25 February 2000

Straights control?

STRAIGHTS are the next part of the feed industry to be faced with tighter controls under assurance schemes for the food chain.

UKASTA hopes to have a new code of practice for feed materials up and running by the summer, meaning merchants who abide by this will have to comply with new standards for supplying straights.

This will complement UKASTAs feed assurance scheme (FAS) for compounds fed on farm, and bring straights into line by covering areas such as traceability, quality control, nutritional information and storage.

An independent verifier will audit merchants adopting these new standards, says UKASTAs services director, Judith Nelson.

Despite feed industry involvement, the move was initially prompted by milk buyers who view straights as an area of weakness for the feed chain, says Cargill feed and grains marketing manager Martin Douglas.

According to Mr Douglas members of the National Dairy Farm Assurance Scheme believed more stringent controls were needed for materials fed on farm.

This means abiding merchants will have to trace feedsuffs to a port or vessel of entry, he says. Other features are more precise nutritional information on feeds and a quality control program to check materials meet specifications.

It appears there will be some added cost, but Mr Douglas believes this will be negligible.

He believes the National Dairy Farm Assurance Scheme will insist that producers only purchase straights from merchants who can demonstrate they meet UKASTAs code of practice.