Conference Maps out the Way Forward for the Continuing Globalization of the EurepGAP Standard
In a highly participative approach future proposals for the standard for the 2007 version were discussed at roundtables and a wide range of minuted suggestions were made which will now be taken forward for further evaluation in the Technical and Standards Committee.
In a plenary session EurepGAP Secretary Kristian Moeller outlined the Board’s plans to respond to our members requests to see EurepGAP operate as a truly harmonised and globally relevant Good Agricultural Practice standard. These included additional measures to support the international application of the standard by working more closely with accreditation and certification bodies.
At the end of the Conference Nigel Garbutt, Chairman, said “We set out to openly consult with our members and wider stakeholders about the revised protocol and to share our plans in a transparent way for the future operation of the standard. I believe we have succeeded in those objectives and we look forward to continuing along the journey towards global harmonisation with all our members, stakeholders and partners both present and future.”
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The Global Partnership for Safe and Sustainable Agriculture
The EurepGAP standard is primarily designed to maintain consumer confidence in food quality and food safety. Other important goals are to minimize detrimental environmental impacts of farming operations, optimize the use of inputs and to ensure a responsible approach to worker health and safety.
EurepGAP members include retailers, producers/farmers and associate members from the input and service side of agriculture. Governance is by a Board which is chaired by an independent Chairperson. The Board also agrees on the activity plan of the organisation. Sector Committees discuss and decide upon product and sector specific issues. All committees have 50% retailer and 50% producer/supplier representation and hereby creating an efficient partnership. The work of the Committees is supported by FoodPLUS, a not for profit limited company based in Cologne, Germany, fulfilling a secretariat function for EurepGAP.
EurepGAP started in 1997 as an initiative by retailers belonging to the Euro-Retailer Produce Working Group (EUREP). British retailers in conjunction with supermarkets in continental Europe were the driving forces. They reacted on growing concerns by the consumers with product safety, environmental and labor standards and decided to take more responsibility for what happened in the supply chain. On the other side the development of common certification standards were also in the interest of many producers. Those with contractual relations to several retailers complained that they had to undergo multiple audits against different criteria every year. On this background EUREP started to work on harmonized standards and procedures for the development of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in conventional agriculture.
EurepGAP is one of the very few globally operating standardisation organizations that enjoy a high level of political and financial independence from the public sector as well as from individual member influence and shareholder agendas.
To keep its independence EurepGAP does not conduct the certification process itself. Farmers or farmer groups can only be certified against the EurepGAP criteria by authorized Certification Bodies.A EurepGAP Certification Body is a company fulfilling the requirements for approved EurepGAP CBs to grant EurepGAP certification in the relevant product scope. Currently EurepGAP is working with over 100 CBs in more than 70 countries.
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