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GLOBALG.A.P. enters the future of farm certification

At its Amsterdam summit on September 27, GLOBALG.A.P. celebrated 20 years of global partnership and set the course for the future of farm certification

The GLOBALGAP biannual summit took place in Amsterdam September 27-28, attracting 400 delegates from 57 countries.

The event was an opportunity to look back on what has been achieved so far and set the course for the challenges that lie ahead due to the digital transformation of the agribusiness and food sector, and the need for more transparency for consumers and governments, the organisation said in a press release.

First product with consumer label on German retail shelves

With its rainbow trout by the brand Sea Pride, the specialist food trader Clama presented the first product in the German market with the new GGN.ORG consumer label, which is listed in the web site http://ggn.org/en/.

The label includes the GGN (the unique GLOBALG.A.P. number), which consumers can use on the site to learn about the farm of origin of the frozen trout through an individual farm profile.

Clama CEO Martin Hofstede was one of the initial supporters of the idea with GLOBALG.A.P. “Today the majority of consumers expect a product to meet high social, environmental and ethical standards, even for the mass market.”

“The GLOBALG.A.P. standard is undisputed in the B2B area and in this respect a GGN label is logical and very welcome in communicating this quality to the consumer,” he said at the SEG 2016 in Brussels.

Consumers can now buy the first products from aquaculture with GGN just 4 months after the initial presentation of the concept in Brussels. This is good news on the path towards more transparency and sustainability in aquaculture.

Adoption of greenfence platform technology

GLOBALG.A.P. announced the introduction of the novel platform technology, and greenfence representatives explained to delegates how their platform adds efficiencies and value for farmers, improves transparency and data access for buyers throughout the food supply chain, and benefits certification bodies during GLOBALG.A.P. audits.

This move revolutionises GLOBALG.A.P.’s ability to offer services around farm assurance and certification that will add efficiencies and value for farmers, and improve transparency and data access for buyers throughout the food supply chain.

Support Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations

GLOBALG.A.P. already incorporates a number of practices in line with the SDGs.

On September 26, the GLOBALG.A.P. Board decided to formally visualise its current alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.

Contributing to the SDGs is a collaborative effort, which is also part of GLOBALG.A.P.’s principles, and working towards GLOBALG.A.P. certification is already an important milestone towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

For the first time, all summit delegates had the opportunity to offset the carbon footprint of their journey to the summit with carbon credits sponsored by the Gold Standard.

“As a global organisation, GLOBALG.A.P. is aware of the impact of all our activities and thank the Gold Standard for this collaboration,” GLOBALG.A.P. CEO Kristian Moeller said on the eve of the summit.

Young academics awarded for research efforts

GLOBALG.A.P. invited young researchers to submit original and/or relevant research pieces on subjects related to Good Agricultural Practices for presentation in the form of a poster at the 2016 GLOBALG.A.P. Summit.

A total of 37 abstracts were submitted from 26 universities in 21 countries around the world, underlining the truly global reach of the GLOBALG.A.P. Young Academics Award.

The winning piece, “Assessment of irrigation water quality and microbiological safety of leafy greens at GLOBALG.A.P. and non-GLOBAL.G.A.P. certified production systems,” was submitted by Gape Jongman from the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

As the finalist, Jongman was invited to the summit, where he was able to present his research.

GLOBALG.A.P. Good Agricultural Practice awards

The G.A.P. Awards recognise producers who have achieved outstanding results through their commitment to GLOBALG.A.P. principles.

This year´s awards went to:

  • Ranadi Plantation Partnership from Fiji,
  • Varcli Pinares S.A. from Costa Rica,
  • Muviwapasi Association c/o Africado Ltd. from Tanzania,
  • Goshogawara Agricultural and Forestry High School from Japan.

GLOBALG.A.P.’s Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Richard Yudin, Fyffes plc, and Willem Hofmans, Ahold Delhaize, for their unceasing efforts in the area of Good Agricultural Practices in the past decades.

The National Technical Working Group Award went to the Netherlands for their efforts to help adopt GLOBALG.A.P.’s universal standard on a local scale.

