Biosecurity practices in the feed mill protect livestock against exposure to endemic and emergency diseases via the manufacture and delivery of feed. They also aim to limit the spread of these diseases within livestock and – in the case of zoonotic diseases – human populations. Whether they are clinical (obvious) or subclinical (hidden), infectious diseases can significantly reduce the productivity, profitability and long-term financial viability of livestock enterprises.
Biosecurity in the feed mill also includes preventing the spread of diseases, pests and weeds to or from other primary industries, for example grain crops and horticulture.
Feed mill biosecurity
A series of steps should be taken to help maximise feed biosecurity:
1. Assess biological hazard risk
Feed manufacturing facilities must take a proactive approach to understanding biological hazards for their own operations and the security of their customers. The biosecurity procedures employed by a specific feed mill may not be the same as other feed mills depending on the customers they serve and the associated risk tolerance vs. price for mitigation strategies that are employed.
2. Define protocols to prevent entry of hazard into the feed mill
The most important part of a feed mill biosecurity plan is to prevent hazards from entering the feed mill. Identifying and eliminating high risk ingredients, minimising entry via people and equipment, covering all open points of entry when not being used, and other strategies can be used to prevent hazard entry into the feed mill.
3. Utilise mitigation strategies to minimise risk
Not all hazards can be prevented from entering the feed mill and consequently mitigation strategies should be utilised. The best option is to identify the mitigation strategies that are effective against the specific hazards of concern and utilise a combination of point-in-time mitigants as well as those that have residual effectiveness for continued protection through the remainder of the feed supply chain. Some mitigation strategies have multiple benefits. As an example, dust collection and elimination not only creates a safer and better environment for the workers, but can also eliminate a major point of contamination.
4. Feed mill decontamination
While it is extremely difficult to completely accomplish, a feed mill decontamination strategy must be developed and should include a combination of physical cleaning, chemical cleaning, disinfection and, if applicable, the use of high heat as the final step.