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FOOD SAFETY OF THE SHORT SUPPLY CHAIN - Favv

FOOD SAFETY OF THE SHORT SUPPLY CHAIN - Favv

CONTROL

CONTROL OF THE FOOD SAFETY OF THE SHORT CIRCUITS: THE EXPERIENCE OF THE CELL QUALITY OF FARM PRODUCTS (CQPF) SUPPORTING THE PRODUCERS IN WALLONIA Prof. ir. Marianne Sindic Prof. University of Liège / Gembloux Agro‐Bio Tech E‐mail: marianne.sindic@ulg.ac.be INTRODUCTION In 1993, the European Union, in order to guarantee food hygiene and safety, proposed to standardize food legislations of all Member States. All foodstuffs in free movement in Europe were concerned, regardless their production phase. The Council Directive 93/43/EEC on the hygiene of foodstuffs was adopted, it replaced the analysis on finished products (slowness, sampling, cost) by a more preventive approach. This new approach is based on the application of Good Hygienic Practices and the HACCP principles. Their aim is to reduce potential health risks by identifying hazards and defining critical control points at the different steps of production. Its transposition into Belgian law may create difficulties for many small and medium enterprises because it involves policy and behavior change, and requires a different approach to production. Aware of the potential consequences that this regulation may produce on the viability of these enterprises, the Department of food technology of the Gembloux Agricultural University took the lead and launched in 1995, with the support of the Walloon Region, the French‐Speaking Community and the Federal funds, some projects in order to help artisans and farmers to comply with this legislation. Since 2003, farmers have been obliged to comply with new infrastructure requirements and to implement procedures based on the HACCP principles. Hazard analysis and assessment of associated risk in their own farms require methodological and technical knowledge and investigations that farmers cannot achieve easily. In reaction to this situation that may endanger the survival of many farms, the Gembloux Agro‐Bio Tech offers concrete and practical support in order to adapt the method to the reality of the field. BACKGROUND OF THE CQPF PROJECT With these different projects implemented to support farmers in various aspects such as dairy technology, administrative assistance and implementation of HACCP programs, the Walloon Region wanted to put together the different skills 52

within a common project in order to optimize support to farmers. This led to the creation of the « Cellule Qualité Produits fermiers » (CQPF) in 2006. This project provides a ”one‐stop shop” package of services for farmers who want to diversify their activities by transforming their raw materials. On this basis, this project is addressed to every single actor who works in the field of transformation and valorization of raw materials from the Walloon agriculture. MISSION AND TYPE OF SUPPORT Providing local self‐made products represents a good means to improve the profitability of the farms by increasing the added value of raw materials. In addition, producers consider it as a way to claw back a part of the profit margin that is currently obtained by food processing and distribution industries. The project supports those already in business and those who are considering a diversification activity or retraining. On the other hand, many economic development stakeholders in Wallonia (GAL, ADL, Créa‐Job, ...) also benefit from the expertise acquired by the actors of the CQPF project. The mission of the “Cellule Qualité des Produits fermiers” is defined in a framework convention signed by the Walloon Minister of Agriculture. Which aim is to help producers/processors on the farm to bring the quality of their products into compliance with legal and/or market requirements. Food safety is considered as a priority. The action of the project must allow a “one‐stop shop” approach: in other words to allow the farmer to find in one single place the answers to any type of question: about his diversification activity, or about starting such an activity, or about sustainability/development of such an existing activity. The support to diversification projects is divided in 3 poles of activity: Food safety/hygiene support, provided by the ULg‐GxABT A technological support, provided by CARAH and EPASC An economic support, provided by ACW Saveurs Paysannes, also partner of the CQPF project, conducts special studies related to short marketing circuits. The coordination of the project is provided within the ULg‐GxABT (Laboratory Quality and Safety of Food Products) by Professor Marianne Sindic. The originality of the project lies in the strong interactions between the different expert teams, related to the problems encountered. For example, a hygienic problem on a dairy product can be linked to a lack of technological mastery of the process. The technological team is needed to solve the problem, in addition to the food safety/hygiene team. More generally, the direct or indirect involvement of 53

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