 

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IFS to launch specific standard for fresh fruit & veg

“This future standard is to become the one applied for fruit and vegetables, since IFS was created for food processing companies in general,” said IFS CEO Stephan Tromp

A new protocol has just been released to carry out unannounced IFS audits, besides carrying out certification audits, in order to check on the continuous compliance of individual certified companies with the standards.

By the summer of 2016 the release of a new, specific standard for wholesalers and fruit and vegetable packing companies is also planned.

“This future standard is to become the one applied for fruit and vegetables, since IFS was created for food processing companies in general,” said IFS CEO Stephan Tromp.

IFS is also working on wide-ranging guidelines for pest control management.

“This is a huge subject and different approaches and methods exist on pest-control, but we want to respond to the new EU legislation,” he said.

Furthermore, IFS is working on a new protocol to be published on unannounced food checks made by IFS itself on foreign certification bodies.

More than 1,000 audits are conducted every year, leading to the conclusion that 95% of the auditors work properly and 5% are failing for one of three reasons: hygiene (HACCP standards), foreign body management or pest control.
 

This article first appeared in edition 143 (May/June 2016) of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read more from that issue here: www.eurofresh-distribution.com/magazine/143-2016-mayjune

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G.A.P. awards 2016 – calling all producers!

The G.A.P. Awards honour GLOBALG.A.P. certified producers who have achieved outstanding results through their commitment to GLOBALG.A.P. principles and the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices.

Announcing the fourth edition of the GLOBALG.A.P. Good Agricultural Practices Award.

Initiated in 2012, the G.A.P. Awards honour GLOBALG.A.P. certified producers who have achieved outstanding results through their commitment to GLOBALG.A.P. principles and the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices. It also offers GLOBALG.A.P. certified farmers an excellent opportunity to showcase their achievements and gain worldwide industry recognition for their efforts.

The G.A.P. Awards 2016 will focus on the following three categories:

1.     Talent for Agriculture, Women and Youth

2.     Water Management

3.     Integration of Smallholders

which will be assessed on the following criteria:

•       Traceability – IT/Transparency Usage

•       Push for Partnerships/Co-operations (public, private, etc.)

•       Innovative Practices/Technologies

•       Economic Aspect/Created Value

•       Passion and Powerful Story

The G.A.P. Awards 2016 is open to all GLOBALG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance Standard certified farmers and farmer groups, as well as any programs involving one or more certified farmers.

All the winners will receive:

•       A ticket to the GLOBALG.A.P. SUMMIT 2016 in Amsterdam, including travel and accommodation costs for one person

•       A G.A.P. Awards 2016 Trophy

•       A G.A.P. Awards 2016 Winner Certificate

•       A G.A.P. Awards 2016 Winners Seal for their communication, emails, website

Deadline: 30 June 2016.  

For application criteria and information, go to www.globalgap.org/gapawards2016

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More loose grapes allowed under mooted marketing standard change

Up to 12% of fresh tables grape in class I and class II sales packages could be loose under changes being considered to the relevant international quality standard.

Up to 12% of fresh tables grape in class I and class II sales packages could be loose under changes being considered to the relevant international quality standard.

Consultation is now open on the proposed changes until June 30, according to a document published in the wake of last week’s meeting of the Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards Specialized Section on Standardization of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables, part of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

A separate proposal document published before the meeting said loose grape berries occur “due to a treatment with growth regulators or due to over ripeness.”

“A few loose berries, i.e. berries detached from the bunch/cluster may be allowed (on marketing stages following dispatch), provided the loose berries are sound and intact. In order to define the tolerances for loose berries, the following paragraphs are proposed to be added to the tolerances of classes I and II…,” it said.

The proposal for class I was a maximum of 5%, by number or weight, of loose berries, and 10% for class II. But in the document published after the meeting, a maximum of 12% for both classes is proposed.

