Giovannucci and Satin (2007) published a paper outlining methodologies for improving food quality. This paper forms the basis of this article.
What is Feed Quality
The term quality refers to the combination of characteristics that establish a products acceptability. Typically, the term refers to the combination of purity, flavor, texture, color, appearance and production processes/conditions. The ‘value’ or perception of the products worth is another criteria of quality.
There are two distinct but interrelated aspects of quality management for agri-food and feed enterprises. The first relates to conforming to certain market requirements (e.g. size, purity and colour) whilst the second approaches quality as a synonym for food safety, which can also be used as a marketing tool to trade products in countries with high food safety standards.
Why is quality important?
Feed quality is important to gain access to competitive markets that demand consistent quality and a reliable supply. Moreover, high profile incidents, such as Mad Cow disease have increased industry, regulatory and consumer concerns and resulted in increased quality and safety systems.
In terms of feed quality, there are three important quality management systems which are widely used to help meet customer demands and contribute to due diligence efforts:
- Good Agriculture Practices (GAP)
- Good manufacturing practices (GMP)
- Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) are basic feed and food safety principles which aim to minimise biological, chemical and physical hazards from field through to distribution. GAP practices include site selection, land use, wild life and habitat protection, water, fertilizers, pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMO), integrated crop management (ICM), animal feeding practices, worker hygiene, field and facility sanitation, cooling and transportation.
Good Manufacturing Practices
Good manufacturing practices (GMP) direct all persons working in direct contact with food, surfaces that food might contact and food packaging materials, to conform to sanitation and hygiene practices to the extent necessary to protect against contamination of food from direct and indirect sources. GMP act as a prerequisite program for HACCP and are mostly specified in related legislation. Examples include, personnel hygiene and training, cleaning and sanitation, maintenance and services, pest control, plant equipment, premises and structure, storage, distribution, transport and waste management.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
HACCP is a preventative risk-management tool which enables feed or food manufacturers to identify critical control points (CCPS) for microbiological (e.g. bacteria), chemical (e.g. pesticides) and physical (e.g. glass) hazards. Rather than traditional inspection and quality control procedures which concentrated on testing the end product to detect compliance or failure, HACCP proactively and systematically analyses for potential risks and identified appropriate control and monitoring systems, particularly those deemed critical to the safety of the product.
European legislation lays down minimum requirements regarding HACCP and GMP. However, it does not describe how these requirements should be implemented within the industry. Industry standards often provide the necessary procedural information for the industry. We will learn more about these quality and safety standards throughout the course.
What we would like you to do
Please share your thoughts in the discussion area below
Have you heard of GAP, GMP or HACCP before?
Do you think they are appropriate strategies to achieve quality feed?
Do you have any experience of implementing quality systems?