Safe feed for safe food

- Every role player in the food chain has a part to play to ensure that the products they produce for consumption, whether it is for human or animal consumption, are safe to be on the market. This is not only to ensure business integrity but also to ensure a business’ ethical responsibility to its client base. Currently, the consumer expects that food or feed which is available for sale is safe to be consumed

At De Heus, there are several approaches that we use to ensure that our feed is safe for the consumer. The process starts with the procurement of raw materials. These are purchased only from approved suppliers; high risk suppliers are audited by a team of experts to ensure De Heus’ standards are met. Purchased materials must adhere to the local law (Act 36 of 1947) and to internal corporate standards which are set by De Heus in the Netherlands. These corporate standards are developed in line with European Union legislation. Suppliers or materials which do not match our quality standards are rejected. All quality of raw materials are verified and where possible, analysed via our NIR system to ensure conformance to our quality standards before offloading.

There are also several internal systems which we have put in place to ensure that the feeds produced in our facilities meet the specifications under which they are sold and also that they do not have any harmful effects on animals or even on human beings at the end of the food chain.

Our production facilities are tested annually according to prescribed procedures to ensure production equipment is capable of producing quality products. Facilities are tested for homogeneity of mixing and to ensure carryover is reduced. In conjunction with this, proper production planning protocols are put in place to ensure that feed produced meets legal and customer requirements. Microbiological testing is carried out on the production facilities and on some raw materials and finished products to ensure that we do not introduce any harmful microbiological contamination into the food chain.

Levels of medications in feed are monitored monthly according to an analysis schedule to ensure proper dosing has been done; stocks of medications or critical micro-ingredients are reconciled daily to ensure correct usage and dosage. There is also an analysis schedule in place to determine if there are any undesirable substances or high risk raw materials in feed. Some examples of undesirable substances are melamine, heavy metals and dioxins. These substances are measured on a routine basis to ensure conformance to the law and to ensure that no hazards have been negligently introduced into the food chain. Mineral analysis is also done on a routine basis, to ensure the correct levels of minerals in feed and certain raw materials, as it may cause problems in certain species of animals if the balance of minerals is not at the required levels.

Before finished products leave the premises and are delivered to our customers, all loads are sampled and analysed via our NIR system. This gives us a quick check to verify that the quality of our product is within the specified quality limits. Any product that does not comply with required specifications is rejected. This is but one more step to ensure that we constantly produce safe feed.

All our branches are in the process of preparing for the implementation of ISO 22000:2005 (Food Safety Management Systems – Requirements for any organization in the food chain). Currently the Umlaas and Modimolle branches are ISO 22000:2005 certified. This is an internationally recognised standard for controlling food safety hazards and is a good business practice resulting in continuous improvement of our processes. Furthermore, it shows management’s commitment to provide our customers with the best quality product which meets their requirements. The implementation of the ISO standard and our in-house controls further demonstrate De Heus’ ongoing commitment to food and feed safety, because we understand that ultimately our customers’ products end up on our tables.