by Johan Den Hartog, Managing Director of GMP+ International
n the last decade, the aquaculture industry has grown exponentially; with this growth is expected to continue. Consumers appreciate this growth because of the positive connotations that go along with eating fish. Because of the healthy image of fish and other aquatic produce, it is important to assure the safety of the aquatic animal products. Water quality certainly has an impact, but also the quality of aquafeed. A proper control of the safety of aqua feed can add value to the quality of the aquatic animal products. Feed safety risks can have a direct influence on the performance of aqua culture and indirectly on the access of (new) markets of aquatic produce worldwide. In this article, we give an overview of possible feed safety risks and the way of control them in a transparent way and according international standards. We make also remarks about sustainability aspects of aqua feeds.
Feed safety hazards
Practice tells us that feed ingredients can be contaminated with chemical and physical substances, as well as biological agents. It can depend on the ingredients used and the origin and production processes of these ingredients and the aqua feed as such. Chemical hazards may occur through natural chemicals (such as mycotoxins), industrial and environmental contaminants (like heavy metals, dioxins, and PCBâ€™s) and residues of veterinary drugs, pesticides, and radionuclides. Physical hazards are foreign objects like pieces of glass, metal, plastic, or wood. Biological hazards are contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. In aquaculture, too much contamination could influence the growth performance of the aquatic animals, thus increasing the feed conversion, whilst also inducing disease resistance; which in turn results in biological changes. These are all consequences with an economic impact. More importantly however, contaminants transferred from feed into the aquatic animal can also have a negative impact on the
safety of the aquatic animal products for the consumers and on the health image of it. It is clear that safe aqua feed is essential for aqua culture, not only for a profitable production of the aquatic animal products, but also for for the sake of undisturbed and continued sales into the market; especially export markets. Moreover the consumers expect a healthy product. To get safe aqua feed, a proper feed safety control by means of an adequate assurance system is a precondition. If such an assurance system is applied demonstrably, it will add value to the aquatic animal products definitively.
Essential elements in a feed safety assurance system
For the application of proper feed safety control, a series of risk mitigation measures should be put in place to achieve the best possible result. First of all, it is necessary to implement a proper prerequisite program. It is about maintenance of buildings and machinery, training of employees, hygiene and cleaning program, pest control, etc. This all creates a basic level of control of possible hazards in the production process. Secondly, HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) is a tool to identify specific hazards, which could become risks in the production process, remained after application of the prerequisites. This will result in identifying the real risks in the production process and in taking proper control measures, as well as monitoring of the effectiveness of these control measures. Any change in the production process should be implemented after renewing the hazard analysis for identifying new risks and adjusting control measures. Additionally to HACCP, a proper quality management system ensures the consistent application of the defined control measures and verification procedures.
GMP+ Feed Safety Assurance
The control measures previously mentioned are well known elements in many quality systems. They are all integrated in the
20 | July | August 2016 - International Aquafeed