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Keyword 8 - Horticultural Safety Management Systems (HSMS) and Quality Assurance programs

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Background

Global trade with stakeholders in many different countries and the increasing complexity of the logistic chain makes the management of food safety more difficult. This needs the set-up of quality assurance and food safety management systems, food safety standards and good stakeholders relationships.
Quality assurance recommendations and guidelines regarding food safety of fresh produce are nowadays already partly available and the discussion is very actual (e.g. Codex Alimentarius on fresh leafy vegetables). However, the existing information regarding the fresh produce chain is not always complete and comprehensive, and the competent authorities seek further elaboration and optimisation of the existing documents and legislation. Also for companies along the horticultural chain, it is a challenge to translate the quality assurance requirements from the different stakeholders into a company specific food safety management system (FSMS).

Veg-i-Trade approach

Veg-i-Trade will provide support on the elaboration of a Food Safety Management System (FSMS) in the fresh produce supply chain - the horticultural sector - further referred to as a Horticultural Safety Management System (HSMS).
This will be triggered by developing a diagnostic tool to measure the actual performance of the implemented HSMS. The HSMS diagnostic tool is a structured documented approach to inquire on the status of assurance and control measures and sampling plans used by operators during the production of horticultural products. The diagnostic tool will enable to get insight in the strong and weak points of the current quality assurance and quality control activities. Adaptation scenarios will be rolled out in order to anticipate on changing climate conditions and globalisation patterns.
Furthermore from information acquired from the various WPs in the project, Veg-i-Trade is aiming at a description of quality assurance recommendations on EU and global level, in order to guarantee food safety of produce on agricultural, processing and trading level and setting performance criteria and performance objectives for the fresh produce chain. In this framework, also a global discussion on emerging (not yet well characterized) food safety hazards will be elaborated e.g. new viruses and new mycotoxins, or combinations of existing hazards and previously non-incriminated food products.