New Zealand animal feed manufacturers are signing up to a new accreditation scheme to ensure that feed produced for livestock is safe.
The FeedSafeNZ scheme is the initiative of the New Zealand Feed Manufacturers Association (NZFMA).
Its executive director Michael Brooks said 14 sites have been accredited so far, covering more than half of the stock feed production of manufacturers belonging to the association.
"Stock feeds that are in the pig and poultry industry, increasingly the dairy industry, as animal feeds, and also other sectors, [such as] equine and goats, [some smaller sectors] that rely on animal compound and feed," Mr Brooks said.
"The idea is that with the quality of production, you are helping to raise safe feed for animals and of course that by extension is therefore also helping to raise the safety of human food.
"And we have contracted AsureQuality with their national and international reputation for audits. So they go onto the site, looking at the grounds, the buildings, the design, mill machinery, operation and all the standards and the record systems that are in place there. And if they meet the standard then they receive an annual accreditation."
Mr Brooks said the FeedSafe initiative would help to maintain the already high standard of stock feed production here, and may become a condition of belonging to the association, which currently has about 20 members.
He said they were currently seeing some of the larger, but also some smaller operators joining the scheme.
"Often the larger companies have the resources to put the quality assurance, record-keeping etc, in place.
"This is raising the standards for those smaller operators and the feedback we've had from them is that they're seen it as an incredibly useful process to identify issues for them to improve and meet the standards.
"In terms of volume of production, we're probably talking 60 percent of production of our members, so with another six or seven, that would potentially be over 80 percent of production of feed manufacturers, and closer to about 95 percent of NZFMA members."