Bluegrass Horse Feeds is proud to be BETA NOPS approved for all of our products. What does this mean and why is it so important for our customers and their horses? Ashley Neely takes a look at the code which keeps standards high and horse feeds protected from NOPS
Back in 2009, the British Equine Trade Association (BETA), through the work of the BETA Feed Committee, examined the issues surrounding the control of certain specific Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances (NOPS).
As a result, BETA developed a code known as BETA NOPS, to reduce the risk of NOPS in equine feed.
This code calls for brands like ourselves to evaluate the risk of NOPS contamination. Each step of the manufacturing process, from field to feed sack, is closely evaluated. To be BETA NOPS assured means that we evaluate sources, storage, all transport which comes into our mill in Eglish, Co Tyrone, as well as the actual processing procedure. Suppliers of raw materials are also audited on a regular basis and staff go through rigorous training to ensure adherence to the code.
The code is one which Bluegrass Horse Feeds complies with. It is also endorsed by the British Horse Racing Authority and the National Trainers Association. As well as that, the British Equestrian Federation requires all squad members to use only NOPS accredited products.
So it's vital for horse owners to recognise the importance of buying their feed from a BETA NOPS approved feed manufacturer such as ourselves.
Being assured by BETA NOPS means that our team at Bluegrass Horse Feeds can reassure owners, trainers and riders of the strict quality management procedures which are set in place.
We are very proud that all of our products are NOPS compliant.
So what are NOPS and what are prohibited substances?
Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances (NOPS) are “either naturally present with certain feed ingredients or which occur as a result of inadvertent cross contamination during processing before arriving at the feed manufacturer’s facility," according to BETA. These are listed in the BETA NOPS code.
A Prohibited Substance is "any substance which can exert an effect on a horse". The British Racing Authority defines prohibiting substances as “any substance which is capable at any time acting on one or more of the following mammalian body systems for example, musculoskeletal skeletal system”.
Both the British Racing Authority and International FEI rules for competition state a 'no threshold' policy for naturally occurring substances which can affect performance.
Some of the main NOPS and their sources are as follows;
Morphine (opium poppy, palaver saminferum)
Hyoscine (nightshade, datura)
Hordenine (germinating barley)
Atropine (nightshade-atrophy belladonna)
As Bluegrass Horse Feeds comply with the regulations and guidelines we are able to mark our feed bags and products with the BETA NOPS approved logo.
And, as horse owners, you too can adopt management practices set out by BETA NOPS which will help you reduce the risk of prohibited substances on your yard. Applying these simple management steps will help reduce the risk of prohibited substances occurring on your yard and give you, as an owner, peace of mind on what could have devastating results.
- Purchase BETA NOPS approved feed - you can see our list of products HERE (link)
- Do not share feed stores with other animals
- Do not keep first aid kits or grooming kits in the feed room
- Ensure old feed is used up before opening new bags
- Regularly clean feed bins, mangers and buckets
- Keep labels and batch numbers as this will be highly important if a query arises
- Ensure all yard staff know the possible sources of contamination
- Never eat or drink in the stable or feed room
- Use disposable gloves when working with medication
- Disinfect isolation stables before the arrival of new horses
- Empty and clean horse lorries or trailers after every use
- Avoid sharing tack
- Do not give horses human food
- Ensure to consult with your feed for supplement company withdrawal time prior to competitions
- Take care when using powered forms to avoid contamination
- Do not use homemade remedies
- Keep all medication locked away and accurately recorded after use.
- Be careful of herbal products which may be listed as NOPS
If you have any queries at all, or are worried that you are not feeding from a BETA NOPS approved manufacturer, contact our team and we will assist you. Further information is also available on betanops.com