GMP+ Feed Safety Assurance (FSA) Certification Guide

The GMP+ Feed Safety Assurance is a certification scheme developed to guarantee feed safety and reassure consumers about the responsible way animal feed products are produced, processed, traded, stored and transported around the world.

The GMP+ FSA scheme was initiated and developed in 1992 by the Dutch feed industry with response to various incidents involving contamination in feed materials.

Although started as a national scheme, over time it developed into an international scheme managed by GMP+ International in collaboration with various international stakeholders. GMP+ International thus became an independent organization that manages the GMP+ Feed Certification scheme and has been developed to guarantee feed safety and reassure consumers about the responsible way animal feed products are produced, processed, traded, stored and transported. Requirements for feed safety assurance are laid down in the GMP+ standards, which are based on legislation and additional requirements from stakeholders in the market.

Man feeding cows on a farm

Importance of GMP+ certification

As of 1st January 2006, the Animal Feed Hygiene Regulations (Regulation (EC) 183/2005) has been effective in Europe. The regulation includes requirement relating to hygienic handling of animal feed and it determines that all activities of animal feed production should be covered under scope and shall apply HACCP principles, as a tool for preparing and implementing the system. Thus, GMP+ certification is in high demand by the market - especially amongst European countries - for certification of the feed supply chain.

The GMP+ FSA scheme incorporates the concepts of HACCP that are predominantly based on criteria laid down in the Codex Alimentarius, with some additional changes based on new insights from the ISO 22000 standard. These along with the unique “chain approach” used by the GMP+ FSA scheme lays a solid and important foundation for safe feed by largely guaranteeing that all links in the chain play an integral part in ensuring the quality assurance for feed and services in a uniform and transparent manner.

Because every link in the supply chain commits itself to this standard, feed safety is therefore both an individual and a joint responsibility and thus secured throughout the GMP+ market.

By consistent application of this standard through the feed supply chain, GMP+ certification offers a lot of opportunities for the sale of feed in domestic as well as in international markets. Therefore, being a part of the GMP+ certification scheme helps companies to open door and expand business into the global market.

Knowing the relevant feed scope by GMP+

Feeds are broadly subdivided into the below 4 groups as per EU definitions:

  1. Compound feed
  2. Premixtures
  3. Additives
  4. Feed materials.

Where GMP+ certification is required

Setting up a feed safety system basically means implementing the necessary rules and procedures aimed at controlling feed safety. For example, this includes defining tasks and responsibilities, instructions for production and cleaning, maintaining a register of records, setting up and updating a quality manual, and controlling records.

A feed safety system enables companies to trace any batch of feed put on the market as well as its production history. In case of unsafe feed this information is required to detect the source and to eliminate further contamination.

Thus, GMP+ certification is required:

  • When a company is responsible for physical handling (processing, packing, storage, distribution and transport) of the feed products.
  • When there is change of legal ownership for the feed produced by one company to the next in the feed chain.
  • When the process involves various traders/ brokers/ agents handling feed and food products.
  • When you involve third party storage locations.
  • By test laboratories.

Hands holding animal feed

Steps towards GMP+ certification

There are 4 broad steps that a company must follow to achieve GMP+ certification.

1. Selecting the relevant standard

Following the decision to become a GMP+ certified company, one must determine which GMP+ standard covers all activities (‘scope(s)’) and is the most suitable to apply (for more please visit the GMP+ International website,

2. Setting up a feed safety system

The company must develop / adapt a feed safety system and implement the necessary operational procedures and process improvements. This will involve carrying out an internal audit to check whether all applicable requirements are met, and improving the feed safety system, operational procedures (etc.) when necessary

3. Selecting a suitable certification body

Selecting and signing a contract with a suitable certification body accepted by GMP+ International. For example, Cotecna is an approved certification body authorised by GMP+ International to certify companies for the Feed Safety Assurance (FSA) certification scheme.

4. Having the certification body carry out an audit

Finally, the certification body will carry out the audit and inform on corrective actions when necessary. Once the audit has been passed, the GMP+ certificate is issued.

Benefits of GMP+ certifications

  • Gain new sales opportunities and maintain existing customers;
  • Ensure continuity in business operation as the company structure is set up more efficiently and costs and financial risks are reduced;
  • Focus on quality management (ISO 9001) and risk control (HACCP);
  • Improve corporate image and reliability;
  • Become part of a global operating feed assurance system (the GMP+ certificate is internationally accepted by approximately 17,200 companies certified in 72 countries);
  • Are accepted by other schemes;
  • Have access to supporting information (fact sheets, risk assessments, newsletters, Early Warning messages etc.);
  • Easily combine multiple certifications (e.g. feed safety and responsibility);
  • Contribute to uniformity in the feed chain.

About Cotecna

Cotecna is a leading provider of testing, inspection and certification services worldwide, operating a global network of over 4,000 employees in close to 100 offices & certified laboratories in over 50 countries.

As a GMP+ recognized Certification Body, Cotecna India is authorised to issue GMP+ FSA certification to compliant companies working in the feed industry, including processors, manufacturers, traders and brokers.

For more information about GMP+ FSA certification scheme, or to request a certification for your company, please don’t hesitate to contact us at