POLAND EMBRACING FEED SAFETY:
Promising developments in Eastern Europe
by GMP+, Poland
Over the past decade, compound feed production in Poland has more than doubled to over 11 million tonnes per year, a development boosted by increased demand for poultry feed and cattle feed. As Poland has taken its place as the largest poultry producing country in the European Union, feed safety has become top of mind.
Here we gain some insight into a conversation with Magdalena Zgiep-Porzucek (PZZ Wałcz), Tomasz Wertelecki (ETOS), and Johan den Hartog (GMP+ International) about Poland's progress.
Johan den Hartog, Managing Director at GMP+ International, recently came home encouraged after making a trip to Poland. GMP+ International, owner of the world's largest feed safety assurance scheme, had organised multiple seminars in this Eastern European country over the course of several years. But this time was different.
'On this trip, it became clear to me that Poland has really turned the corner: feed safety is becoming top of mind', Den Hartog wrote afterwards, on his blog at GMP+ International's website.
Embracing feed safety
'It's not just the numbers', Den Hartog emphasises in his office at GMP+ International's headquarters in Rijswijk, the Netherlands. 'I knew the numbers of Poland's feed sector growth. I knew the number of GMP+ Feed Safety Assurance (FSA) certificates had been skyrocketing for the last few years. What I was really impressed by in Poland, was the dedication of the people we met.
'Ten years ago, we could barely find an audience in Poland for our seminars. Now, people drive for hours to meet us and hear about our scheme. I saw a true embrace of feed safety assurance and that was extremely encouraging.'
As of 2019, over 2,700 companies in Poland are GMP+ FSA certified, a tenfold increase compared to 2009. Due to this surge, almost 80 percent of the Polish compound feed industry is now certified.
Taking the lead
What changed in those ten years? For starters, more and more clients in Western Europe started asking Polish transport companies to have GMP+ FSA certification. In more recent years, the domestic agri-market (poultry and dairy specifically) has also increasingly been requesting their feed suppliers to become GMP+ FSA certified.
'No longer do foreign companies have to make demands, Polish companies themselves are taking the lead', says Den Hartog.
PZZ Wałcz, which has about 230 employees, is one of them. A feed producing company from Piła, in the northwestern region of Poland, PZZ Wałcz has been GMP+ FSA certified since 2016.
'Many companies in Poland are interested in GMP+ certification, due to the increased awareness', says Magdalena Zgiep-Porzucek of PZZ Wałcz. 'What also plays an important role are the requirements, in relation to producers and suppliers of feed materials and feed additives', she adds.
High product standards
In line with the rest of the Polish feed sector, demand for PZZ Wałcz's products has been growing rapidly. To keep up, the owners and management of the company decided to build a new feed production plant – the biggest in Poland, and the only one having a tower equipped with a six tonnes per hour capacity production line for extrusion.
'It will eventually reach a capacity of 18 tonnes per hour', says Zgiep-Porzucek.
The planned total annual production of PZZ Wałcz will be about 320,000 tonnes of feed, 25,000 tonnes of premixes and 25,000 tonnes of extrudate.
In order to secure production and maintain a high level of product quality, it is necessary to maintain a high level of control at every stage of the production process. This was further ensured by the implementation of the GMP+ FSA feed safety management system.
'The GMP+ system allows us to maintain high production standards', says Zgiep-Porzucek. 'At PZZ Wałcz, we realise that the safety of animal nutrition is, ultimately, the safety of human nutrition. Safe feed leads to safe food.'
Quality and responsibility
Another Polish company that works hard to systematically improve its production and distribution processes, with regards to quality, safety and effectiveness, is ETOS from Poznań. ETOS has been GMP+ FSA certified since 2014.
Ask Tomasz Wertelecki of ETOS for the 'why' and he comes up with a long list of reasons. To name a few: quality and responsibility, customer expectations, better sales, and GMP+ International's alliance with several other highly-regarded certification schemes.
Active in the feedstuffs market since 2003, ETOS is a well-known player in the production, co-packing and distribution of the feed products. ETOS is also a specialist when it comes to feed additives and mixtures, which has enabled them to gain ground in both domestic and foreign markets, including Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, and Spain.
A practical scheme
Wertelecki is 'very proud' of the company's GMP+ FSA certificate.
'It is a very practical and transparent scheme', he says. 'It supports the development of companies and gives you a great position in the international feed market. I also appreciate the knowledge transfer GMP+ International is promoting. There is a lot of information made available through their website, online documents and seminars. This made implementing the GMP+ FSA scheme much easier for ETOS.'
In 2014, ETOS passed the audit and received the GMP+ FSA certification. Feed safety assurance has been top of mind at the company ever since.
'Every single employee at ETOS is very consciously taking its responsibility for quality and safety.'
The company's business has improved as well.
'We have made quick progress in the last few years. The quality and safety assurance within the company has increased because of the GMP+ scheme. And, since we are certified, we only purchase from and sell to other certified – and thus trusted – suppliers and clients.'
Both Wertelecki and Zgiep-Porzucek expect further growth of GMP+ certification in their country. 'The more feed producers in Poland get certified, the more other companies are obliged to join the GMP+ ranks as well. I can only applaud that development', says Wertelecki.
Zgiep-Porzucek agrees. 'I think that, in the not too distant future, almost all suppliers of feed materials, feed additives and feed in Poland will be GMP+ FSA certified. That would be great, because it would be bringing closer our shared goal of safe feed and safe food.'
Development goes on
Besides feed safety assurance, there is also an increased demand for non-GMO feed supply. Therefore, GMP+ International – in collaboration with a Polish expert – developed the GMP+ MI105 GMO Controlled feed standard, which is VLOG proof.
Den Hartog says, 'It is part of the GMP+ Feed Responsibility Assurance system and easy to combine with GMP+ FSA certification.'