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 has been approved in 2019 and available on http://www.gidsac.be
A benchmark between Self Checking and IFS, BRC, HACCP, ISO 22000, Comeos Food for SME, IFS & BRC Logistics gives operators the opportunity to combine different audits.
Operators with a validated self checking system obtain 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). The seminar of this years General Assembly put the focus on water policy in Belgium and the impact on production and availability of fruits, vegetables and potatoes. Each year FVPhouse provides several trainings for phytolicence and specifically for members of Fresh Trade Belgium 1/2 day trainings are organized together with N&S on product knowledge of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Members are kept informed on new initiatives.
Imports from third countries
2019 was a crucial year for the imports of fruit and vegetables from third countries. The European policy changed significantly: since September 2019 new measures are applicable to prevent the introduction of harmful organisms in the EU (f.i. non European fruit fly and imports of mango) and the use of the phytosanitary certificate is extended to 6 more fruits (kiwi, strawberry, papaya, avocado, grapes, blackberry/ raspberry/ cranberry). Since the 14th of December 2019 the phytosanitary certificate has become the general rule with very few exceptions. Import checks in the entire EU have to be coordinated via IMSOC (TRACES).
Fresh Trade Belgium closely follows the developments, informs its membership and tackles problems and questions with the Federal Food Safety Agency. The goal is to limit impact on trade flow as much as possible within the legal framework.
Members can always contact the secretariat with questions concerning EU import conditions and restrictions (phytosanitary, Mrl, microbial criteria, contaminants, novel food ...)
With the support of the Brussels region Fresh Trade Belgium also does price cotations of sensitive fruit and vegetable products from third countries, in line with EU Regulation 543/2011.
Exports to third countries
Via Unizo (Association for SME's) Fresh Trade Belgium participates in the Task Force Foreign Affairs. The goal is to defend the interests of the Belgian agrofood industry on foreign markets. The Task Force unites representatives from different authorities (customs, food safety agency, Economy, Foreign Affairs), regional promotion bodies (FIT, Awex, Vlam) and sectors. Trade issues are tackled and trade missions prepared.
Fresh Trade Belgium also helps operators to identify the export conditions of third countries (phytosanitary conditions, import duties ...) and, in coordination with the auctions and the food safety authority, Fresh Trade Belgium keeps up to date the registers of exporters that are 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 also contact the association concerning the sectorprocedure for certified copies.
Together with Hellemans Consultancy, Fresh Trade Belgium helps its members to make correct and beneficial energy contracts. Several members made such contracts and experience the benefits. Members get regularly the opportunity to affiliate and are updated on the results.
Fresh Trade Belgium is member of the sector group fruit and vegetables of Vlam (Flemish Promotion Board) for the promotion activities on foreign markets. Following trade faires are on the agenda in 2019: Fruit Logistica Berlin, CPMA, Fruit Logistica Asia, World Food Moscow, Fruit Attraction Madrid. Promotion programs for pears are rolled out in Germany, China and Brazil.
After the sector passport on sustainability for traders of fruit, vegetables and potatoes, 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 taking into account the Sustainable Development Goals. 12 pilot companies did the implementation and worked on prevention of food loss/ waste, sustainable water use, sustainable production and consumption patterns and social well being.
In 2020 sustainability stays on the agenda of FVPhouse with the project 'Sustatool', also with support of the Flemish Community. In 2019-2020 operators continue to obtain professional support to implement sustainaibility at the working floor.
Young FVPhouse creates a meeting platform for the young generation involved in management of the fruit and vegetable business. Regular activities are planned. Visits took place to the port of Antwerp, Urban Crops Solutions in Waregem, TVH in Kruishoutem, the nuclear site in Doel, the distribution center of supermarket Delhaize in Zellik, chocolate manufacturer Neuhaus in Vlezenbeek, the European Parliament and meat specialist Breydel in Gavere.
Specific topics for 2020
Topics that need special attention this year: VLAREMA 7 and the ban on fruitstickers that would come into force on 01/01/2021 in Flanders, BREXIT, the transposal of the EU directive on unfair trading practices into Belgian legislation, tradings standards and labeling (f.i. the questions on origin labeling for pre-packed fresh cut), evolutions in plant protection (Mrl, active substances that are eliminated), quality project topfruit ...
Advice and information for members on demand.