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Food Quality and Safety in Europe



The supply chain involved in moving milk from the farm to the market has to be managed carefully to ensure that when the milk arrives it is safe and of top quality. The countries of central and eastern Europe are moving from centrally planned to market-led economies as they approach full membership of the Union. This transition affects the milk supply chain among many others. The EU Specific Support Action OPTIMILK will analyse the changes that these countries will need to make in order to create for their milk an internationally competitive supply chain that complies fully with EU health and safety regulations.

The one-year project took a systematic look at four countries where the milk supply chains are at various stages of transition to full market orientation: the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Bosnia. The team used the latest methods of designing supply chains and planning resources to formulate recommendations that will help these countries compete with the rest of European milk production in terms of safety, quality and value.


The supply chain starts at the farm, where hygienic operation and quality assurance result in safe raw milk. Efficient management and treatment of this milk as it is collected, stored and transported optimise the value of this part of the chain. Other important factors designed to protect public safety include training, setting up safety and quality standards and critical control points, transparent inspection, and being able to track supplies from beginning to end. Value will be affected by payment policies and classification systems. The way the chain is organised and how the various people working in it relate to each other will also play a part in smoothing the transition to a market-led supply chain.

The project will begin with the development of a blueprint for the analysis, then teams will go to each of the four countries to collect data and publicise the project through local workshops. The current state of the four milk supply chains will then be compared with another national chain which is considered to be highly efficient in terms of quality and value, so that recommendations can be made in each case. The study should give a clear picture of the knowledge needed to help rural economies in accession countries to evolve so as to add value and create prosperity.


The project will publish a series of reports to help central and eastern European and Balkan countries to privatise their rural economies. Best Practices for Quality and Safety Management in the Milk Supply Chain will survey the mechanism of the supply chain and show how good hygiene and quality principles bring benefits to all parts of the chain. It will also make practical recommendations for the four countries.

Supply Chain Design and Enterprise Resource Planning for Optimising Value in the Milk Supply Chain to Create Wealth in Rural Economies will focus on these aspects for small and medium players in agri-dairy networks. Traceability for Safety and Consumer Confidence in the Milk Supply Chain will emphasise hazards at source and show how world-class tracking systems could be applied.

Recommendations for Strategies to Optimise the Milk Supply Chain in an Enlarged European Union will give an overview of the results.

These reports will be supported by leaflets and web pages in the appropriate languages to enable widespread dissemination among local enterprise and policymakers.

List of Partners

  • Wageningen University (The Netherlands)
  • University College Cork (Ireland)
  • ENSGSI, Nancy (France)
  • Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Warsaw Agricultural University (Poland)
  • USAMV, Bucharest (Romania)
  • Edinburgh Direct Aid, Bihac (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Full title:
Quality, safety and value optimisation of the milk supply chain in rapidity evolving central and eastern european markets
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Jos Lankveld and Rolf Marteijn,
Wageningen University
EC Scientific Officer:
François Constantin Severini,
EU contribution:
€ 156,000
Specific Support Action

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top