The changes would be made to the UNECE Standard for Table grapes – FFV-19 (2010). UNECE says such standards facilitate trade, providing traders and inspectors with a reliable reference standard. By referencing the UNECE standard in contracts, traders can be assured the products they order live up to the specified quality and sizing criteria in the standards, it says.

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SAN and GLOBALG.A.P. together to reduce audit costs

SAN

SAN and GLOBALG.A.P. have been working since 2015 to identify commonalities and differences between the GLOBALG.A.P. and SAN Standard.

SAN is the standard upon which Rainforest Alliance Certification is based. These tools will include combined checklists, which will enable farms to be evaluated against both SAN and GLOBALG.A.P. audits at the same time.

A single auditor may be used as long as the certification body is approved by both organisations. Although the audit process would be combined, the issuance of certificates will remain independent.

The Executive Director of SAN, Andre de Freitas, stated “we are pleased that this new collaboration will make it quicker, cheaper and easier for SAN/ RA certified producers who choose to add GLOBALG.A.P. Certification. SAN is committed to finding such ways for producer organisations to benefit from new market opportunities arising from the increased demand for certified products. This is a good example of standards coming together and collaborating to put the needs of farmers first.”

“We are proud to deliver our promise made not even a year ago to push forward for more collaboration,” said GLOBALG.A.P. CEO Kristian Moeller. 

“Combining audits of standard owners that build fruitful relationships is a major building block for the future of certification.” Technical teams from both organizations conducted an intensive comparison between the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) and GLOBALG.A.P. Standards.

The results show that approximately one third of the requirements of each standard focus on similar topics. These include: record keeping, trainings, occupational health and safety, housing and waste management.

By highlighting any overlap tools can assist farmers who have already achieved either GLOBALG.A.P. or SAN Certification to obtain both certifications. In addition to having developed certification schemes to promote sustainable agriculture, the SAN/Rainforest Alliance and GLOBALG.A.P. also share a commitment to the continuous improvement of life in rural communities around the world. 

PE

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Changes proposed to fruit, veg standards

The Specialized Section on Standardization of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables is to consider changes to standards for truffles, garlic, headed cabbage, table grapes, annonas (soursop), sweet peppers, tomatoes, leeks, citrus, apples, aubergines.

Food waste related to the use of standards is among the topics up for discussion at a UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) meeting in Geneva starting on Monday April 18.

Traceability and quality tolerances in marketing standards are also on the provisional agenda for the meeting of the Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards Specialized Section on Standardization of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables.

And also to be debated are revisions of UNECE standards for the following:

  • Truffles
  • Garlic
  • Headed Cabbage
  • Table Grapes
  • Annonas (Soursop)
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Leeks
  • Citrus fruit
  • Apples
  • Aubergines

According to the meeting agenda, the Specialized Section may also consider other standards, including:

  • Proposal by Brazil to amend the UNECE Standard for Fresh Figs,
  • Proposal by Germany to confirm or amend the UNECE Standard for Chicory,
  • Proposal by Spain to confirm or amend the UNECE Standard for Avocados.

Source of apple image: www.pexels.com

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Popularity of baby avocados poses export challenge

Many Spanish companies are now trading in mini avocados - aka babycados - due to demand from other markets but Spain says the current avocado trade standard poses a problem.

Amid a boom in demand for the baby version, Spain is calling for a change to the trade standard for avocados.

It says many Spanish companies are now trading in mini avocados – aka babycados – due to demand for them in other markets. However, Spain has had problems applying the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) standard for avocados to them. That’s because while these kinds of avocados are of good quality, they don’t comply with the standard’s sizing provisions, it said.

In a submission dated March 10, a Spanish delegation proposes that the avocado standard be amended so that its size requirements do not apply to miniature produce. It made the submission in the lead up to the 64th session of the Specialized Section on Standardization of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables of the UNECE Steering Committee on Trade Capacity and Standards, being held in Geneva April 18-21. 

UK premium retailer Marks and Spencer announced in January that it is now stocking mini Hass avocados, half the size of the regular avocado. Grown near Malaga, Spain, they will be on shelves from January-April and sold in packs of five for £2. M&S says the flavour is more concentrated in the smaller avocados, which are “rich, sweet and creamy.” It also reported that last year it sold more than 11.5 million units of avocados, up 18% on 2014.

