Developing biosecurity feed supply strategies

Cheryl Day, Former Editor

June 8, 2015

4 Min Read
Developing biosecurity feed supply strategies

The feed and ingredient manufacturing industries now have a new set of guidelines to assist in the development of biosecurity practices to control biological hazards that may contribute to the spread of animal diseases.

“Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus was a real wake up call for the industry,” says Dan Kovich, assistant director of science and technology for the National Pork Producers Council.

Originally, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the government asked animal agriculture industries to release guidelines to its manufacturing facilities regarding the protection of the nation's agriculture assets. The American Feed Industry Association developed the 2012 Bioterrorism Awareness Guidelines.  However, the rapid spread of PEDV had the industry scrambling for answers and tightening biosecurity measures at all levels. As a result, the AFIA took the lead to recently redesign the bioterrorism guidelines into a broadened biosecurity document for the feed and ingredient manufacturing industries. 

"During the last two years, AFIA discussed the development of a foreign animal disease risk model with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, formed a working group and reevaluated our 2012 bioterrorism guide," said AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman.

A working group - including scientists from the feed industry and representatives from the National Grain and Feed Association, National Pork Board, NPPC and National Renderers Association - rewrote the guide with a focus on the latest science and preventing the spread of animal diseases.

The eighteen page guideline walks businesses through constructing a biosecurity plan. The Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law in 2011, requires feed manufactures regulated by the Food and Drug Administration to develop and maintain a food safety plan that assesses reasonably foreseeable hazards and implements controls to prevent or minimize the impact of such hazards.

Although the document's purpose is to provide feed and ingredient manufacturers with recommendations to develop a biosecurity plan to help control the potential spread of animal disease through the manufacturing, transport and use of feed and feed ingredients; it should be comforting to the pork producers that the feed industry is devoting time and resources to implement standards, explains Kovich. 

Further, he says it is a great conservation starter between hog farmers and their feed suppliers to discuss biosecurity measures that protects both the animals on the farm and the feed company. The nationwide guidelines will assist in keeping the entire industry on the same page when it comes producing safe animal feed and minimize the risk of foreign animal disease.

For those hog operations with feed mills as part of the operation, the document will certainly serve as sound reference for designing personalized biosecurity practices.  It could also give those hog farms a head-start when FSMA goes it affect.

Custom-made biosecurity plan

Since each facility, location or business is different, a biosecurity plan should be tailored to each specific location that is based on the potential hazards and risks of occurrence within its processes. Procedures should be developed to guarantee the plan is implemented and remains effective as situations change. The new guidance document focuses on the development of biosecurity practices for feed and ingredient manufacturers to control biological hazards that may contribute to the spread of animal disease.

The customized plan should begin with assembling a team responsible for the appropriate procedures and processes to be implemented.   Utilizing the reference material in the guidelines, the planning process should start with identifying reasonably foreseeable animal disease hazards and sources of potential hazards for the spread of animal disease. A site-specific biosecurity plan should be develop for animal disease, which includes effective corrective actions.

Once a solid plan is created, it should be properly communicated to everyone involved in the operation to ensure compliance with the policies.  The communication process should include educating and training, which starts with a full commitment from the management team.  A check-and-balance system should also be established to verify the plan implementations and ensure proper training is completed and maintained. 

Nevertheless, the success of a biosecurity plan is highly dependent upon the philosophy of the business to drive the program. The key is starting with the management team willingness to implement plan and completing the circle with a strong commitment by employees.

Finally, the biosecurity plan needs to be routinely reviewed and updated as defined in the written policy. The review process should be based on personnel feedback, changes of processes or ingredients or ingredients sources. Communication throughout the entire supply chain from feed manufacture to hog farmers will be crucial in averting and controlling the spread of animal disease.

About the Author(s)

Cheryl Day

Former Editor, National Hog Farmer

Cheryl Day is a former editor of National Hog Farmer.

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