Klementina Kirezieva

Understanding the performance of Food Safety Management Systems in fresh produce chains.  Influence of climate change and global trade

Klementina Kirezieva  




Dr. ir. P. Luning (PDQ-WUR)  

Dr.ir. M. A.J. S van Boekel (PDQ-WUR) 

Project term:

May 2010 - May 2014


EU 7FP project “Veg-i-trade”


Safety of food emerged to be a global concern and governments all over the world enforced legislation that obligated food businesses to implement Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS). Different private standards were also introduced, against which food companies can get a certification as a proof that they are working according to certain norms. Consequently, many efforts have been put in the translation of all these requirements and their actual implementation in companies’ FSMS. Still, foodborne outbreaks appear to increase, with a tendency for a shift from traditional problems with foods from animal origin to fresh foods such as produce. Performance of currently implemented FSMS in fresh produce proved to be unsatisfactory, often lacking scientific base and prone to systemic failures. Moreover, recent evidences are suggesting that effectiveness of FSMS is influenced by characteristics of the context in which they are operating, such as size, technology, environment and organisation. Additionally, climate change and globalisation of trade are expected to put additional pressures on their performance.


The aim of this study is to get insight in performance of the implemented FSMS in the fresh produce chains in order to reveal their constraints and opportunities for improvement in view of the context in which they operate.


In the first part of this research diagnostic instruments were developed that enable assessment and analysis of FSMS in fresh produce, independently from the standards and/or guidelines implemented in the system. It is based on previously developed instrument for the animal products industry (Luning et al., 2008, 2009, 2011). It allows assessment of companies’ unique FSMS at different chain actors, including cultivation, processing and trade, and considers both microbiological and chemical hazards. The instrument was validated by experts, and by pre-tests and pilot tests in companies.

Future research

Data will be collected with the diagnostic instrument along different produce chains in order to explore the influence of the context factors, including different climate, production, trade and administrative conditions.

To address the increasing pressures due to climate change and globalization of trade and their effect on FSMS in fresh produce, an additional tool will be developed. It will be used for an inventory and evaluation of effect on hazards (microbial and chemical), and FSMS activities that might need attention. The final results of both instruments will be used for elaborating adaptation scenarios for FSMS operating at different context conditions.


Luning, P.A., Bango, L., Kussaga, J., Rovira, J., & Marcelis, W.J. (2008). Trends in Food Science and Technology, 19, 522-534.
Luning, P.A., Marcelis, W.J., Rovira, J., Van der Spiegel, M., Uyttendaele, M., Jacxsens, L. (2009). Trends in Food Science and Technology, 20, 300-312.
Luning, P.A., Marcelis, W.J., Rovira, J., van Boekel, M.A.J.S., Uyettendaele, M., Jacxsens, L. (2010). Tends in Food Science and Technology,22(1),S67-S79