ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The American Feed Industry (AFIA) Association celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program this month. The voluntary certification program, which began in 2005, focuses on assisting animal food companies go the "extra mile," surpassing federal standards to achieve maximum quality and safety practices within firms.
As part of the program's decade-long success, AFIA said it congratulates the 31 Safe Feed/Safe Food "charter members," who have continuously maintained one or more certification(s) through the program since its creation.
"AFIA greatly appreciates the commitment of these companies to the program and to ensuring safe and quality animal food," said Henry Turlington, AFIA director of quality and manufacturing regulatory affairs. "We congratulate them on their continuous leadership within the industry."
Each location will be honored with an achievement certificate to display at its facility.
The independently certified program has gone from one certification option to four, including certifications for international facilities and pet food operations as well as two GFSI-benchmarked options—a first for the animal feed and pet food industries. The Safe Feed/Safe Food program is noted for its promotion of compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act for animal food (FSMA).
"In addition to the anniversary of the program, there has never been a better time to seek third-party certification as the Food Safety Modernization Act animal food rule's implementation process is gearing up," said Turlington.
In March 2015, AFIA updated the FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food guidance document to improve the effectiveness of the program, aligning it with FSMA requirements (additional updates will be made now that the rule is final). Since the new guidance document's implementation, 144 facilities have been certified using the new audit process with 79% obtaining an "Excellent" rating. Turlington said FSC36 is the optimal way to prepare a firm for the new regulatory requirements and possible inspection.
The Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program is not restricted to AFIA membership. Forty-eight of the 266 FSC36 certifications earned are by non-members. To date, 20-25% of AFIA member facilities within the U.S. maintain a Safe Feed/Safe Food certification.