Promoting good food hygiene policy to protect small/traditional producers
Since EU accession in January 2007, ADEPT has been in the forefront of a campaign for flexibility in enforcement of regulations.
Neither the EU nor the Romanian Government wish to threaten tradition small-scale food production, such an important part of the culture of any country. The following extracts from EU Directive 852/2004, and DG SANCO guidance on the objective, are relevant: •852/2004 Article 13: authorities should be flexible in the standards of equipment and safety measures they impose on small producers, so long as it does not compromise food hygiene.
•EU DG SANCO Guidance on 852/2004: requirements should be adapted to accommodate traditional methods of production, and the needs of producers in geographically disadvantaged regions.
However, small producers in Romania feel threatened and confused by inconsistent application of regulations, at points of production and at local/traditional markets.
It is essential that food hygiene policy is developed transparently, consulting representatives of small/traditional producers, and is then transmitted clearly to inspectors and producers at local level.
As part of this campaign, in early 2008 ADEPT, Milvus and WWF published a booklet on Minimum Food Hygiene Conditions, with support of the EU delegation Bucharest and of the Romanian National Agency for veterinary Health and Food Hygiene. This is an important clarification, which will enable small producers to resist the threat represented by excessive regulations. 40,000 copies in Romanian and 10,000 in Hungarian were distributed throughout Romania in 2008.
The link between milk hygiene and securing the future of the landscape
Small-scale dairy production is key to the survival of the HNV landscapes of Romania.
In the Târnava Mare area there is a collapse in the market for milk. Cow numbers have fallen by 25% in the last year alone. The cause
of the loss of market is that small farmers cannot guarantee the quality and quantity necessary to attract the milk processors. Many villages have been left without any milk collection.
ADEPT, in a project funded by Innovation Norway
, is working with farmers to improve milk hygiene through workshops with farmers, discussions with village dairy associations, on-the-spot testing at communal milk collection points.
Through this project, two villages have had their milk collection points improved and milk collection reinstated, giving income again to 65 small-scale farmers.
Another 6 villages will follow.