Overall objectiveThe objective of WP2 is to develop and validate ‘diagnostic instruments’ as tool to assess the performance of Horticultural Safety Management Systems’ (HSMS) of farms/companies in the fresh produce chain, within a European and Global context. Capacity building, with the development of a training program for the use of the HSMS diagnostic instruments, also belongs to the objectives of this work package.
Strategy:The diagnostic instrument must enable a systematic assessment of farm/company-specific horticulture safety management systems (HSMS) at different actors (farm, processing and trade) in the fresh produce chain, independent of the implemented (private) Quality Assurance standards.
It must assess core control measures (e.g. water treatments, pesticide and fungicide use, processing and packaging interventions) and assess assurance activities that are crucial for prevention and reduction of microbial and chemical (natural and man-made) contamination of fresh produce. The instrument must also systematically assess contextual factors (such as characteristics of organisation, chain environment, climatic situation, culture, and inherent cultivation practices which cannot (easily) be changed), but which influence food safety along the fresh produce chain.
The instrument will be developed following a techno-managerial approach. Indicators permitting the diagnosis of core control measures, assurance activities and contextual factors will be selected based on comprehensive literature studies, input from the supply chain organisation (WP 1) and interaction with experts in pre- and post-harvest control measures (WP 4 and 5) and knowledge available regarding the microbial and chemical hazards particularities from experts in risk assessment (WP 6, 7, 8).
Expert evaluation on relevance, validity, and reliability of selected indicators will be performed followed by pilot studies at different horticulture production units to evaluate the validity of diagnostic instruments.
The diagnostic instrument developed at EU level will be tailored for the global context, paying specific attention to food sovereignty concerns. The global context is concretely exemplified by inclusion in the project of non-EU consortium partners Serbia, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt, India, representing distinct areas and situations in the world.