AW-ACTUA Minister approves new Hygiene Code In the potato store belonging to Ben van Vliet, a crop farmer in Zuid Beijerland [NL], the Dutch Agriculture Minister Cees Veerman recently approved the first official Hygiene Code: Manual for Food Safety Certificate for Arable Crops [Handboek Voedselveiligheidscer tificaat Akkerbouw (VVAK)]. A hygiene code is an instrument for and from the sector, which provides a practical context for the new European hygiene directives. As all partners in the chain were included in the consultations, the VVAK is supported and accepted by all the buyers. At shooting distance from his own farm, the Minister emphasised in his speech that the Hygiene Code had not been devised by Dutch or European bureaucrats who had never seen the inside of a cowshed in their lives. “No, it was drafted by the sector itself and it is therefore based on farm practice, not on the fantasies of academics.” Moreover, the Minister is happy that the entire chain was involved in this project. “That is one of the things I keep hammering at, the importance of cooperation within the chain. It is a matter of life and death for the survival of a vigorous, primary agricultural sector in the Netherlands.” Veerman went on to explain that the new regulations are a combination of 26 other regulations. “Talk about cutting back on regulations! Other sectors could learn something from us.” Go-ahead after positive advice Furthermore, Veerman emphasised that the regulation forms a perfect link with a withdrawing government. In his opinion this means that the Ministry should not devise all kinds of rules and regulations from the top down, but that the branch of industry itself should take the initiative to give meaning to the open standards of the law – or the EU Hygiene Directive. And with it the space to take proper steps. The Dutch Food Safety Certificate for Arable Crops is supported and accepted by all the buyers. Agricultural Minister Cees Veerman presents the VVAK certificate to Ben van Vliet. “Anyway, this does not mean that the gloves are off and everybody can start doing his own thing. Hygiene Codes will certainly be tested. Only after a positive advice will the Minister give the go-ahead. If you want to give it a twist, you could call it a forerunner of ‘supervision of inspection’. Food safety assurance will always be the task of the government, at least in the view of the people”, said the Minister. Voluntary hygiene codes, such as those in agriculture, make things much more simple for the monitoring authorities, according to Veerman. At least it has now been put down in black and white how the sector provides content to the open standards of the law; and the monitoring organisations may well accept that the participating businesses are working in accordance with the Code and consequently complying with regulations. The results: more efficient monitoring and much less fuss for the entrepreneur. 250 crop growers certified Besides Ben van Vliet, another 250 crop growers are VVAK-certified. In addition to the VVAK certificate, the former food safety certificate will continue to remain in force. Growers will be able to opt for either certificate, depending on their own situation. The costs of certification have not changed either. The basic certificate costs € 147,50 plus a surcharge of € 27,50 per crop. An advantage of the VVAK is that there is less paperwork to be done for the various crops. ● 8 Potatoworld 2006 Pagina 7

Pagina 9

Heeft u een weekblad, zmags of enieuwsbrieven? Gebruik Online Touch: archief online bladerbaar publiceren.

Potatoworld 2006/1 Lees publicatie 10Home

You need flash player to view this online publication