Fields of interest

Guide Self Checking G014

The Guide on Self Checking for traders and processors of fruit, vegetables and potatoes is managed by FVPhouse, the umbrella association of Belgapom (potato trade and processing), Vegebe (trade and processing of industrial vegetables) and Fresh Trade Belgium. The Guide was written with the expertise and support of Ghent University and is officially approved by the Belgian Food Safety Agency. The document is a reference for official checks on food safety and quality.

The Guide is regularly updated, version 5 is availiable on http://www.gidsac.be

Combined audits with BRC and IFS are an option.

Operators with a validated self checking system recieve a bonus of 75% on their annual fee for the Federal Food Safety Agency. A validated system is obligatory for exports to specific markets such as Japan, China, Mexico, Israël, Canada, Vietnam and Brazil.

Trainings and seminars

FVPhouse organises trainings and seminars on a broad range of topics such as international trade (Brexit), food safety (food contact materials, self checking), sustainability (packaging legislation), organic. This year will focus f.i. on the EU Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy and their impact and opportunities for traders and processors of fruit, vegetables and potatoes.

FVPhouse provides several trainings for phytolicence and specifically for members of Fresh Trade Belgium 1/2 day trainings on quality are organized together with Normec.

Members are kept informed on new initiatives.

Imports from third countries

in 2019 the EU changed its policy on imports of fruits and vegetables. New measures were meant to avoid introduction of harmful organisms on the EU territory. The phytosanitary certificate became the general rule (5 exceptions). The automated system IMSOC/ TRACES is used for import checks. Original certificates are kept at the first point of entry. Measures also impact the organization of re-exports.

Fresh Trade Belgium is in contact with federal authorities to limit the impact on logistical processes within the legal framework.

Members can contact the secretariat with questions concerning EU import conditions and restrictions (phytosanitary, Mrl, microbial criteria, contaminants, novel food ...)

Exports to third countries

Fresh Trade Belgium helps operators to identify the export conditions of third countries (phytosanitary requirements, import duties ...) and, in coordination with the auctions and the food safety authority, keeps up to date the registers of exporters authorized to export towards specific markets (self checking and sector procedures).

Fresh Trade Belgium coordinates the sectoral monitoring scheme for the exporters active on the Japanese market. Operators can contact the association for the sector procedure on certified copies.

Brexit: since 2021 the UK has become a third country. FVPhouse kept its members up to date on new rules and arrangements in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. Thanks to the UK - EU trade deal import duties and quota are avoided but formalities and checks by customs and the federal food safety agency remain a fact. From now onwards UK legislation can deviate from the European one. In 2021 the implementation of the trade deal stays on the radar (identification problems and possible solutions or simplifications, changes in arrangements or regulations ...).

Energy contracts

With Hellemans Consultancy, Fresh Trade Belgium helps its members to make correct and beneficial energy contracts. Several members made such contracts and already experience the benefits. Members get regularly the opportunity to affiliate and are updated on the results.

Promotion

Fresh Trade Belgium is member of the sector group fruit and vegetables of Vlam (Flemish Promotion Board) for promotion activities on foreign markets. in 2020 large part of the promotion program has been cancelled because of COVID. A participation at Fruit Logistica Berlin is scheduled for 2021. Participation at other events will depend on the COVID situation. Together with VLAM alternativer promotion activities have been worked out.

Sustainability

After the sector passport on sustainability, FVPhouse launched the project 'Together towards a circular and solidary agrofood chain in the sector of fruit, vegetables and potatoes'. This happened with the support of the Flemish Community. The sectorpassport was updated with the Sustainable Development Goals. 12 pilot companies implemented the vision and objectives at company level. Topics covered: prevention of food loss/ waste, sustainable water use, sustainable production and consumption patterns and social well being.

With the support of Flemish authorities and consultant Sliding Doors, FVPhouse and its participating members started working with the 'Sustatool'. Members benefit from support and professional advice to implement sustainability on the working floor.

Topics requring attention in 2021

Topics needing special attention: follow-up of the COVID measures (seasonal labour, quarantine rules for workers, temporary unemployment), VLAREMA 7 and the ban on fruitstickers (protocol with OVAM), BREXIT (implementation trade deal, organization of checks, possible simpifications), the transposal of the EU directive on unfair trading practices into Belgian legislation (spring 2021), sectorprocedure certified copies (EU harmonization, digitalization), tradings standards and labeling (f.i. origin labeling for pre-packed fresh cut), evolutions in plant protection (Mrl, elimination of active substances), sustainability (plastic packaging)

Individual services

Individual members can contact Fresh Trade Belgium for first degree advices in different domains. The association has an extensive network including contacts with relevant authorities and other organizations. For further information please contact the secretariat, via veerle@fvphouse.be or tel +32.9.339.12.50