A new voluntary code has been introduced by UK horse feed manufacturers and the British Equine Traders Association (BETA) to reduce the risk of naturally occurring prohibited substances (NOPS), like morphine and caffeine, getting into feed.

The code was implemented on 1 October with commitment from leading manufacturers including Baileys, Blue Chip, British Horse Feeds, Dodson & Horrell, Natural Animal Feeds, Red Mills, Saracen, Spillers, TopSpec and Dengie.

The companies have signed up to stringent quality management procedures in the sourcing, storage, transport and manufacturing processes of their products.

Suppliers of raw materials will be regularly audited and staff will also undergo rigorous training to ensure strict adherence to the code.

Both the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) adopt a zero tolerance policy for naturally occurring drugs that could affect performance.

Professor Tim Morris, director of equine science and welfare for the BHA said: “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.”

Products that conform to the new code will be labelled with symbols (pictured below) so buyers can identify them.