There are two important regulations in the European Union regulating quality requirements for feed, regulation 178/2002, and regulation 183/2005. Regulation 178/2002 includes the general principles and requirements of food law, establishes the European Food Safety Authority, and lays down procedures in matters of food safety. Regulation 183/2005 lays down requirements for food hygiene. Both regulations ensure the responsibility of food and feed companies for food safety. Another important aspect which is included in these regulations is the traceability of raw materials and products as well as risk analysis and prevention based on HACCP principles.
The general objectives of food and feed law are to guarantee a high level of protection of human life and health and the protection of consumers interests, also to guarantee fair practices in food trade, considering animal health and welfare, plant health, and the environment. Moreover, the general food law regulation helps to ensure the free movement of food and feed manufactured and marketed in the European Union. It is also important to facilitate global trade of safe feed and safe, wholesome food by considering international standards and agreements when developing European Union legislation except where this might undermine the high level of consumer protection pursued by the Union.
The general objectives of the feed hygiene and feed safety regulation are the primary responsibility of the entrepreneur. Companies must ensure feed safety throughout their food production. For this, application of HACCP principles must take place. The regulation for feed hygiene includes also guidelines for good practice at all levels during feed production and microbiological criteria based on scientific risk assessment. In addition, there is a registration requirement for all feed business operators. Accordingly, in principle, all establishments or persons who produce compound feed, premixes, or additives on a commercial basis must report to the feed monitoring authorities of the countries. This also applies to companies that operate or rent mobile equipment for compound feed production.
With this, the usage of feed from establishments registered or approved in accordance with the regulation is guaranteed. Quality requirements for the feed hygiene and feed businesses involves the facilities and equipment, the personnel, the production, quality control, as well as storage and transport, record-keeping, and complaints and product recall. In terms of the facilities and equipment, feed processing and storage facilities and equipment and their immediate surroundings should be kept clean. And effective pest control programs shall be implemented. Moreover, the design and construction of the facilities and equipment shall permit adequate cleaning and or disinfection. Contamination and cross-contamination and any adverse effects generally on the safety and quality of the products should be avoided.
Feed businesses must have enough staff possessing the skills and qualifications necessary for the manufacture of the products concerned. For production, a qualified person responsible for production must be designated. Feed business operators must ensure that the different stages of production are carried out according to pre-established, written procedures and instructions aimed at defining, checking, and mastering the critical points in the manufacturing process. For quality control, a qualified person responsible for quality control must be designated. Feed businesses must, as part of a quality control system, have access to a laboratory with adequate staff and equipment.
A quality control plan must be drawn up in writing and implemented to include checks on the critical points in the manufacturing process, sampling procedures and frequencies, methods of analysis and their frequency, compliance with the specifications, and the destination in the event of non-compliance from processed materials to final products. Documentation relating to the raw materials used in final products must be kept by the manufacturer to ensure traceability. Such documentation must be available to the competent authorities for a period appropriate for the use to which the products are placed on the market.
In addition, samples of ingredients under each batch of products manufactured and placed on the market or of each specific portion of production must be taken in enough quantity using a procedure pre-established by the manufacturer and be retained to ensure traceability. During the storage and transport of feed, it is important that process feeds shall be separated from unprocessed feed materials and additives. To avoid any cross-contamination, proper packaging materials shall be used. Feeds shall be stored and transported in suitable containers. They shall be stored in places designed, adapted, and maintained to ensure good storage conditions, to which only persons authorized by the feed business operators have access.
All feed business operators, including those who act solely as traders without ever holding the product in the facilities, shall keep in a register relevant data comprising details of purchase, production, and seals for effective tracing from receipt to delivery, including export to the final destination. Feed business operators, except those who act solely as dealers without ever holding the product in the facilities, shall keep in a register documentation relating to the manufacturing process on controls. Feed businesses must have a system of documentation designed to define and ensure mastery of the critical points in the manufacturing process and establish and implement a control plan. They must keep the results of the relevant controls.
This set of documents must be kept so that it is possible to trace the manufacturing history of each batch of products put into circulation and to establish responsibility if complaints arise. For complaints and product recall, feed business operators shall implement a system for registering and processing complaints. They shall put in place where this proves necessary a system for the prompt recall of products in the distribution network. They shall define by means of written procedures the destination of any recalled products. And before such products are put back into circulation, they must undergo a quality control reassessment.