Some key changes have been made to the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) to further enhance the robustness of this program, which underpins the lot feeding industry.
These were announced in August last year and became auditable on January 1, 2022.
Feedlot managers and staff have been able to hear first-hand how these modifications will affect them, find out what measures need to be taken and talk to a range of experts in this field through a series of live - and free - webinars that have been held in recent months.
And there are further events planned to explain the changes.
The long-standing NFAS was introduced in 1994 and is central to the feedlot sector's commitment to continual improvements in production, welfare and environmental management.
It is the cornerstone of eligibility to describe a product as grain-fed beef.
The scheme has evolved during the past few years and undergone many reviews.
The latest changes have been designed to strengthen the program in areas including:
AUS-MEAT General Manager for Livestock and Horticulture Standards, Bruce Gormley, said the changes to the NFAS had simplified and clarified several of the long-standing requirements of the scheme - as well as introducing new requirements that are aimed at supporting the management systems of feedlots and, equally, further meet the expectations of supply chains.
In many cases, lot feeders may not need to take additional actions to current processes, given the maturity of some of the quality systems in place across some feedlot businesses.
Mr Gormley said new measures introduced through the NFAS included:
There are a raft of modifications to the NFAS quality standards in the areas of: quality management; product recall and timely notification through the supply chain of non-conforming product; food safety; livestock health monitoring and managing; timely incident reporting; using approved grains from accredited suppliers; and timely administration tasks.
From this month, NFAS-accredited feedlotters will also need to develop and implement an animal antimicrobial stewardship plan.
A training module covering the requirements for this plan is available on ALFA's Feedlot TECH Online Training Hub.
Veterinarian Tony Batterham, of Quirindi Veterinary Clinic, said already more than 60 per cent of feedlots in Australia were accredited to use animal antimicrobials.
He said the the objectives of the stewardship program included to continue to foster the responsible use of animal microbial products and encourage adoption of the program.
"It is about preserving the useage of these products, maximising efficacy and response to treatment and minimising animal resistance," he said.
"We want a stewardship plan based on responsible use of antimicrobials.
"The three 'Rs' of responsible use are reduce, refine and replace.
"We want to achieve best practice infection prevention, infection control and microbial use."
More information about the NFAS changes can be found at: www.ausmeat.com.au/services/list/livestock/nfas/nfas
ALFA and AUS-MEAT webinars to discuss the changes to the scheme will be rolled-out during early 2022.
Topics are covered in a one hour and 45 minute lunchtime online zoom session.
Presenters have included:
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