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Expert-based development of a generic HACCP-based risk management system to prevent critical negative energy balance in dairy herds

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The objective of this study was to develop a generic risk management system based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles for the prevention of critical negative energy balance (NEB) in dairy herds using an expert panel approach. In addition, we discuss the advantages and limitations of the system in terms of implementation in the individual dairy herd. For the expert panel, we invited 30 researchers and advisors with expertise in the field of dairy cow feeding and/or health management from eight European regions. They were invited to a Delphi-based set-up that included three inter-correlated questionnaires in which they were asked to suggest risk factors for critical NEB and to score these based on ‘effect’ and ‘probability’. Finally, the experts were asked to suggest critical control points (CCPs) specified by alarm values, monitoring frequency and corrective actions related to the most relevant risk factors in an operational farm setting. A total of 12 experts (40 %) completed all three questionnaires. Of these 12 experts, seven were researchers and five were advisors and in total they represented seven out of the eight European regions addressed in the questionnaire study. When asking for suggestions on risk factors and CCPs, these were formulated as ‘open questions’, and the experts’ suggestions were numerous and overlapping. The suggestions were merged via a process of linguistic editing in order to eliminate doublets. The editing process revealed that the experts provided a total of 34 CCPs for the 11 risk factors they scored as most important. The consensus among experts was relatively high when scoring the most important risk factors, while there were more diverse suggestions of CCPs with specification of alarm values and corrective actions. We therefore concluded that the expert panel approach only partly succeeded in developing a generic HACCP for critical NEB in dairy cows. We recommend that the output of this paper is used to inform key areas for implementation on the individual dairy farm by local farm teams including farmers and their advisors, who together can conduct herd-specific risk factor profiling, organise the ongoing monitoring of herd-specific CCPs, as well as implement corrective actions when CCP alarm values are exceeded.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104849
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • dairy cow, management, expert panel, HACCP, negative energy balance

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