Fellow UK retailer Waitrose also offers baby avocados. According to its website, the origins for the product are the US, Tanzania, Spain (incl. the Canary & Balearic Is.), South Africa, Peru, Morocco, Kenya, Israel, Colombia, Chile and Brazil.

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Limit proposed for lead in mushrooms

The EWG recommends that the Committee consider establishing an ML for lead in fungi and mushrooms (excluding dried fungi and mushroom and fungus products) of 0.3 mg/kg.

The maximum level (ML) for lead in fresh mushrooms would be set at 0.3 mg/kg under a recommendation to a FAO WHO Codex Alimentarius committee.

An electronic working group established by the Committee on Contaminants in Foods advises considering that limit in its report on proposed draft revisions of MLs for lead in various food products, including fruit juices and canned fruits and vegetables.

In its report, released in February, the group referred to analysis of a dataset comprised of about 600 samples of fresh fungi and mushrooms from 11 countries.

“For fresh fungi and mushrooms, 99 percent of the samples in the 2016 dataset may meet a hypothetical ML of 0.5 mg/kg, 97 percent of samples may meet a hypothetical ML of 0.4 or 0.3 mg/kg, and 92 percent of samples may meet a hypothetical ML of 0.2 mg/kg. Thus, lowering the ML to the hypothetical level of 0.3 mg/kg would eliminate 3 percent of the samples in international trade and lowering the ML to the hypothetical level of 0.2 mg/kg would eliminate 8 percent of the samples in international trade. The EWG recommends that the Committee consider establishing an ML for lead in fungi and mushrooms (excluding dried fungi and mushroom and fungus products) of 0.3 mg/kg,” it said.

The current version of the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed excludes fungi and mushrooms from the 0.05 mg/kg standard for lead in fruiting vegetables.

The next session of the Committee on Contaminants in Foods is to be held in Rotterdam this April 4-8.

Source: PROPOSED DRAFT REVISION OF MAXIMUM LEVELS FOR LEAD IN SELECTED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES (FRESH AND PROCESSED) IN THE GENERAL STANDARD FOR CONTAMINANTS AND TOXINS IN FOOD AND FEED (CODEX STAN 193-1995)

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New standard for prospering persimmon trade

International trade in the persimmon, also known as kaki fruit, will be enhanced with the adoption by UNECE in 2015 of the first international quality standard for this fruit.

The first international quality standard for the persimmon, also known as kaki fruit, was adopted in November by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Having a standard for the fruit will make trade easier, open opportunities for exporter countries and offer farmers, traders and inspectors a reliable reference standard, UNECE said in a press release. By referencing the UNECE standard in contracts, traders can be assured the products they order live up to the specified quality and sizing criteria outlined in the standards, it said.

The new persimmon standard, for which preparatory work was initiated by Tajikistan, outlines quality requirements for the products at the export-control stage, after preparation and packaging. These requirements include provisions concerning:

  • quality (such as requirements of the product to be intact, sound and clean, and practically free from pests, etc.),
  • sizing,
  • tolerances for defects,
  • presentation (such as packaging specifications),
  • and marking.

The name ‘persimmon’ is derived from ‘putchamin’, used by the American Indians of the Algonquian tribe for the North American varieties. Persimmons are reportedly high in beta carotene and minerals and are a typical autumn fruit.

They are primarily grown in Asia – with China, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Azerbaijan accounting for 95% of the 4.6 million tons produced globally in 2013, according to FAO data. UNECE said.

Until recently, persimmons were relatively little known in Europe but in the past years, trade in them has increased drastically, with Spain emerging as one of the largest exporting countries following the application of new post-harvest techniques allowing for the fruit to be transported longer distances. Today consumers can find persimmons worldwide and in many varieties.

