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Proceedings and conclusions of "Workshop on Assurance of Quality and Safety in Organic Production Chains" in the EU project "Recommendations for improved procedures for securing consumer oriented food safety and quality of certified organic foods from plough to plate" (Organic HACCP)

Brandt, Dr. Kirsten (Ed.) (2004) Proceedings and conclusions of "Workshop on Assurance of Quality and Safety in Organic Production Chains" in the EU project "Recommendations for improved procedures for securing consumer oriented food safety and quality of certified organic foods from plough to plate" (Organic HACCP). . Proceedings of Workshop on Assurance of Quality and Safety in Organic Production Chains, Hotel Bildungszentrum 21, Basel, Switzerland, 13-14th Janurary 2004. [Unpublished]

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Online at: http://www.organichaccp.org/Upload/OrganicHACCP/Event/5/ProceedingsConclusions.doc

Summary

The purpose of the workshop was dialogue between representatives for major groups of stakeholders and the participants of the project Organic HACCP, a EU-funded concerted action. The method was to present and discuss the intentions, initial work and plans of the project, and adjust the plans for the subsequent work according to the advice received from the workshop participants.
In the original plans for the Organic HACCP project, it was designed according to the general assumptions and conventions normally used in the area of food safety and quality: The assumption was that “the consumers” have a defined, prioritised list of food properties that they demand, so that consumer oriented improvements would simply be to discover this list and fulfil as many of the items on it as possible. The conventions were to focus on things that can go wrong, which risks can be prevented and problems solved, as if assuming that the people involved didn’t care about this unless they were forced.
Through the work before the workshop with the consumer review, and very strongly confirmed and further developed by the discussions and inputs during the workshop, it is now clear that these concepts must be revised and in which direction we need to refocus the work.
The consumer values to focus on are trust and joy. Here trust can be seen as the impression that the producer and all others involved in the chain are sincerely trying to deliver the best products they can at a fair price. Joy is then the pleasure of eating food that tastes good, is convenient, and doesn’t bother the conscience. For the organic production chain trust can e.g. translate into accountability and openness, with regulations that are seen as transparent, logical and enforced. Joy can translate into provision of products with good taste, high nutritional value, low fat content and other aspects of the consumers’ perception of good food. Trust is also involved in relation to the ability to provide good food. Repeated encounters with sub-standard quality, e.g. not so good taste (relative to the expectations, which depend on the price!), will counteract other measures to enhance trust, since this can be seen as indicating that the food providers either don’t care about the consumer or tries to cheat her/him.
For the actual plans for the work in the project, this has the following consequences:
∑ The questionnaire should include more questions on the extent of trust among actors in the organic food chain.
∑ The recommendations resulting from the project should include specific suggestions for how accountability and transparency can be improved in the organic production chain.
∑ Preferably this should be designed to also support the motivation of those involved for doing a good job (by e.g. reducing what appears to be unnecessary paperwork or inspections). It would be counterproductive to impose additional general burdens on the food providers, this would only increase the incentive for cheating, although specific groups may need to be monitored more closely.
∑ These recommendations should be made in close collaboration and dialogue with other groups involved in setting standards and devising regulations, to sort out as many problems as possible at the early stage. This will maximise the chance that the recommended changes will actually be implemented.
∑ The new understanding of the relationship between consumers and producers, which was clearly defined at the meeting, and the general consensus about its desirability among the stakeholder representatives present, are an important and sufficient reason for going ahead with implementation of the proposed changes.


EPrint Type:Proceedings
Keywords:Consumer values, food quality, food safety, fraud, control and regulation, certification, incentives and drivers, stakeholder involvement
Subjects: Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Systems research and participatory research
Food systems > Food security, food quality and human health
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Values, standards and certification
Food systems > Processing, packaging and transportation
Research affiliation: European Union > Organic HACCP
Related Links:http://www.organichaccp.org/OrganicHACCP.asp
Deposited By: Brandt, Dr Kirsten
ID Code:2859
Deposited On:14 Jun 2004
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:29
Document Language:English
Status:Unpublished
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed
Additional Publishing Information:This workshop is the first of two in the EU project "Recommendations for improved procedures for securing consumer oriented food safety and quality of certified organic foods from plough to plate" (Organic HACCP), contract no. QLRT-2002-02245
The second final workshop of the project is 6th January 2005 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. More information about this workshop is available at the project homepage
http://www.organichaccp.org

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