AGA IN ACTION
FAO Network of Experts to Strengthen Quality Control Systems in Feed Analysis Laboratory
Stengthening quality control systems in feed analysis laboratories
An Experts’ Meeting was held to finalise a draft document, based on ISO 17025:2005, on Quality Control System for Animal Nutrition/Feed Analysis Laboratories. This document is intended to help laboratory personnel maintain the standards expected while providing prompt, efficient and professional service at the level of quality required by the laboratory’s clients. The implementation of the quality assurance approaches and good laboratory practices will strengthen the quality of the data emerging from feed analysis laboratories, which in turn will benefit the animal agriculture in several ways.
Eight experts (Jim Balthrop, USA; Leon de Jonge, The Netherlands; Johan De Boever, Belgium; Richard Cowie, UK; Chris Piotrowski, UK; Felicity Jackson, New Zealand; Benedikt Brand, Germany; Juergen Danier, Germany) from Member States and Harinder Makkar from AGAS, FAO participated in the meeting.
The meeting was held from 30 May to 1 June 2011 at FAO, Rome.
Conclusions and Recommendations from the Meeting are:
- The methodologies and quality control approaches used in feed analysis laboratories were discussed and the document was finalised. Experts identified some additional methods and quality control/assurance approaches for incorporation in the document. It was agreed to complete this part within the next 30 days.
- The Experts reinforced that there is an urgent need to implement the quality control/assurance approaches in developing countries.
- Implementation of the quality control/assurance approaches will enhance the quality of data being generated by feed analysis laboratories, which is a pre-requisite for formulating a diet for optimum animal production. Proper feed formulation will also enhance animal productivity, animal product quality and animal welfare. It will also decrease livestock-mediated pollution of the environment.
- Approaches for the implementation of the quality control systems were discussed and identified.
- The document will be useful for any laboratory involved in feed analysis including those in the aquaculture sector.
- The document will assist countries to initiate the process of getting their feed analysis laboratories accredited to international standards.
- An additional effect of implementing these quality control/assurance approaches will be the strengthening of the research and education capabilities of students graduating from R&D institutions. This will have long-term benefits and will promote investment in both feed industries and R&D institutions.
- The implementation of the quality control/assurance approaches will promote better trading environment between developing and developed economies.
- Training workshops aimed at Laboratory Managers and Technical Analysts on quality control/assurance approaches should be organized as soon as possible. FAO is well placed to organise such training due to its wide network in different regions and countries.
- Other donor agencies, including the private sector, should also consider sponsoring training workshops that enhance the quality control/assurance skills of the laboratory staff in the feed industries and in R&D institutions working on developing feeding strategies.
- Establish an FAO Network of Experts to provide support for “Strengthening Quality Control System in Animal Nutrition/Feed Analysis Laboratory in Developing Countries”. As a start, all the Experts that participated in this meeting agreed to be a part of this Network. Other experts should also be invited to this Network.
- Based on the Quality Control Document, FAO should consider preparing a self-learning e-module containing video recordings of the technical procedures and the quality control/assurance approaches linked to them, to enable laboratory staff to become proficient in using the quality control/assurance approaches.
- Near infrared spectroscopy is becoming a routine analysis for evaluation of feeds in many countries. FAO should also consider preparing a manual that guides scientists and the feed industry in developing countries to implement NIRS procedures.
- Based on the feedback from users, the document should be refined and expanded in future.
- Consideration should be given to include in the document a number of important techniques for feed additives, microbiology, drug residues and other undesirables.
- FAO should also consider developing guidelines for establishing feed analysis laboratory.
The document on Quality Control System for Animal Nutrition/Feed Analysis Laboratories will be available for distribution in the coming months. Further information can be obtained from Harinder Makkar.
Following this meeting, an FAO Network of Experts has been established. The aim of this Network is to provide advice and guidance on quality control and regulatory aspects of feed analysis and on accreditation of laboratories to international standards. Technical Analysts and Laboratory Managers working in R&D institutions and feed industries in developing countries can direct their queries to the experts.
For further information on the Network, see the list of experts.