Excerpts from the 2015 UNECE persimmon standard:

A. Minimum requirements

In all classes, subject to the special provisions for each class and the tolerances allowed, the persimmons must be:
• Intact, with the calyx attached, which may be with or without peduncle and dry and brown
• Sound; produce affected by rotting or deterioration, such as to make it unfit for consumption, is excluded
• Clean, practically free of any visible foreign matter
• Practically free from pests
• Free from damage caused by pests affecting the flesh
• Free of abnormal external moisture
• Free of any foreign smell and/or taste.

The development and condition of the persimmons must be such as to enable them:
• To withstand transportation and handling
• To arrive in satisfactory condition at the place of destination.

B. Maturity requirements

The persimmons must be sufficiently developed, and display satisfactory ripeness. The development and state of maturity of the persimmons must be such as to enable them to continue their ripening process and to reach the degree of ripeness required in relation to the varietal characteristics.
At least the lower 1/3 of the fruit should be yellow or the colour of the fruit should be turning.

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Smoked garlic a sticking point for Codex garlic standard

The US has argued that smoked garlic is a processed commodity and should not be included in the fresh garlic standard being developed within the framework of the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV).

Smoked garlic is a processed commodity and should not be included in the fresh garlic standard being developed within the framework of the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV). That was the position taken by the US at the committee’s 19th Session, held October 5-9 in Mexico.

A report on the meeting published by the USDA says that during discussion on the proposed draft standard for garlic, most issues were resolved except for the inclusion of “smoked” dried garlic. “Some delegations supported the U.S. position in expressing concern that certain smoking practices may alter the taste and/or appearance of this raw agricultural commodity,” the US delegate said in the report.

“The United States is on record for expressing concerns that smoked garlic may be outside the scope of the CODEX CCFFV terms of reference, which clearly state: ‘to elaborate standards for fresh fruits and vegetables.’ Since smoked garlic should be considered ‘processed,’ it should be referred to the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV) for further discussion.”

In regard to other issues discussed at the meeting, the delegate reported the following:

Proposed Draft Standard for Kiwifruit: The Committee discussed the draft standard and agreed to exclude Actinidia species such as the A. arguta (kiwiberry) from the standard. The standard was aligned with the approved sections of the revised CCFFV standard layout. There was lack of consensus on size-based classes; i.e. the inclusion of different minimum sizes (diameters) per class along with the minimum maturity requirements. The draft standard was advanced to Step 5 for continued elaboration.

​Actinidia-arguta, commonly called kiwiberries

Proposed Draft Standard for Ware Potatoes: Differing view/positions on several provisions of this proposed draft standard such as sprouting, green coloration, presence of rot and allowance for the presence of soil were not resolved at this session. Therefore the CCFFV agreed to return the proposed draft standard to a working group, led by India, at Step 3 for further revision and consideration at its next session.

Proposals for New Work: The Committee considered proposals for the elaboration of new Codex Standards for fresh dates (India), shallots (Indonesia) and yams (Costa Rica). The proposal from India was approved as new work by the CCFFV, subject to CAC approval, while those from Indonesia and Costa Rica were returned for redrafting and submission at the 20th CCFFV session.

Proposed Draft Standard for Aubergines/Eggplant: The Committee made changes to this draft standard based on the product’s characteristics and trade practices to harmonize with an international interpretation. The Committee agreed to forward the draft standard to the 39th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) in June 2016 for adoption at Step 5/8. The U.S. delegation was instrumental in ensuring that this standard harmonized with the revised CCFFV Standard Layout to better reflect global trade and regulatory practices.

The full report, including discussion of the Proposed Revised Layout for Codex Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Standards, can be read online at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/us-codex-alimentarius/recent-delegation-reports/2015/delegate-report-19-ccffv

The 20th CCFFV Session is tentatively scheduled in 18 months.

Read other reports by Eurofresh Distribution on the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV) here.

Image sources:

  • Smoked garlic: by Jeremy Keith from Brighton & Hove, United Kingdom (Smoked garlic  Uploaded by Fæ) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via
    CommonsWikimedia
  • “Actinidia-arguta”: by Hiperpinguino – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons