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FOOD SAFETY OF THE SHORT SUPPLY CHAIN - Favv

FOOD SAFETY OF THE SHORT SUPPLY CHAIN - Favv

Short food supply chain

Short food supply chain selling farms are mostly small scaled with a very limited number of people employed (family members). Rather seldom external people are employed in the product manufacturing ↔ selling activity. TYPES OF SHORT FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN SELLING FARMS Farms selling primary crop products: fruit, vegetables, raw milk; Farms selling manufactured dairy products: desserts, ice‐cream, cheese, …; Farms selling meat products: sealed meat, farms with own butchery; Farms selling manufactured crop products; A lot of farms combine several types of products. FOOD SAFETY IN THE SHORT CHAIN SELLING ACTIVITY ON FARMS Food safety is linked to the type of product. Meat and dairy products are more sensitive products than primary products. Therefore the possible food safety risks are not similar on all the short food supply chain selling farms. Farms selling primary crop products: fruit, vegetables, raw milk The production of primary products in Belgium/Flanders is regulated by the Federal Food Law and more and above by quality guides the farmers (IKM, vegaplan, …) have to comply with in order to deliver their products to the milk cooperation, the auction market or wholesalers. Most of the farms sell only a limited percentage of their production directly through short chain food supply means. Therefore the primary products sold through the short chain comply with all the quality and food safety regulations as the products sold through the regular chain. The production of manufactured products in Belgium/Flanders is also regulated by the Federal Food Law. Small farm businesses have to comply to the same regulations as large food industries. Only on a administrative level they can profit from some facilitations. The Steunpunt Hoeveproducten organizes on a frequently basis courses on ‘Hygiene and autocontrole (self‐checking)’ were the participants learn about food hygiene, the risks on food manufacturing, risk analysis and risk reduction. In collaboration with the ILVO (TAD zuivel) and the KHK, the Steunpunt Hoeveproducten advises farmers on regulations and help them in case of problems. The Steunpunt Hoeveproducten underwrites the importance of a self‐ checking plan and quality manual. 22

The Steunpunt Hoeveproducten also encourages the half yearly bacteriological control of the farm manufactured products (organization of the half yearly lab analyses). The bacteriological lab analyze results tend to be very positive for the farmers/manufacturers of food products. Example for dairy products Exceedance of enterobacteria: in ice cream, yoghurt and chocolate mousse Exceedance of E. coli: in butter and buttermilk Exceedance of coagulase + staphylococci: in cheese Exceedance of Listeria: in cheese Some farmers produce dairy products based on raw milk. This could mean a higher risk for public health but bacteriological lab analysis do not show significantly this higher risk factor. POSSIBLE CONSTRAINTS REGARDING FOOD HYGIENE AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE SHORT FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN Small scale: primary production/manufacturing/selling are happening in 1 location so there could be a higher risk of cross contamination. This potentially higher risk is countered by the fact that the business is run by 1 or maximum 2 persons, the limited volume of food product and the short storage time of the products; Artisanal products: farm manufactured products are often produced following ‘old recipes’ with respect for traditions and good taste; Investment capacity: second hand material, half automated machines; Use of well water: a certain number of farms (10 – 15 % have no access to tap water); 23

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