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Public and Private Standards Certification in AgriFood Trade

Ana fruits
Nirmal Raj
Comparing GlobalGAP and Codex Alimentarius for fresh
and| vegetables

Regulatory Elements in Food Safety

(& other quality aspects)

Product standards : Performance of products, precisely specified ingredients

Process standards: used to control for food safety and quality along the entire
supply chain from farm to fork [HACCP]
The overall goal is to reduce negative external effects associated with the
consumption and production of agri-food products

Public vs Private Standards

Private Standards

Public Standards

Requirements by private sector

Requirements of governments

Business to business standards that retailers

impose on primary agri-food producers

Differ across countries; should comply if sold on

domestic market.
WHO & FAO -> Codex Alimentarius: Internationally
agreed food safety standards, codes of good
practice and guidelines

Can become quasi-mandatory if large share of

suppliers/retailers requires compliance with them

Referred to national food law or international rules,

aim to regulate the import conditions; Can
become Legally mandatory.

Private standards are also consumer-driven;

private sector pursue their commercial interest
of providing food products of high safety and
quality levels as demanded by buyers and

Governments set standards to tackle

information problems and externalities
associated with the production and consumption of
agri-food products.

Relates to the strategic interest of private entities

Ultimately aim to maximise societal welfare
to maintain and/or to increase market
shares. Used to prevent costly events, such
recalls in may
the also
of food
scares.standards that typically go beyond minimum requirements for food safety and

other quality aspects, for example organic governmental standards

Codex Alimentarius vs. GlobalGAP

Aim: To provide some insights about whether and if yes to what extent international
private standards (GlobalGAP) are stricter than international public standards (CODEX)



1961, FAO & WHO, 183 member countries

+ 1 member org (EU)

1990s, by European supermarket chains,


Internationally recognized standards,

codes of practice, guidelines, and other
recommendations relating to foods, food
production, and food safety

Standards based on HACCP; translating

Agricultural Practices or GAP; essentially
B2B invisible to consumer

Public; non-mandatory as a reference to

international trade disputes

Private; mandatory for certain agri-food

consumers requiring this certification
especially in Europe

Product-specific standards in terms of

allowable additives, residue limits, etc.
(vertical standards), as well as general
standards across products (horizontal

Major must 100% compliance; Minor


Recommendations Non-compliant
much more detail at pre-farm gate

Codex Alimentarius and GlobalGAP:

Hygiene & Food Safety (Product Standards)
General principles of food hygiene (CAC/RCP 11969 Rev. 4-2003)
Code of hygiene for fresh fruit and vegetables,
including the primary production, packaging and
slightly processed ready-to eat fruit and vegetable
products (CAC/RCP 53-2003)

Codex establishes internationally acknowledged

product standards based on scientific panel inputs

Fruit and vegetable module (FV: V.3.03_Sep07): requirements for fruit and vegetable
Crops base module (CB: V.3.0-3_Feb09) & all
farm base module (AF: V3.0-2_Sep07): more
general requirements

E.g., product specific MRL information in Code for

food hygiene (CAC/RCP 1-1969 Rev. 4-2003)

Instead of setting its own product requirements,

GlobalGAP makes direct reference to the
requirements demanded by importing country, in
particular the EU import requirements

Provides reference to countries to set their

standards more or less stringent than prescribed

E.g., in crops base model, producers must be

aware of MRLs as well as the pesticides banned in
the respective export destination (major must)

Codex Alimentarius and GlobalGAP:

Hygiene & Food Safety (Process Standards)
Codex and GlobalGAP explicitly define process requirements in order to
ensure food safety and certain production conditions that reduce the risks of
food safety issues

Identification of issues (e.g. some kind of risk analysis),

Appropriate application of preventive measures (e.g. pest control measures)
Establishing control points, monitoring and documentation (e.g. HACCP),
Appropriate corrective measures if necessary,
Training of staff;

Principles behind Codex and GlobalGAP process requirements can be

considered to be identical, but the rationale behind them seems to be
Both Codex and GlobalGAP standards foresee the monitoring of primary
production along the lines of the HACCP system

Hazard Analysis & Critical

Control Points (HACCP)

Codex Alimentarius and GlobalGAP:

Other Requirements
Do not show in product
Requirements for the working conditions at farms, occupational health of workers
as well as the efficient usage of inputs and natural resources
E.g., requirements addressing
o welfare and health of workers: general all farm model
o environmental issues: crops base model
Requirement of traceability of products and ingredients/inputs by providing
o information about the product within the facility (e.g. lot identification linked to
production records)
o incoming inputs (suppliers name, product information: quality, lot identification)

GlobalGAP brings about business to business standards whereas the Codex
Alimentarius contains international public standards that members have
agreed upon at the international level.
Both stipulates the primary producers should adopt safety standards in line
with HACCP.
The standards requirements by importing countries can be stricter than
Codex, GlobalGAP can also be stricter than Codex.
Codex standards appear to be less detailed and thus less strict in terms
of how requirements are to be applied.