ISO feed equipment standards have industry on alert

ISO feed equipment standards, driven by China, may be an attempt to set standards that are favorable to only Chinese firms.

There is an international effort underway to establish ISO standards for feed production equipment (ISO/TC 293), an effort that the American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) is very engaged in and taking quite seriously.

“For global competitive reasons, it is of the essence that the U.S. industry be actively involved in this process,” said Gary Huddleston, AFIA manager of feed manufacturing, safety and environmental affairs. Huddleston serves as chairman of the U.S. technical advisory group for the proposed standards. He is working closely with AFIA’s Equipment Manufacturers Committee, which is providing guidance and advice as the process moves forward.

The American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE) also is involved and serves as administrator of the U.S. technical advisory group for ISO/TC 293.

ISO is made up of 162 member countries that are the national standards bodies around the world, with a central secretariat that is based in Geneva, Switzerland. According to ISO, international standards give world-class specifications for products, services and systems and are instrumental in facilitating world trade. 

In general, ISO standards are developed to meet a need in the marketplace. The standards are to be based on the opinions of global experts and developed through a multi-stakeholder process. Technical advisory committees are formed to formally provide input from stakeholders within each country participating in the standards process.

ISO procedures for consensus are based on a one country, one vote model. Still, it is not unheard of to have the system circumvented through the extension of representation in as many countries as possible in order to gain votes.

ISO/TC 293 is focused on primary and ancillary manufacturing equipment and electrical control systems dealing with feed materials receiving, cleaning, feed grinding, grading, quantitative batching, mixing, conditioning, extruding, pelleting, flattening, liquid adding, drying, cooling, post coating, conveying, storage, dust removing and quantitative packaging.

The need for ISO feed machinery standards was brought forth by the China National Technical Committee on Feed Manufacturing, which interestingly is located in the headquarters of Chinese feed equipment manufacturer Muyang.

AFIA’s Huddleston encourages U.S. stakeholders that are not already part of the process to get involved. He noted that there is concern that the ISO feed equipment standards, driven by China, may be an attempt to set standards that are favorable to only Chinese firms, which AFIA believes is not at all the purpose of ISO.

Huddleston noted that AFIA takes the work of any recognized international standards body seriously and believes any standards developed should be based on sound science and engineering principles that benefit and facilitate trade for all nations and not just one.

Members of the World Trade Organization can use world standards from ISO and other bodies, like the International Organization for Animal Health and the Codex Alimentarius Commission, to govern trade into sovereign nations. “This should encourage all nations to develop the best standards possible to keep commerce flowing and protect animal and human health,” said AFIA’s Huddleston. 

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