The origin of the food they see is an important criterion for consumers when shopping. The food retail trade also wants to be sure that traceability is guaranteed - especially when it comes to crisis management. A check of 47 fruit and vegetable products with the QS test mark has shown that traceability back to the producer is clear and quick.
Can product samples bearing the QS test mark be traced back to the producer without any gaps? Finding this out was the task of an international check carried out by the QS inspection system in recent months. The samples -including strawberries, blueberries and fresh salads from Germany and abroad- were taken at 25 food retail outlets in Germany. A total of 122 companies were involved throughout the supply chain. As a rule, three to four marketing stages were involved. The identity and traceability of each of the 47 samples could be clearly documented.
Complete and fast feedback
On the basis of the checks, potential improvements in the implementation of the QA requirements in practice could also be identified and reported back to those involved. This included, for example, an insufficient allocation of the delivery note or the incomplete recording of the measures carried out in the production process. All the companies inquired about were able to provide feedback on the selected products within the time span of a few hours specified by QS. But here, too, there is potential for improvement.
Additional analyses confirm data from production
Residue analyses have also been carried out on the samples taken to check compliance with the MRLs. Isotopic analyses were carried out on some of the samples. They enable the identity of the producer holding to be verified and the country of origin to be determined with certainty.
32.5 percent of the samples were completely free of active substances, in all other cases the values remained below the permissible limit values. The isotope analyses were able to verify the respective declared country of origin.
Cross-level system as unique selling point
Fresh fruit and vegetables can only bear the QS quality mark if only QS system partners are involved in their production, processing and marketing. They must adhere to the strict quality and safety requirements of the QS network. QS Managing Director, Dr. Hermann-Josef Nienhoff: "The traceability checks have shown that our standard can clearly prove a documented, correct identity and the traceability of the products. These are elementary components of our credibility and prerequisite for a fast and reliable reaction in case of crises and incidents".