Petfood Industry - September 2017 - 49
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food safety certifications challenging.
"We export our foods to over 82
countries with different food safety
and regulatory regimes, and within the
United States there are different regulatory requirements for each state,"
said Hettiarachchi. "In addition to that,
in the US, the Association of American
Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)
governs the federal regulations on pet
food nutrition and labeling, whereas
the European Pet Food Industry
outlines the nutritional, labels and food
safety requirements for the European
Union. It's a real challenge to make
sure the foods we make meet all the
nutritional, safety and labeling regulatory requirements."
Having the resources to meet those
challenges is key to success, according
to the industry.
"Having a blanket third-party food
safety system certification based on
a GFSI-recognized scheme helps us
navigate through the different export
and state regulatory requirements,"
said Hettiarachchi. "Ultimately, all
food safety requirements are based on
fundamentals in food safety systems."
Manpower is, naturally, key among
"Obviously you have to have the
people in place to manage [the safety
processes], you have to have people
trained internally to do audits and
you have to have an organizational
commitment," said Mann. "The
certification [alone] really isn't that
important, it's the buy-in from people
that this is the way we're going to treat
our customers, and this is the way
we're going to protect our business and
protect our customers' business."
Protecting the industry
and its customers
Uncertainty is perhaps the greatest
Industry September 2017
enemy of pet food safety, and the
industry must continue advancing
in its knowledge and its processes to
minimize the potential of unexpected
contamination or adulteration.
"I think that, going forward, the
risk to the pet food industry isn't what
we know, it's what we don't know,"
said Mann. "And so trying to figure
out what that is and having programs
and systems in place to try to minimize
those risks, that's really what we try to
do. Not only minimize our risks, but
our customers' risks, as well." ■