STANDARDS FOR FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES - FOR TRADING IN HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS

K. Mattsson
Trade standards provide a product description that serves as a basis for commercial agreements between seller and buyer. When they contain quality classes (extra, I and II), different prices can be set. Today the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission draw up quality standards for fresh fruits and vegetables, and both the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UNECE interpret standards. To be useful to traders, quality standards need to reflect current production and trade practices. A standard should be applicable in all regions where it is used; otherwise it will become a technical barrier to trade. By providing commonly agreed product descriptions, standards clarify the buyers’ requirements for producers, sorters and packers. This reduces misunderstandings and returns. Quality standards can increase waste by limiting the lowest acceptable quality, if there is a demand for products of a quality below the standard’s lowest acceptable limit and if it is compulsory to apply the standards. But if standards correctly reflect market requirements, they will not increase waste since buyers would have the same requirements even if standards did not exist. To some extent, the influence between standard-setting and market requirements is reciprocal. When standards are being drafted or changed, requirements need to be set at the correct level. “Cosmetic” requirements with no effect on eating quality, keeping quality or nutritional value may increase waste and/or use of pesticides and fungicides without improving consumer eating satisfaction. Greater consumer knowledge and awareness, however, would lead to less waste and less use of chemicals. Thus, producers, traders, retailers, consumers and standard-setting bodies all have a role in reducing waste and the use of chemicals in the production and distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Mattsson, K. (2015). STANDARDS FOR FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES - FOR TRADING IN HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS. Acta Hortic. 1091, 73-79
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1091.8
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1091.8
trade standards, trade facilitation, food waste, trade practices
English

Acta Horticulturae