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HACCP program ensures safety of feed


HACCP

The same food safety program developed by NASA and Pillsbury Foods to assure the food safety of astronauts going into space is now protecting your animals in every bag of Southern States feed.

The program is known as HACCP, which stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.

Rich Schneider, Southern States corporate feed marketing manager, explains that HACCP is an international program designed to ensure the safety of all food and feed products.

"At this point, HACCP is a voluntary program," Schneider points out. "But we at Southern States have decided to get out in front of our competition by having all of the mills in our feed division HACCP certified by spring of 2006.

Tracey Morgan of Beallesville, Md., and her champion Dartmoor ponies. Morgan says Southern States' participation in the HACCP certification program gives added peace of mind.
Tracey Morgan

 

"To us, HACCP is more than a term - it is value," Schneider continues. "We want our customers to have full confidence in choosing us as their feed company. HACCP certification gives them assurance that the feed they buy from us for their animals is totally safe and healthy."

It's not that Southern States feeds weren't safe before, Matt Frederking assures. He is business analyst and manager of regulatory compliance for the Southern States feed division.

"The manufacturing processes we are using at the feed mills are not changing," Frederking explains. "What HACCP does is to provide documentation so that we can monitor any product from the time we bring it into our facility until it leaves. We can assure the steps that are in place to control the biological, physical and chemical hazards--factors that could affect safety of the ingredients or feed -- have been followed to protect each product all the way through the lengthy manufacturing process."

HACCP Principles

1 Conduct a hazard analysis of the facility to identify potential biological, physical and chemical hazards.

2 Identify critical control points -- points in the process that may require additional attention to ensure against hazards.

3 Establish critical limits -- minimum and maximum values in the process that determine the safety of the product. A good example is use of the right antibiotic at the proper dosage.

4 Establish monitoring procedures. Determine who will do the monitoring. What? How? How often?

5 Establish corrective actions. If something in the process falls outside of the critical limits, be prepared to determine what happened and why. Take steps to prevent it from recurring in the future.

6 Establish verification procedures. Have in place a system for double-checking that all procedures have been followed.

7 Establish recordkeeping procedures. Every step in the process for mixing each batch of feed must be written down for later trace-back documentation if necessary.

 

To accomplish this objective, Southern States has instituted the seven principles established by the National Advisor Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Food (see below).

"In simple terms," explains Frederking, "we have developed a program that lets us identify every ingredient, every product and every container that enters one of our facilities.

"We've looked at potential biological, chemical and physical hazards that may exist," he adds. "Then we have set in place rigid procedures for preventing or controlling those hazards so that the end product is safe to feed."

And the best news, Frederking says, is that the new system will not impact the cost of the feed. "The price to our customers will not rise," he assures.

Mike Royal, Southern States manager of commercial feed accounts, explains that HACCP was spurred by growing concerns of consumers for the safety of the milk, meat and eggs they eat.

"Producers are constantly trying to stay a step ahead of government regulations that are food-safety driven," he explains. "More and more, they are being charged with the responsibility of preventing problems from getting into the food chain that are the result of bacteria, salmonella and other diseases, as well as from drug residues.

"Using the feed products from Southern States that are HACCP certified provides assurance for our customers that none of those problems are being introduced through the feed," he says.

"People who have horses and pets - dogs and cats - are concerned about the well-being of their animals. The customer will welcome the peace of mind that HACCP certification brings. The feed is safe, healthy and nutritionally sound," Royal continues. "And," he adds, "they can trust that feed products from Southern States do not contain any impurities that can damage the health or longevity of their animals."

This is good news to Tracey Morgan of Beallesville, Md. Morgan is very protective of her champion Dartmoor ponies. They have won national championships and have placed high in international combined-driving competitions. She is extremely particular about what she feeds them, relying heavily on Southern States feeds to keep her ponies fit and healthy.

HACCP is an international program designed to ensure the safety of all food and feed products.

So Morgan is pleased to learn that Southern States is working to get all of the mills in its core feed division into a certification program. The aim is to help assure customers that the products they feed their animals are completely safe.

Tracey Morgan says she has always felt confident about using Southern States products. Knowing the company is going the extra mile to have all of its feed mills HACCP certified, she says, "just gives me added peace of mind."

HACCP is an international program designed to ensure the safety of all food and feed products.


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