GlobalGAP is an independent, voluntary system of ensuring safe products for primary agricultural production. The standard was created in 1997 as EurepGap – it was an initiative of a worker group from a retail marketing network, who were members of EUrep organization. It is a norm of agricultural product before it leaves the farm, taking into account the whole production process. The aim of the system was to elaborate uniform procedures and common standard for Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), as well as ensure products safety. The standard premises aim at minimizing dangers of toxic food going onto the market and catering to consumers health needs. Producers are encouraged to minimize fertilizers use to minimize negative impact on the environment.
GlobalGAP standard takes into account the whole production chain, since the plants are seeded or planted, taking care of the crop, harvest, till the end product treatment (eg. Storage, packaging, confectioning). Nowadays its one of the most popular systems and its implementation is the most common with fresh fruit and vegetables producers. Being attributed with the GlobalGAP certificate allows to start, maintain and develop relations with marketing networks worldwide. It is often a key to enter new markets and is a tool to contact other producers.
The standard is international, voluntary. Requirements cover all sorts of production systems and geographical location of food producers. It is suitable for farms producing plants, fruit, as well as animals raising.
In practice, the certificate is necessary to co-operate with most of marketing networks and business partners that require it from suppliers of unprocessed agricultural products. The system is most often implemented in scope of producers co-operatives or wholesale subjects and their suppliers , as well as individual plantations.
Global GAP requirements stem from European law on:
- Food safety and identifiably
- Environmental protection
- Safety and protection of workers
- Protection of animals.
Because of content and requirements independent of producer, who wants to implement the standard, GlobalGAP covers all areas that are intertwined and give standard the base.
GAP- Good Agriculture Practice: it requires producers to take care of environment, to carefully use and store pesticides, fertilizers, feeds and veterinary medications. Farmers are obliged to take care of green areas, soil, water and air. GAP also means proper waste management , tidiness and cleanliness in the farm, as well as safety of farm’s workers.
HACCP- Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point: aims at ensuring food products safety through identifying and describing danger and risk scale also during the whole production process and food marketing. The system rules are covered in detail in WE 852/2004 document.
Environmental protection is a GAP element requiring from farmers to be in line with all environmental rules both Polish and European. Some of them are:
- Smart management of nature resources according to balanced development rules
- Action against environmental pollution
- Restoring natural elements.
BHP: set of rules on safety and hygiene at workplace, required to be met within a farm functioning:
- Technical work safety
- Medical care
- Protection of workers against harmful agent at the workplace
- Meeting all needs of social, accommodation, hygiene and physiological character
Well being of the farm animals: it’s a field of Global GAP interest not only for farms focused on animal breeding, but also plant farms, where animals are used to work at different stages of production process. Well being means keeping the animals in best health and behavioral condition possible within the farm economic means. The requirement are:
- Living space
- Reproductive needs
- Medical care
- Appropriate lighting
- Protection against bad weather and climate conditions
- Humane treatment and stress factors elimination
- Making sure the animals are not harmed physically or wounded
The above requirements include all stages of animal breeding: the actual breeding, transportation and slaughter.
The basis of integrated standard of farming safety and quality ensuring is ability to identify: in other words ability to recreate and track back a product’s history, so that one can make sure it meets all production and logistic standards.
An important part of GlobalGAP standard is the risk assessment element. According to FAO/WHO regulations as to food safety, risk means a possibility for a product to be harmful to health and magnitude of this harmfulness. In GlobalGAP standard the risk assessment is a major factor of its usefulness and its performance is required from a subject in many certifying control points.
All questions listed and described above are system elements, intertwined, complementing each other and make up a whole requirements collection. The GlobalGAP standard is being updated according to current needs, like new legal regulations and greater quality demands. The standard modifications along all documents are published at official internet GlobalGAP site.