NOPS Safe Feed
We test for Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances (NOPS) to guarantee the best in quality equine nutrition
Connolly’s RED MILLS is one of the first feed manufacturers to have an on-site laboratory that tests for product quality, including NOPS. We employ strict testing processes to mitigate the risk of NOPS finding their way to the animal.
What are Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances (NOPS)?
Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances (NOPS) are prohibited substances that occur naturally in plants. Consequently, there is always a risk that the raw materials used to make horse feed may be contaminated with small quantities of NOPS. Drug tests can detect NOPS, and if they are present in the urine—which will depend on the amount consumed and the length of time between ingestion and sampling—it will cause a positive test. Although NOPS may not intentionally be fed to a horse, it may result in disqualification if a positive test result is found.
NOPS that are commonly associated with feed include morphine found in poppy seeds, and caffeine found in cacao, tea and coffee. More recently, a list of herbal NOPS has also been introduced and includes substances such as reserpine, which is found in Indian Snakeroot/Devil’s Pepper. Certain NOPS have accepted thresholds, however, these vary by country and the regulating body.
When can NOPS contamination occur?
Principally, contamination occurs due to the accidental introduction of an ingredient containing a naturally occurring prohibited substance. An example of this includes contamination with weeds containing prohibited substances during the growth of cereals or other ingredients. Inadvertent contamination can also occur during harvest through the sharing of equipment or storage facilities, or due to cross-contamination during shipping or transport to the mill. In the yard, NOPS contamination can occur through substances used by humans, namely caffeine and nicotine.
How do Connolly’s RED MILLS test for NOPS?
Connolly’s RED MILLS is one of the first feed manufacturers to have an on-site laboratory that tests for product quality, including NOPS. As NOPS occur naturally and can find their way to the animal via the food chain, Connolly’s RED MILLS has the most stringent testing in place. Our testing technologies are the same as those used by the Olympic Council and forensic bodies around the world. We use Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LCMS) to ensure strict compliance with the regulations of leading sporting bodies, such as the FEI, BHA and Irish Turf Club.
All incoming raw materials are screened through the on-site laboratory for the presence of the commonly found NOPS before being introduced into the production system. These controls are critical to ensure that the risk of these substances found in the finished product is drastically reduced. Further to this, Connolly’s RED MILLS is a medication-free mill, which again reduces the risk of contamination.
Each batch of manufactured horse feed is tested using LCMS technology. Our products are subject to a “positive release” quality control process, meaning each batch will only be released for distribution once the testing is complete. We also use a batch-tracking system that allows us to instantly check the manufacturing provenance of any Connolly’s RED MILLS product.
The BETA NOPS Code
As NOPS are an ongoing concern and require careful monitoring of raw materials, it has become the manufacturer’s responsibility to assess raw materials. The BETA NOPS Code is a voluntary scheme for companies who wish to demonstrate that they conform to current best practices in minimising the risk of contamination by NOPS in equine feeds. The BETA NOPS Code, whilst not a guarantee, requires the manufacturer to continually evaluate the risk of a NOPS contamination at every step of the sourcing, storage, transportation and manufacturing process. Companies are required to undergo an annual independent audit, which includes traceability, testing procedures and risk management. With the stringent testing in place at Connolly’s RED MILLS, we are a member of the BETA NOPS scheme. You can find the logo on all the packaging of our equine feeds.