American feed and food companies pride themselves as being providers of some of the highest quality, safest products in the world. Feed associations, such as the American Feed Industry Association, have played a role in encouraging and helping their members follow the regulations set forth by the USDA and FDA through the development of third-party certification programs.
In today’s global economy, however, it’s not enough to meet only U.S. regulations. That’s why the AFIA has teamed with the FEFANA, the Feed Additives and Premixtures Association of the European Union, to allow auditors of AFIA’s third-party certification program, Safe Feed/Safe Food, to inspect U.S. manufacturers for compliance with European feed hygiene and ingredient standards. The agreement will facilitate trade between U.S. and European feed and ingredient customers.
Under the agreement, the European Feed Additives and Premixtures-Quality System, or FAMI-QS, which is FEFANA’s quality and feed safety program, will train Facility Certification Institute auditors on FAMI-QS requirements. The AFIA will do the same for FAMI-QS, since the program has similar components. The AFIA will be accepting enrollment applications for this international version of the SF/SF program in the months to come.
In the wake of the recent peanut recall that sickened hundreds and killed nine, consumers are becoming more aware of where food comes from, and seek assurance that their food supply is safe. It is no different for feed manufacturer customers.
“Companies tell us more and more that their customers are asking for proof of compliance with FDA regulations,” says Richard Sellers, AFIA vice president of feed regulation and nutrition. “AFIA’s Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program does that and more.”
By successfully completing inspections, SF/SF certified members can give their customers proof that their feed meets the standards and regulations set forth by the FDA.
“An SF/SF inspection consists of 10 sections. Each section has a number of items that clearly identify possible areas of feed safety and what the inspector is required to determine if the facility is to be SF/SF-certified,” says Keith Epperson, AFIA vice president of manufacturing and training.
The 10 sections are: Policy Management and Documents and Records; Human Resources and Training; Facility Planning and Control; Manufacturing and Processing; Monitoring Devices, Infrastructure-building Equipment and Grounds; Ingredient Purchasing and Controls; Identification and Traceability; Customer-related Process; and Control of Non-conforming Product.
If the facility fails to meet any of these criteria in any of these sections, it will not be an SF/SF-certified plant.
The SF/SF program also requires companies to conduct self-audits, thus increasing the feed manufacturer’s understanding of federal and state regulations.
Alltech Biotechnology, a leading animal health and nutrition company has been SF/SF certified since 2005. Becky Timmons, director of applications research and quality assurance at Alltech, says the program has helped them continually adhere to the highest quality standards.
“In order to become certified, FCI audits the facility initially and then once every other year,” says Timmons. “On the off years, you self-certify. Truly the auditing process is a continual program, as you should have random section audits on an ongoing basis as well as management review meetings. AFIA provides the requirements as well as an audit sheet which you can use to set up an internal auditing schedule.”
Participation in AFIA’s SF/SF program may also lead to shorter and/or fewer inspections by the FDA. The FDA has clearly stated it will use the SF/SF program as one risk-ranking tool to help determine where it should focus its limited resources.
FDA officials have also cited the SF/SF program as a leading tool to help the animal feed and pet food industry achieve its goal of providing safe products to its customers and ultimately American consumers.