Page 36

Milling News

Feed Safety Culture: crucial for effective feed safety control by Johan den Hartog – Managing Director of GMP+ International Companies spend a lot of effort and money to control the safety of feed and food, in order to satisfy their customers and to reduce financial risks. Quality management systems are implemented, improvements in buildings and machineries are realised, records are kept, performances are monitored and results are analyzed, evaluated and further improvements introduced. When a company operates according to a food /feed safety management system, a third party carries out an independent assessment of compliance with normative standards on a regular base. These assessments, by means of audits, are carried out according to certain methodologies and with welldefined tools. All these facilities, methods and tools are the ‘hardware’ side of the feed / food safety assurance system. However, the human-factor cannot be neglected or underestimated. Human factor The human factor relates to the people who are operating within the certified companies. A precondition is that these people are qualified with the proper knowledge and competences. The knowledge is about the products and processes in the feed companies and service providers. Additionally, they need to have understanding of risk assessment methodologies, etc. This knowledge can be obtained by a minimum of professional education, as well as regular additional training. Because not each person in a company knows everything, cooperation in a (HACCP) team is important to bring all knowledge and experiences together. Human failure or error A cause of a feed safety incident could be a human failure or error. GMP+ International has an Early Warning System (EWS). That means that GMP+ FSA certified companies must notify GMP+ International when the specific feed safety limits are exceeded. It is always requested to inform about the cause of the contamination. In 2015, in about 10 percent of incidents of contamination, “human failure” was mentioned. There is no reference to compare it with, so we cannot conclude that it is low, normal or high. People do make mistakes, but why do we make mistakes or cause errors? Is it the individual’s fault? Latent organisational weaknesses include work processes, and such 30 | March 2016 - Milling and Grain

work processes are usually behind human failures. That could be also the cause of the human failure, but it depends on the frequency of the errors and whether it is culpably or not. Therefore, it is important that an organisation and individuals are willing to learn from mistakes. Culture A non-blaming atmosphere in a company is all about the culture of organisation. Culture is about the human factor influencing the functionality of a feed safety management system. That is called food / feed safety culture. Feed and food safety is more than just a system; it is also about culture. If an business owner considers the production of safe feed as a company value, feed safety assurance is always applicable at the same level of urgency. Then it is a driving force for daily operations and the focus is on the long-term continuity. According to Griffith (2008), a company value determines the behaviour of the employees in the daily operations. Many feed & food safety incidents are caused by an absence of responsible behaviour by employees. Feed safety culture truly comes down to how employees think about, approach, and execute their daily task within a feed-making environment. Each person within the organisation is involved. The management of a company is mostly determining the company culture. The mind-set of a manager influences the mind-set of all of their employees. When a manager makes earning money a priority above assuring the safety of the products or service delivered to customers, it can result in risky behaviour. For instance, in co-mingling inferior products with a higher or unknown risk profile with products with a proper quality level. Feed & food safety culture is an important risk factor, and should be a much higher priority than it currently is in some cases. Figure 1: Human errors and the causes

Mar 2016 - Milling and Grain magazine