A global approach
From farm to fork: a global approach to the food chain
In January 1999, Belgium experienced contamination of the food chain during the so-called “dioxin crisis”. At the origin of this contamination lay the use of a contaminated batch of recycled fat during the production of the animal feed. The economic consequences of this crisis were considerable and had an impact far beyond Belgium’s borders. This crisis resulted in the founding of the FASFC (Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain).
The FASFC has set up a system, the so called self-checking, to guarantee the food safety and traceability of food "from the farm to the fork". This system covers all the operators in the food chain and requires each of them to apply good hygiene practices within their company and carry out checks. To help the operators develop their self-checking system, the sector organisations drew up guides that were approved by the FASFC after thorough evaluation.
The sector guides include the critical control points with regard to food safety and traceability. Finally, the companies must immediately inform the FASFC if they suspect that a product imported, produced, processed or distributed by them may be harmful to human, animal or plant health. This is called the mandatory notification of the FASFC.
These statutory obligations are part of a wider European framework. After all, the European Commission determined that since 2002 each member state must have a system that guarantees the safety of its food and feed. The Belgian system is recognised as an effective system at European level.