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Quality programmes go international

by 5m Editor
24 November 2005, at 12:00am

THE NETHERLANDS - Europe is working hard to introduce international quality programmes such as EurepGAP. The Dutch meat industry already amply meets the requirements with the Dutch quality assurance system IKB.

Quality programmes go international - THE NETHERLANDS - Europe is working hard to introduce international quality programmes such as EurepGAP. The Dutch meat industry already amply meets the requirements with the Dutch quality assurance system IKB.

Europe has been working on international quality systems for years now. European countries are increasingly entering into cooperation agreements regarding national quality systems. The systems are compared and certified equivalent: either in their entirety of parts thereof. The Dutch quality assurance system IKB is a perfect candidate for this, making it easier for participants to supply products to foreign customers.

As the market becomes more international, it seems a logical step to harmonise quality assurance programmes. Harmonisation of the various systems is necessary in order to be able to see the wood for the trees in the veritable forest of quality labels around, but also to lower production costs. Harmonisation leads to fewer inspections, and hence lower inspection costs. Producers and farmers also spend less time preparing for and accompanying inspections. One important stipulation, however, is that all systems should have the bar raised to bring them on a par with the quality standards of IKB. Only then will there be less chance of food safety scares occurring.

Dutch supermarkets have now agreed, as from 1 January 2007, to buy only fresh pigmeat and poultry meat that has been produced in compliance with EurepGAP requirements. As from 1 January 2008 this will also apply to fresh beef and to meat used for further processing. The requirements for IKB are at least equivalent to those for EurepGAP. In addition, EurepGAP contains environmental and workers’ health, safety and welfare requirements that are already adequately provided for by Dutch law. It will therefore be easy for the Dutch IKB system to be formally pronounced equivalent to EurepGAP.

If the food trade – in the EU to kick off with – keeps its promises, this means that there would be a level playing field in Europe. Producers outside the EU would then also have to comply with EurepGAP standards in the areas of quality, food safety, animal welfare, the environment and workers’ health, safety and welfare. And that is by no means always the case at the moment.

Source: Dutch Meat Board - 24th November 2005

5m Editor