The UFAS Beta NOPS Code
Reducing the Risk of Disqualification from Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances in Feed.
The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) has introduced two assurance schemes designed to reduce the risk of naturally occurring prohibited substances (NOPS) in equine feeds.
The Universal Feed Assurance Scheme (UFAS), Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances (NOPS) Code is designed for manufacturers of compound feeds, and the Feed materials Assurance Scheme (FEMAS) NOPS Code is a sister scheme designed for raw material and straights providers. Both UFAS and FEMAS together with the NOPS components are administered by the AIC (Agricultural Industries Confederation). Companies are audited through the AIC schemes as well as being bound by additional requirements run by BETA as part of the BETA UFAS NOPS code.
Feeds and supplements conforming to the new Codes will carry logos to reassure owners and trainers of the stringent quality management procedures that have been undertaken by manufacturers.
- NOPS – what are they and where do they come from?
- BETA NOPS Assurance Schemes
- Participating Companies
- Joining the BETA NOPS Schemes
The definition of a prohibited substance is “any substance that can exert an effect on a horse” which is a broad, all encompassing definition. A naturally occurring prohibited substance (or NOPS) is one that is either naturally present within certain ingredients or that occurs as a result of inadvertent cross contamination during processing before arriving at the feed manufacturer’s facility. The main NOPS and their sources are:
- Caffeine –(cacao)
- Theobromine - (cacao)
- Theophylline - (tea)
- Morphine – (opium poppy, Papaver somniferum)
- Hyoscine – (nightshade, Datura)
- Hordenine – (germinating barley)
- Atropine – (nightshade – Atropa belladonna)
- Nicotine – from tobacco
Historically the principal risk has come from caffeine and theobromine, but more recently several incidences of morphine contamination of feed have occurred, coinciding with the cultivation of morphine poppies in UK.
The British Horseracing Authority’s Rules of Racing and International FEI rules for competition state a no threshold policy for naturally occurring substances that could affect performance, with the exception of theobromine. Whilst the risks of such an occurrence are low, the consequences can be disastrous with loss of prize money, value, earnings, prestige, owners, trainers, riders, feed/supplement manufacturers and team placings.
The BETA Codes require manufacturers to evaluate the risk of a NOPS contamination during every step of the sourcing, storage, transport and manufacturing processes for their each product, and design their quality management systems in line with the risks identified.
Suppliers of raw materials will be regularly audited and staff will also undergo rigorous training to ensure strict adherence to the Code.
The Code has been endorsed by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and the National Trainers Association. Professor Tim Morris, Director of Equine Health and Welfare of the British Horseracing Authority says of the Code: “By significantly reducing the risk of NOPS, the new Code provides important protection for those competing or racing under rules. The fact that most of the UK’s major feed manufacturers have already agreed to comply with the Code confirms its viability as a workable verification system.”
The endorsement of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is currently being sought and it is hoped to work with the FEI in the future.
The following companies have signed up to be audited under the new codes.
- Allen & Page
- Attlee Feeds
- Baileys Horse Feeds
- Blankney Estates Ltd
- Blue Chip Feed
- Bluegrass Horse Feeds
- British Horse Feeds
- Caltech (Horslyx)
- Charles R Wynne
- Charnwood Milling
- Chestnut Horse Feeds
- Connollys Red Mills
- Countrywide Farmers
- Dengie Crops
- Devenish Nutrition
- Dodson and Horrell
- Form Nutrition (Equiform Nutrition)
- Fox Feeds Ltd
- Friendship Estates
- Gain Horse Feeds
- HJ Lea Oakes (Equerry Horse Feeds)
- Honeychop Horsefeeds
- Mark Westaway & Son
- Mars Horsecare (Spillers and Winergy)
- Natural Animal Feeds
- Premier Nutrition
- Probiotics International
- Provimi Ltd
- Saracen Horse Feeds
- Science Supplements
- Simple Systems
- Target Feeds T/A Rowen Barbary Horse Feeds
- TopSpec Equine
- Youngs Animal Feeds Ltd
The codes are open to any company to join as a bolt on to their UFAS or FEMAS certification. A separate Appendix is now included in the AIC UFAS and FEMAS documentation or is available from BETA. In addition to certification through audit to either or both of these schemes, companies must also agree to a number of additional terms and conditions as laid down in the BETA NOPS Code guidelines and application forms.
Companies need not be members of BETA to join NOPS, however an additional feeb is payable to join the scheme should they not be members. The BETA NOPS Logo may be used when signing up to the code providing the company has already successfully been audited to UFAS or Femas, however must within one year be successfully audited to the NOPS appendix, otherwise will be obliged to remove all mention of the code from labels, packaging or literature.
A selection of presentations on the theme of NOPS and the code are available to companies interested in joining by contacting BETA.
The following documents will be useful for anyone interested in joining the code.
- BETA NOPS Code – introduction and explanatory note
- BETA NOPS Code Application to join
- NOPS Standard Terms and Conditions
- Pre-Estimate of Prize Money - reference NOPS T & C's
- Link to the UFAS NOPS Appendix on AIC Website (amendments in July 2010)
- UFAS BETA NOPS Appendix (2009)
- Link to the FEMAS NOPS Appendix on AIC Website (amendments in July 2010)
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