German inspectors harmonize standards for fruit and veg

The Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) started a new series of seminars on the harmonization of quality control. The seminars are aimed at federal state inspectors who inspect fruit and vegetables in the wholesale and retail trade.

The first of the six seminars took place in the historical organic education center in Papenburg at the end of April 2016. The 25 participants dealt here with the product standards of produce such as strawberries and lambs’ lettuce.

For an expert application of the standards, good working knowledge is important, from cultivation to preparation. However, knowledge of the practical application of the standard remains essential.

The participants could not only give their own judgement during the evaluation of the samples, but also compare their judgement with that of their colleagues. This comparison is important for harmonization of the application of standards in the whole of Germany.

The evaluation of the samples always led to lively discussions. Many samples rated as class II instead of the designated Class I, elicited comment such as: "If at least this quality could be found in retail!" Not only the standards were part of the seminars, the procedure for control and sampling were discussed too.

The program ended with an excursion to several Papenburg farms. A producer of herbs presented the entire process of herb cultivation, from sowing to harvesting with its challenges, and discussed the impact of the new consumer trend of shopping regionally. And on a new cucumber-producing farm, the conventional production methods are compared with new experimental methods. The producer developed new ideas to increase the production in terms of quality, yield and economic efficiency.

Five Albanian colleagues used their participation in the seminar to get closer and practical acquaintance with the European rules and regulation. This knowledge will be very practical when the EU rules and when regulation and an inspection for food is introduced in Albania.

For more information:

Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE)
Deichmanns Aue 29
53179 Bonn
Phone: 0228 6845-0

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