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From farm to fork: Those who test are "in the know"!

The term food safety is generally understood to cover all measures and concepts directed at protecting consumers from negative effects on health or injuries and/or ensuring that food is suitable for consumption. As part of the official food inspections, the veterinary inspection offices check the concepts and measures a food processing company has established to ensure the necessary hygiene during production and when handling food. In addition, they evaluate their implementation with operating instructions and the actions of the employees.

However, many forget that food safety is not limited to the food processing industry and the catering sector. On the contrary, the avoidance of contamination and/or residues, as well as the traceability of the products and their ingredients actually begins on the farm. Only in this way can it be ensured that consumers are protected as comprehensively as possible, for example with product recalls when a danger is recognized.

In recent years additional aspects have been added to the public discussion: Consumers want to know where the food they consume comes from. This especially applies with a particular emphasis on food of animal origin. Here it is important to not only build confidence through transparency, but also to be equipped in the event of liability. Minimising risks means that I as a producer must continually refine my own processes, watch the market and carry out the necessary quality checks when using new farm inputs or technology.

Now as a farmer, I can – even if I am aware of my role in farming in the food chain – not possibly carry out supplier audits for every product in animal husbandry and every farm input batch used, as a company from the food industry would do. However, what can be done in the sense of quality farming, is to know and evaluate the function of a farm input or a technical product in the process chain, and to only depend on the products for which a corresponding quality and harmlessness has been confirmed by a neutral, independent auditor.

This is where the DLG tests come into play. Especially the central statement of the EuroTier guiding theme, which defines animal husbandry as a main pillar of sustainable agriculture, anticipates many aspects of the tests of the DLG Test Center. Agricultural lime maintains and promotes the structure and fertility of the soil. Sustainable also means that oils, fuels and additives are proven to contribute to increasing the fuel efficiency during the cultivation, harvesting and storage of feed. Stall disinfectants with the DLG quality seal are effective and gentle on materials so that no negative effects on barn equipment need be feared. High-quality silage additives, silo and stretch films and bale wrapping nets provide for low feed losses and high feed quality. They therefore increase the well-being of the animals and contribute to animal welfare. As do bedding powder and udder hygiene products or hoof care and hygiene products. They not only reduce the bacteria level for the animal, they are also characterised by their skin tolerance and therefore also contribute to animals "feeling well". By using DLG-tested cleaning agents and disinfectants for milking systems, you as a farmer can depend on top system hygiene and can therefore ensure the production of high-quality food.

With DLG-tested compound feed (concentrated and mineral feed) contains more than it says on the label. In fact, with the current new version the existing testing framework will be expanded with important criteria aimed at the entire value-added chain, therefore providing a modern depiction of the requirements of the food chain for feed.

DLG-certified floor coverings for the animals' resting or exercise area are especially durable and are characterised by a high degree of lying or walking comfort. And last but not least, the DLG testers also have an eye on possible harmful substances in technical products, such as polycyclic, aromatic hydrocarbons in cubicle coverings used in dairy cattle farming. These plasticisers are considered carcinogenic. As a result, a migration from the lying surfaces into the animal and from the animal into the milk must be prevented at all costs.

For this reason, from feed production in the field to optimal animal husbandry to the extraction processes for food on farming operations, the following applies: Those who test are "in the know". Quality farming and food safety belong together and begin with the use of DLG-tested products.