Netherlands: “Food safety starts with the grower”

Food safety is getting increasingly relevant on today’s market. This awareness starts at the very beginning: with the grower. Anneke van der Meijs has been head of quality control at FresQ for a while now. It’s her job to watch over things like food safety, the environment and the product’s excellence. To do that she pays regular visits to associated growers.

“There are numerous procedures and protocols in place to safeguard the quality of produce,” she says. “For instance, we have random residue monitoring, each conducted by independent labs. These take place at least three times a year by each individual grower. That way we keep close tabs on our suppliers. Also, growers are obligated to register their cultivation plans, strategy and fertilizing schedules. They can do so online, through our FRIS-system. Then of course, there’s the ample range of certification.”

A fixed part of certification is the Recall Test. This is a tool, checked regularly, to assess to total system of tracking and tracing. “This shows us who supplied what, when and where.”

Jan Hopmans of grower’s organisation 'Van Nature’ also monitors food safety. Alongside the required coordination of certification and quality control, Hopmans keeps an eye on of all authorizations and revocations of pesticides.

“We, as suppliers, just can’t afford to lag behind. We need to be aware of all the safety regulations, the certifications and the use of Maximum Residue Limits. Food safety starts with the grower” ,

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