose centred. That is why we, and many others, are looking forward to a face-to-face meeting. A summit where there is a place for formal meetings, but also for informal ones. If we want to ensure real progress, we need to see and meet each other, spontaneous ideas thrive well when one can bounce ideas off each other and let them sink in whilst having a nice time.”
So we should wean ourselves off Teams and Zoom?
“We should use all tools at our disposal, but feed safety is, first of all, a hands-on business. That hasn’t changed. We live in a dynamic world with many new developments. One such development is blockchain technology for instance. We can ask ourselves how we can use blockchain tech, with the thought to strengthen our feed chain. This requires us to step out of our comfort zone, that we look at other sectors and think in terms of possibilities. Not as a substitute for current systems and methodologies, but as an add-on. To give an example, if we look at a meta-level of crowd control software, we could learn a lot about data processing and risk level assessment.”
One hot topic in society and politics is the issue of sustainability. How does that affect the feed industry?
“We do ask ourselves what would this mean for us. As we do on such topics as; the green deal, retail demands on food safety guarantees and so on. I do believe that the GMP+ certification scheme is a great ‘vehicle’ to develop widely accepted standards to meet these demands. If we can find common ground on these topics in our high-level summit, we can take the necessary steps. I always describe GMP+ as a candy store; there is plenty to choose from, but if you pick everything then you will be sick and if you choose nothing, you will be frustrated. It’s up to us all to set the agenda, choose what we want together. Then, in a combined effort, we can work on implementation and certification.”
What is then your main drive going forward?
“GMP+ is the connecting factor in this. We want to have thought leadership and want to be the pinnacle where knowledge and experience comes together. At the same time, we want to stay humble as well. We cannot change the world, but we do have the mission to provide safe feed and thus safe food. Feed safety is our core business and that needs constant attention. We are in an era where we hardly have feed safety scares anymore. That’s the living proof that our system works. That said, we can never relax and we have to adapt to new challenges. We can never take feed safety for granted, as in the current conscious and hyper-connected world, we cannot permit ourselves a feed safety scandal. That is why we gathered top notch panellists and speakers for our summit, from across different companies and institutions. All of us must embrace feed safety, as it’s one of the few topics in our industry that is pre-competitive and benefits us all.”