By FWi staff

SUPPLY trade association UKASTA officially launched its Feed Assurance Scheme, UFAS, yesterday.

UFAS is intended to boost confidence in the feed manufacturing and supply industry, and to ensure the future competitiveness of UK livestock industries, says the association.

This will be achieved by providing a unifying set of standards for the safe production, handling and storage of compound animal feedingstuffs. says UKASTA.

The voluntary scheme, first established last autumn, has already received a good response from the compound feed industry.

“I believe we have more than 70% of the compound feed production already committed to the scheme, said director general, Jim Reed.

The scheme has 136 production units registered to date, almost all of them commercial compound feed mills.

UKASTA admits that UFAS will lead to a small increase in feed prices, but claims that the effect will be insignificant compared with the normal fluctuation in ingredient prices.

“The costs associated with demonstrating compliance are unavoidable, but UFAS is the most efficient way of achieving the necessary standards throughout the industry at the lowest cost,” it said.

“It is impossible to give average costs, but they should be small as the scheme primarily organises activities the mill should be undertaking anyway.”

Consumer and supermarket concerns over GM ingredients will also be helped by providing traceability, safe handling and the storage of feed materials.

But it would be difficult to switch away totally from ingredients produced from GM crops, UKASTA admits.

Farmers are encouraged to trade with suppliers registered with UFAS so that they can pass on this assurance to their customers.

“The livestock products market has never been so competitive, at home and abroad,” said MR Reed.

“We need British producers to be able to compete effectively, and the best contribution the feed compounding industry can make towards that end is to go on providing top class products,” he added.