Exporting fresh vegetables and fruit abroad requires companies to maintain high standards of food safety and quality. A legal, credible, and responsible fruit export company has also become a prerequisite for running this business.
Not infrequently consumers also pay great attention to certification as a guarantee that the company is legal and ensures that their products are safe before entering their shopping basket. So, what are the criteria that show that a fruit export company is declared legal and applies export market standards?
Criteria for A Legal Fruit Export Company
Before exporting fresh fruit and vegetables, companies are required to implement a food safety control system that includes a wide range of pre-market to post-market controls. Companies should evaluate product safety to ensure compliance with safety and fruit quality requirements before entering retail for export.
To complete these needs, a fruit export company must meet the following general and specific market niche requirements:
1. Minimal Use of Pesticide
The first requirement that must be met by a legal and credible fruit export company is the limited use of pesticides. This aims to avoid health and environmental risks that may occur.
In fact, according to the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) 2020 annual report, the European Union has set maximum residue levels for pesticides in food products, including fruit. Fruit containing more than 33% pesticide will be withdrawn from the European export market.
‘So, how do I know if a fruit exporting company has a product that exceeds the permitted levels of pesticides?’ Make sure that the exporting company has a GLOBAL.AP certification.
This certification implements integrated pest control practices to reduce pesticide levels. The fewer chemicals used by the exporter, the more potential his marketing position will be in the export market.
2. Fruit Export Companies Try To Avoid Contaminants
Contaminants are foreign substances that are accidentally added to fruit products, whether in the production, packaging, shipping, or storage processes. And for fresh fruit products, your main focus is that cadmium, lead and nitrate contamination does not exceed the maximum level of 0.050 mg/kg.
3. Fruit Export Companies Comply With Certification and Health Examination
Fresh fruit products exported abroad must comply with the laws on plant health in force in each destination country. These requirements are managed by the food safety agency in the respective exporting or importing countries.
What needs to be noted, the country of origin must have a National Plan Protection Organization (NPPO) or IPPC official contact point from the destination country. If this is not the case, fruit export companies will not be allowed to export.
Most of the fresh fruit must go through a health inspection before shipment. And to meet these criteria, legal exporters can show phytosanitary and phytonitation certificates to show that fruit products are free from pests.
4. Fulfill Marketing Standards
Most countries generally have set marketing standards (general or specific) for the minimum quality of fresh fruit and vegetables exported. These standards are usually divided into extra class, class I, class II, minimum maturity, and up to size code.
Especially for apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, kiwis, and peaches are categorized into certain types according to their size before they are ready for market. So how can I be sure that my fruit product meets marketing standards? You just have to look at the Codex Alimentarius published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to find marketing standards for your fresh fruit products.
If you are not sure about your product, you should not export it. Look for local alternatives!
5. Always Comply with Labeling and Packaging Regulations
Fruit products exported to neighboring countries must comply with regulations on food labeling. Shipping packages and cartons of fresh fruit must include details such as:
- Sender’s name and address
- Product name and type
- Country of origin
- Class and size
- Lot or the batch number for easy tracking or unique product identification
- Post-harvest treatment
- Organic certification by including the name of the inspection agency and certification number.
6. Social and Sustainable Business Standards
Examples of social and sustainable business standards that credible fruit export companies generally must have are:
- Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA)
- GLOBAL.AP certificate as proof of social compliance and for sustainable irrigation.
- Rainforest Alliance, a certification that supports climate-smart agriculture.
- ISO 26000 for social responsibility and ISO 14001 for environmental management responsibility.
Those are some of the criteria for legal and credible fruit export companies to obtain quality products in the export market. If you want to take this seriously as a supply partner, make sure exporters always guarantee their products are safe and sustainable as per the criteria above.