Freshfel Headlines August – September 2016

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Freshfel launches new website
Freshfel launched a new website, with a newer design as well as compatability with mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The look and feel, as well as the information on the website have all been updated and will continue to be updated as usual. You can find this new website on the same address:

Freshfel meeting with the EU Delegation and Member States representatives in Moscow
Freshfel Europe, on the occasion of an international exhibition “World Food Moscow” organised a meeting with the Agricultural Counselor of the EU Delegation in Russia and the agricultural attachés from the EU Member States in Moscow. The meeting was a good opportunity to Freshfel members to exchange the information and express the views following the extension of Russian embargo.

World strawberry trends presented by Freshfel at the 8th International strawberries congress
More than 600 delegates met in Quebec city from 14-16 August to exchange on the latest scientific and business trends for strawberries, including Freshfel’s General Delegate. In a dedicated symposium organized under the leadership of Belgium Cooperative Hoogstraten, the latest international growth trends of production, trade and consumption of strawberries were analysed. Strawberry production in the EU today reaches 1.225.000 T and has a growing share of the total EU fruit production year on year. The production grew by almost 35% in the last 10 years. The EU and USA ranked both ex-aequo second behind China. The EU intra trade is also dynamic, reaching 415.000 T (+ 32% in the last 10 years), while EU import slightly declined to 26.000 T and EU export continue to grow, despite the Russian embargo, to reach 66.000 T. This leads the strawberry market, one of the highest value category within the fresh produce sector in the EU, to an estimated turnover of close to 2 billion €.

Freshfel and SHAFFE take part to a panel discussion at GlobalGAP summit on Public Private Partnership
The GlobalGAP summit, which took place in Amsterdam on 27-28 September 2016, was an opportunity to debate on the benefit of Public Private Partnership in the area of Good Agriculture Practice. Key note speakers from the European Commission and USDA set the scene for the debate in light of the EU official control systems and the upcoming Food Safety Modernization Act in the USA. The General Delgate of Freshfel Europe and SHAFFE took part to a panel together with the Head of Global Agricultural Affairs of Bayer and officials from The Netherlands and Japan. While ultimate control responsibilities of legislation will remain with public authorithies, it was underlined that with a view of efficiency and costs savings for both public authorities and business operators, public private partnership could contribute to such an optimisation of efforts towards compliance. This could enhance consumer confidence and facilitate market access, if properly organized. The diversity of legislation and standards are however a major challenge to be overcome this, to move

forward. Some examples of recognition of private standards by public authorities were underlined (BRC, IFS in The Netherlands or GlobalGAP in Indonesia).

Freshfel becomes member of the Industry Advisory Group for a common E-phyto solution
Phytosanitary certificates are often an underlying condition for the introduction of plant products into another country, and needed to communicate the phytosanitary status of a commodity in trade to the NPPO of the importing country. While the format of these certificates is governed by the International Standards on Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM7), these certificates are still transmitted on various routes and methods. While some countries are already connected to an electronic transmission system, especially developing countries lack the capacity to develop such a system itself and are using paper versions. IPPC and the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) have initiated a common pilot project call “ePhyto”. It is a pilot project, which aims to create a harmonised approach via a common IT-hub for the electronic transmission of phytosanitary certificates. Benefits of this so-called “ePhyto” would be a globally harmonised approach for certification, a reduced potential for fraud, improved efficiencies by reduced data entry and validation, improved security during transmission and not at last, the avoidance of bilateral agreements between NPPO’s for e-certificate exchange. Freshfel had become a member of the Industry Advisory Group, to give practical input to the development and the requirements of the fresh produce industry to such a hub. With this regard, Freshfel had conducted a first round of consultations on the current status of transmission of phytosanitary certificates. For more input about the project:

Freshfel’s highlights sector priorities for Research and Innovation
During July, August and September, a joint Task Force, comprising of Freshfel, AREFLH, EUVRIN and EUFRIN, updated the Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA), listing the priorities of the fruit and vegetable sector for future research opportunities. On 29 August representatives from the four organisations met with Aldo Longo, director responsible for “General aspects of rural development and research” at DG AGRI to discuss those priorities within the context of the Horizon2020 research programme of the European Commission. In light of this, the Task Force is currently reviewing the SIRA to present a new version to the European Commission soon.

FRESH-DEMO project testing of fruit and vegetables
FRESH-DEMO continued the testing with different fruit and vegetables over the summer. Tests have been made with asparagus and with peaches and nectarines. In both cases, the benefits of using the humidification technology were clearly shown in the reports. Asparagus is considered a very sensitive product with high water content and therefore short shelf life. During the tests, the products were delivered directly after the harvest and stored according to three methods: conventional dry storing, conventional wet storing with towel and humidification. Storage happened at 5°C for at least 7 days. The humidified stored asparagus demonstrated typical colour and fresh appearance. The wet and the dry stored asparagus displayed brown areas on the surface. Especially the dry stored asparagus exhibited many brown areas as well as loss of structure. As a result, there was minimized weight loss up to 4%, longer shelf life, stability in drying matter and better taste, flavour and appearance. Same could be noted for peaches and nectarines: After day 15 of storage, conventionally stored peaches and nectarines showed signs of first decay and non-equal areas on the surface. Humidified stored peaches did not have any decay or non-equal structures.

The testing with table grapes is about to be finished and further testing will continue with cauliflower and carrots in the upcoming weeks.

Freshfel Promotion, Communication and Image Committee updated its priorities
The Freshfel Promotion, Communication and Image Committee met on 1 September to review and update Freshfel priorities in this area. The new promotion policy as well as current EU funded promotion programme for fruit and vegetables were discussed as well as the latest reform of the EU school schemes and its implication for the sector. An in-depth discussion also took place on the latest development of the health related policies, including inititated towards an healthier lifestyle for European consumers, the hurdles of the health and nutrition claims legislation. The Committee endorsed the idea of updating the “Where is the fruit” study undertaken by Freshfel in 2010.  Finally, the Committee also looks at consumption issues and reconfirmed the need to further investigate and understand the psychological and social factors that inhibit consumption, better understand the trends towards the fragmentation of consumers and better respond to consumer expectation in the shop. Transforming consumers awareness on the benefit of consuming fruit and vegetables into an purchase action in the shop will remain the challenge of the industry.

Freshfel meeting with the EU Platform for Diet, Physical Activity and Health
The Freshfel Secretariat went to Luxembourg to discuss with Commission officials from the Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health at DG SANTE. The meeting was held to discuss about the different commitments, past, ongoing and possible future. Furthermore, the meeting also focused on general developments in society, such as the decline in consumption of fruit and vegetables. The Commission is stimulating the efforts made by the members of the Platform to enhance the health of the European population.

Freshfel meeting Eurostat to improve statistical data for fresh produce
Freshfel also had a short meeting with Eurostat in Luxembourg, regarding the crop production data. Freshfel went to Eurostat in the first place to discuss the gaps in the production data for fruits and vegetables and in general to share information about both organisations. Eurostat explained some of their barriers to improve statistical data, but in general the dialogue was good and informative.

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