HACCP in Asia: the underestimated importance of a proactive risk analysis

The greatest hazard for the quality and safety lies in the underestimation of the risks during the production process. Ad-hoc measures after incidents rarely have the desired effect. The Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) is increasingly giving Asian companies tools for a proactive quality policy.
Johan den Hartog, GMP+ International
Whether it concerns the ingredients or raw materials used, the origin or the transport thereof, or the process used to create the finished product: hazards for the quality and safety of feed are lurking around every corner. Safety assurance can therefore never be a result of a half-baked solutions when problems arise. It must be well-thought out and documented in advance.
When GMP+ International established a Good Manufacturing Practice code, 25 years ago, this concerned various precautionary measures based on the hazards known at the time. In practice, they proved to be too reactive. Adopting a couple of requirements from ISO 9001 in 1995 wasn’t enough to stay ahead of issues. That is how we ended up at HACCP, The Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points. This methodology originates from the food industry and was further developed for the production of feed and the suppliers of raw materials in 2000.
Feed safety assurance begins with an analysis of the possible hazards and the risks arising from those. In HACCP, all available knowledge and experience is used to identify risks in advance in a systematic manner, and to take the proper control measures. This proactive risk analysis forms the foundation for the risk management and must be carried out with every change of the production process.
The precaution principle is integrated in the core of the certification scheme GMP+ Feed Safety Assurance (GMP+ FSA). This certification is relatively easy to apply for companies that have already been certified for ISO 9001 or ISO 22000 because the structures match the standards of GMP+. Companies that are GMP+ and / or HACCP certified also have important building blocks for a full GMP+ certificate. About 400 companies in the feed chain in Asia (excluding The Near East) have a GMP+ certificate. This number is growing steadily: companies experience the added value of this certificate because it combines different instruments for risk control.
In addition, there is increasing focus on precaution in Asia. From various sides demonstrable risk control is nowadays required, in accordance with HACCP. The region is learning from the experiences in Europe and North-America, and wants to use that to battle food safety issues in its region. In more and more Asian countries, the government offers possibilities for certification in accordance with GMP+ and HACCP in export to other countries. Under influence of the development of ASEAN, HACCP is moreover solidifying its position in the Food Safety Law, in which implementation and enforcement remain an important point of attention.
To export animal products (poultry, shrimp, etc.) to, for instance, Japan, the United States and Europe, the private sector (food processor) is increasingly requiring HACCP as a requirement to the production chain – including the feed sector. This means that producers of feed in Asian countries will also require suppliers of raw materials to have demonstrable risk control in accordance with HACCP.
Vast experience of GMP+ International with quality assurance, hazard analysis and risk assessment, there is a lot of knowledge to share with companies from the feed chain. The countless of risk assessments are used by participating companies for instance to make their own company specific risk analyses, and to carry out supplier assessments (processes and ingredients). Auditors of certification bodies use them to prepare audits.
The database with information (Feed Support Products) is broadly valued as well. In addition to the previously mentioned risk assessment it also contains fact sheets about hazards and the gravity thereof, a list of products that can be used safely (feed materials) monitoring results and specific feed safety limits.
Important step
The importance of the precautionary principle is also reflected in the many programs within GMP+ FSA for various company types in the feed chain. The certification scheme contains product limits to guarantee a minimum safety level. This concerns maximum permissible levels of undesirable substances, for instance.
Analyzing and documenting the risks and hazards in advance is an important step towards the realization of global food safety. Instead of dealing with new incidents reactively, the feed safety benefits much more from proactive hazard analysis and risk control. GMP+ FSA also offers companies in Asia the right tools thereto.
for more information, please visit www.gmpplus.org.

by Johan den Hartog, GMP+ International