“There is still room for improvement in HACCP based procedures in feed mills as they do not always include appropriate limits and/or validation and/or verification procedures for the critical control points identified,” reported the FVO team, who noted significant progress in the approach to overall feed risk management since its previous UK review in 2011.
The FVO carried out its audit in January 2014, with the European Commission publishing the findings this week.
The UK’s food standards agency (FSA) said the FVO report commented positively on the delivery of official controls and was complimentary of the work being done by the agency to encourage a joined up approach by the local authorities responsible for the enforcement of animal feed legislation.
"The FVO did not identify any serious issues which posed a threat to feed or food safety. It did identify inconsistencies in the use of HACCP by feed business operators," a spokesperson for the FSA told feednavigator.
New HACCP tool to be rolled out
In reaction to the criticism over HACCP practice deficits in some feed mills, the FSA said it has undertaken to work with stakeholders to develop a web based tool to assist feed business to better comply with this requirement.
Essentially, the agency is modifying an existing tool called ‘MyHACCP’ that it previously developed for use by food manufacturing businesses.
"Preparatory work on this has been completed and development of the tool is about to commence," said the FSA representative.
Guidelines on coccidiostats sampling
The FVO audit also reported that guidelines around coccidiostats carry-over sampling are not being complied with correctly.
Sampling to check for cross-contamination of coccidiostats in non-target feed should be carried out immediately after the production of feed containing coccidiostats.
“However, in all feed mills visited, samples for this purpose were being taken after several batches of feed not containing coccidiostats had been produced.
This approach is not in accordance with the risk based criteria and will not provide a clear indication of whether the maximum level of cross-contamination is within the limits set down in EU legislation,” said the auditors.
The FSA said it is in discussion with feed industry stakeholders to finalize a protocol to help verify systems designed to prevent carry-over of coccidistats into non-target feed.
"This will support inspections and sampling carried out by local authorities to better assess procedures put in place by businesses to prevent carry-over. Discussions with industry are on-going and the protocol will be implemented once the FSA is sure it has a procedure that is effective," said the spokesperson for the UK agency.
‘Earned recognition’ scheme
In May, the FSA told this publication that the new Feed Code of Practice law in England would help reduce risk in the feed chain there.
Some of the changes ushered in under the Code include the increased use of competence-based criteria for the authorization of officials and a reward scheme for compliant feed businesses.
Ron Cheesman, senior policy advisor for feed at the FSA, told feednavigator.
“The Code of Practice, through the introduction of earned recognition, will ensure that competent authorities can spend more time focusing their checks on areas of higher risk which it is hoped will improve compliance with feed law.”
He said that “earned recognition” takes account of feed business operators own checks and levels of compliance and acknowledges that, in certain circumstances, official controls do not have to be carried out at the frequency which otherwise would be necessary.
“Those businesses that are broadly compliant can benefit from earned recognition and should find they receive fewer inspections by the competent authorities, which we hope will reduce business costs.”
The feed law code of practices for the feed business in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also set to be revised.
The FVO audit report and the FSA’s full response can be read here.