Contacting the European Compound Feed Manufacturers Federation (FEFAC) just got easier with the recent launch of its web site. The site premiered April 2, after eight months of preparation.
"[Assembling a web site] was the next logical step after moving from the fax machine to e-mail," said Alexander Döring, the association's secretary general. He said the goal was to improve the communication network among FEFAC members.
"The web site simplifies access to FEFAC documents and papers from E.U. institutions," Döring said.
The organization has already received compliments from some members, he noted. Feedback will be the primary method FEFAC uses to measure the site's success.
FEFAC was founded in 1959 by national compound feed associations in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The organization today is comprised of 19 national industry associations in 14 European Union member states as well as Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Poland and Bulgaria. It also has an increasing number of observer members from non-E.U. countries.
European compound feed manufacturers employ over 85,000 people on 4,000 production sites. Döring said the web site would help improve communication among the wide variety of people with interest in the European feed manufacturing industry.
FEFAC also holds observer status in CODEX Alimentarius, which was formed by the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations World Health Organization to report on food and commodity standards. Observers are not technically members of CODEX, but they are welcomed at its meetings and may offer their viewpoints.
Döring said FEFAC's mission is to represent, defend and promote the interests of the European compound feed industry to European institutions; lobby for a legislative framework and its implementation; safeguard conditions of free access to raw materials, the proper functioning of their markets and the definition of their quality; and develop good manufacturing practices that ensure the quality and the safety of compound feed.
SITE FEATURES. The web site's inviting homepage presents a pictorial timeline beginning with a picture of a grain field, then of a feed manufacturing facility, next a cow and finally a picture of food on a table.
Once inside the site, it is simply divided into five sections: Who are we?, Publications, Events, Links, and Members Only, which requires a login name and password for access.
The "Who are we?" section includes an introduction to FEFAC; an organizational chart of its interaction between the president, advisory council, committees and directors; and a listing of the Secretariat staff and e-mail addresses.
The FEFAC "Guidelines for a national code of good manufacturing practice for the control of carry-over of meat and bone meals for ruminant feed," is one of the papers found in the Publications division of the web site, which mostly is available in French, English and German.
Visitors can also find a list of other FEFAC papers and reports, press releases, positions on industry topics, statistics and activity reports.
The extensive section devoted to industry links includes links to other related industry associations, such as the American Feed Industry Association in the United States, to various European and international institutions, and many more.
Although the association feels the site is already comprehensive and user-friendly, Döring said any future additions to the site will be developed on request of FEFAC's member associations.
"One new area could be for online consultation and inquiries with member associations," he suggested.
In the light of numerous recent animal health issues in Europe, FEFAC also recognizes the potential of the site to be used as a medium to detail its position about food safety, Döring said.
In the "Members Only" section, members can access FEFAC internal documents, the FEFAX news service, feed legislation and meeting reports.
Within the event section, visitors will find a calendar of international feed-related events and the program to the association's upcoming conference, the XXII Congress, to be held June 6-8, 2001 in Helsinki, Finland.
The Congress, with the theme "The Future of Feed and Food in the 21st Century," will examine key factors influencing the business of feed manufacturers and their customers.
Keynote speakers from the banking, farming, trading and retail sectors will analyze recent events in E.U. and world markets and effects on livestock products and future development in the European livestock sector.
Experts from the feed and livestock sector are encouraged to attend the conference. "There can be no doubt that at the eve of E.U. enlargement, the current public debate on feed and food safety and "green" biotechnology will have important repercussions on investment and restructuring of the E.U. livestock sector," said FEFAC President Pat Lake.