Agriculture and rural development

Conference: "Food Quality Certification – Adding Value to Farm Products"

Conference: "Food Quality Certification – Adding Value to Farm Products"


Conference: "Food Quality Certification – Adding Value to Farm Products"

Consumers, retailers and farmers rely increasingly on logos and certification schemes to help them identify and distinguish food produce. A wide range of quality certification schemes currently operate in Europe and their number continues to increase.

Over the last decade, European agriculture has made an important shift, emphasising quality and specialisation. Globalisation will only increase this tendency. Farmers and producers know and care about production and processing techniques, ingredients, and origin of raw materials. In the EU, they also have to follow high animal welfare, environmental and labour standards that cannot be imposed in respect of imported foods. Certification schemes provide a means by which producers can inform their ultimate customers about their products—and give guarantees that the information is well founded.

Some certification schemes also operate in the area of assuring compliance with compulsory hygiene and food safety standards.

In order to better understand the potential for certification in the EU, the Commission's Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development has organised a conference on food quality certification schemes in Brussels on 5 and 6 February 2007.

Following on from the 2-year "Food Quality Schemes" pilot project, undertaken by the Commission's research arm, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the conference marked a step-change from data and opinion gathering to consideration of policy options. The conference examined how food quality schemes work, the economics of schemes, their operation in the internal market, and implications for global trade.


Conference proceedings

Day 1 - Monday, 5 February 2007

A. Opening speeches (10:00 - 12:30)


Nikiforos SIVENAS, Director

Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission.

  1. Chair: Opening remarks by the chairman
  2. Commissioner Mariann FISCHER BOEL: Quality is the (present and) future for European agriculture
  3. Commissioner Markos KYPRIANOU: Food quality, health and safety – clarifying the concepts
  4. MEP Jan MULDER: European agriculture's biggest asset: Quality of production
  5. Minister Horst SEEHOFER: Food quality assurance schemes – the German Presidency's perspective


B. Workshops (14:30 - 18:00)

1. The economics of Food Quality Schemes

This workshop aims to identify how the value added in food quality schemes is distributed along the food supply chain. It focuses in particular on the costs and benefits accruing to farmers but goes beyond the microeconomic level to look at how food quality schemes can have an impact on rural development in the wider sense (tourism, infrastructure, employment, etc.). It also looks at consumers' willingness to pay for certified quality food. Methodological issues will be discussed as well as evidence and results of existing studies.



Chair: Ludwig THEUVSEN, Göttingen University

Rapporteur: Xavier GELLINCK, Ghent University

2. Food Quality Schemes in the EU

This workshop provides an overview and some analysis related to the types of schemes operating in the EU. The workshop will examine the requirements that a scheme has to fulfil in order to comply with the rules of the internal market and look at the production standards required under EU law that do not apply to imported products from Third Countries. It will also present the outcome of a public consultation on labelling of food products.


  • EU production vs. import standards - an unfair playing field? (Siem Jan SCHENK, LTO Nederland)



Rapporteur: Hans KORDIK, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, Austria

3. Food Quality Schemes in the international context

This workshop will examine the international legal environment for food quality schemes and will look at the impact that food quality schemes may have on imports from Third Countries. It will try to identify means by which food quality schemes operating in the EU market can be made more accessible to Third Country operators and what sort of assistance may be needed to facilitate such access. The workshop will also provide an international comparison of systems used to protect GIs, with a view to assessing their role as a tool for rural development.



Chair: Hansjörg NEUN, CTA

Rapporteur: Linda FULPONI, OECD

4. Food Quality Schemes in close-up

This workshop will focus on practical matters related to food quality schemes and attempt to identify best practice in the fields of certification and control, benchmarking and mutual recognition. It will discuss these issues in the context of some existing schemes.



Chair: Per SORUP, EC DG Joint Research Centre-IPTS

Rapporteur: Benito ORIHUEL, ANECOOP


Day 2 - Tuesday, 6 February 2007

C. Final plenary

9:00 - 10:00: Presentation of workshop results by the rapporteurs



10:00 - 10:30: Discussion


11:00 - 12:30: Panel of stakeholders


  • Consumers: Jim MURRAY, BEUC
  • Farmers: Rudolf SCHWARZBÖCK, COPA
  • Traders: Axel MOEHRKE, CELCAA
  • Food industry: Jean MARTIN, CIAA
  • Retailers: Alexander Rogge , FCD (EuroCommerce)
  • Certifiers: Vincent COUEPEL, CERTIS
  • Regional associations: Klaus KLIPP, Assembly of European Regions


12:30 - 13:00 Concluding remarks



Further information: EU agricultural product quality policy