THE International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) has joined on as a partner in the Feed Schemes Observatory (FSO), a global initiative between the feed industry and Feed Assurance Schemes that aims to create an independent, transparent and impartial benchmark system for feed safety assurance schemes.
The goal of FSO is to ensure that the feed sector's conformity assessment schemes deliver confidence on the safety of feed delivered to both food- and non-food-producing animals at a global level.
Alexandra de Athayde, IFIF executive director, said, "We are delighted to join as a partner of the FSO and to contribute to creating a benchmark system for feed safety assurance schemes for the global feed chain, as well as to build bridges of communication within the value chain and with regulators."
Third-party certification, although still voluntary, has become important for feed businesses to compete globally in order to ensure final product safety.
Companies' certification plans can vary, however, and ultimately may force them to select suppliers according to their certification. Technical trade barriers and anti-competition issues can result. Therefore, the industry launched the FSO initiative this year to create a global point of reference.
The FSO will be a "laboratory" that will transfer knowledge and experience to the scheme and assist in complying with international accreditation standards. It will also increase transparency, support harmonization and improve communication among several feed assurance plans.
The American Feed Industry Assn. said it supports the FSO "benchmark system for feed safety assurance schemes operating in the feed sector, as well as to build a bridge of communication within the value chain and with regulators globally. With the myriad feed certification programs operating and more likely to be created, the value chain needs a system of comparing the 'apples and oranges' of these programs. This FSO will attempt to accommodate that need."
Dr. Reinder Sijtsma, member of the IFIF board of directors, explained that the benchmarking scheme should "improve the comparability of the main principles and requirements that concern feed safety assurance schemes and reduce technical barriers to trade in the feed chain. The project also aims to transfer knowledge and capacity building and to raise awareness of the importance of the auditing and certification for safety in the feed sector."
The FSO is an international platform of cooperation, and project partners include the Agricultural Industries Confederation, the Brazilian Feed Industry Assn., DSM, Evonik Industries, FAMI-QS, the EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients & Their Mixtures, GMP+ International, HSL Certification Service (China), IFIF, the International Trade Centre, Nutreco and SGS Nederland B.V.
More information is online at www.feed-benchmark.org.