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How may quality asurance systems in food chains include environmental aspects based on life cycle methodology?

By Niels Halberg

Abstract

The number of Quality Assurance Systems (QAS) for food products is increasing and so is the topics they cover, from traditional intrinsic product characteristics such as percent meat in slaughtered pigs and protein content in milk to food safety issues such as zoonoses and pesticide residues and in some cases aspects of animal welfare. This development is linked to de-mands for risk controlling systems such as HACCP and traceability systems that would allow food safety problems to be traced to a small number of producers or farms. The large retail companies (supermarkets) are an important driving force for this development because of their efforts to build consumer trust in food products and loyalty to the companies own brands. Envi-ronmental characteristics of food products and information on their production methods are be-coming part of some QAS but not mostly in the form of qualitative information e.g. certification that the farmers have used Good Agricultural Practice (GAP). The paper gives examples of this and then discuss this development in relation to LCA based environmental appraisal of food products. The development of quantitative (tools for) environmental appraisal of agriculture and food production is becoming more productoriented improving the possibilities of assessing the regional and global impacts of food production chains and consumption. But these systems building on LCA does not so far seem to be linked with the development of QAS for food. The paper finally discuss the possibilities for linking the food safety related traceability systems and gives an example of on-going work to establish LCA based QAS in a meat processing system

Topics: Food systems
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:orgprints.org:15449
Provided by: Organic Eprints

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