Development of strategies to improve quality and safety and reduce costs along the food supply chain
Structures, conduct and performance of supply chains for organic food are thought to vary significantly between European countries and regions. Major differences are though to exist with respect to (i) the length of the supply chain, (ii) its infrastructure, (iii) market relevance and (iv) degree of co-operation and (v) integration among supply chain components (producers, processors, traders/retailers, certification bodies). Also, while in some European countries (e.g. UK, Austria) the organic supply chains are mainly based upon already existing conventional infrastructures, other countries (e.g. Germany, Netherlands) have built up significant new and independent supply chain infrastructures for organic food. These factors may affect supply chain associated costs and product quality and safety.
However, there are few studies describing the structures, conduct and performance of organic food supply chains in Europe and virtually no publicly available information on the effect of supply chain structures on food quality and safety and costs to the consumer.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) based Quality Assurance (QA) systems are well established and widely used in conventional primary production, processing, packing, transport and retailing components of food chains supplying through the major multiple retailers. The main objective of current HACCP systems is to ensure product safety and compliance with visual and size and labelling specifications and to maintain trace ability. However, they are thought to be less well developed and implemented in organic food supply chains, and are almost never used in short local (e.g. direct sales, box scheme or farm shop) supply chains and regional (e.g. farmers market) supply chains.
Although many CCPs are shared between organic and conventional production systems it is thought that HACCP systems for organic production and processing systems need to be adapted to address:
- Differences in production and processing methods (those developed under subprojects 2, 3, 4 and 5)
- Differences in supply chain structures, conduct and performance and
- Specific consumers demands for quality assurance with respect to nutritional benefits of foods and wider societal needs (e.g. sustainability, environmental protection and animal welfare) (to be identified under subproject 1).
It is therefore necessary to develop specific HACCP protocol, manuals and training schemes for organic food production and processing systems, which are currently not available.
This will be achieved through two main workpackages:
Workpackage 6.1 will be an analysis of structures, conduct and performance of supply chains for organic foods in Europe
Workpackage 6.2 will develop HACCP protocol, manuals and training schemes for organic food production and processing systems