Assuring animal feed quality is crucial in the livestock sector. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released a book that presents guidelines for starting and running an animal feed analysis laboratory, including the implementation of quality assurance (QA) systems compliant to an international standard. The 90-page book was authored by Leon de Jonge (Animal Nutrition Group) and Fliss Jackson (Nutrition Laboratory, Massey University, New-Zealand) and edited by Harinder Makkar (Animal Production and Health Division FAO, Italy).
The importance of livestock production in developing countries is increasing due to growing demands for animal products, combined with demands for more sustainable agriculture. Globalization and increased demand for animal products also offer export opportunities, leading to improved welfare for people from the exporting countries. Key elements for success, however, are high productivity and low prices, coupled with high quality and safety of animal products. Chemical analyses of diets and animal products play an essential role in achieving optimal production and guaranteeing safety for consumers. In developed countries, it is common practice to undertake most of the analyses in accredited laboratories. The availability of this kind of service in developing countries is constrained due to fewer laboratories and a lack of infrastructure. This can lead to a lack of reliable data, which can make animal agriculture in developing countries much less competitively priced when compared with that in developed countries.
The situation in developing countries can be improved by increasing the number of laboratories and improving the quality of the available analytical services. The provision of relevant information and training can be used as a tool to improve the quality of the analytical services in these laboratories. For this purpose, an international group of laboratory experts participated in an FAO working group that led to the publication of two manuals describing quality assurance, safety issues and analytical methods: Quality assurance for animal feed analysis laboratories (FAO, 2011), and Quality assurance for microbiology in feed analysis laboratories (FAO, 2013). This group was also the starting point for an FAO network of international experts, aimed at improving analytical capability in developing countries
The (FAO) document is entitled " The feed analysis laboratory: Establishment and quality control. Setting up a feed analysis laboratory, and implementing a quality assurance system compliant with ISO/IEC 17025:2005". This document presents the sequence of activities for establishing a Feed Quality Analysis Laboratory – from initial planning, building and layout; through hiring suitable staff and selecting methods and equipment; and culminating in accreditation, based on an estimated four-year time frame. The Quality Management System is stressed, and the document highlights validation of methods, personnel and training; systematic equipment maintenance and calibration; proficiency testing; quality control procedures; reporting; and auditing.
Text is derived from the document, which is made available on the FAO website: download guideline.