In today’s world we often hear about traceability in Food and how important it is.

As part of Irish agricultures constant improvement and search for excellence we have a major role to play in ensuring traceability through the Animal Feed part of the Food Chain. Here at John O’Connell’s when we are manufacturing feed we have to be able to trace our raw materials from the source that we get them from, to our manufacturing facilities and track them all the way to the farmer that feeds them to his or her animals.

How do we carry out this huge logistical task?

Firstly we use only Approved suppliers of raw materials that are inspected by the Department of Food and Fisheries periodically. These raw materials are transported by approved hauliers who can document what they carried in the trailer in the past.

When a load arrives at the mill it has already been sampled by and approved by the Department at source but again we sample it and send the samples of for analysis to determine any possible presence of mycotoxins etc and to guarantee the protein, oil and fibre content etc is as it should be.

This load is then put into an empty bin that has been cleaned and inspected as being clean beforehand. We then use this load of raw materials to manufacture feed till the bin empties. The bin is cleaned, inspected and ready for the next load. When feed is manufactured, a sample of each batch is checked and kept and tested for protein, oil and fibre levels to ensure quality and feed safety.

Again when the feed is loaded into the truck it is sampled, checked and documentation produced and filed. At all stages we must be able to stand up to the rigours of regular Department of Agriculture Audits and Inspections that occur unannounced. Over the past 30 years we have always been compliant in these audits and have often been singled out in the reports for having clean efficient manufacturing and storage facilities.

All in all it is an intensive process to guarantee that feed can be certified as safe but one that is vital for Ireland to remain to be held in High Esteem among European and Worldwide food consumers.

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