Serbian meat: Raising food safety standards and preserving tradition, December 2017Serbian meat: Raising food safety standards and preserving tradition, December 2017
18 December, 2017
New regulations are set to improve food safety
in the Serbian meat-processing sector while maintaining traditions and
facilitating the trade of meat and processed meat products in the country.
The announcement was made by Serbia's Ministry
of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management at an event organized by the Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Bank
for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which gathered producers and other
public and private stakeholder groups.
Over recent years, FAO and the EBRD have been
supporting the Serbian government on food safety and quality standards with the
aim of improving the competitiveness of meat products. The newly approved
regulations on food safety include flexibility measures and derogations for
small-scale meat producers, processors and distributors.
They will prove important in ensuring that small
producers comply with food safety regulations and what’s more, they will encourage
the continued use and preservation of traditional methods of production.
“This is an important development for our
country’s meat industry as it will both raise food safety standards and preserve
our production traditions,” said Branislav Nedimović, Serbia’s Minister of
Agriculture and Water Management.
In support of the new regulations, which will come
into force on 1 January 2018, the Veterinary Directorate of the Ministry, with
the backing of the FAO-EBRD project, has produced guidelines for the
implementation of the flexibility measures, which were presented for the first
time at the event.
According to Tamara Boskovic, Head of the
Veterinary Public Health Department, “These guidelines will provide clear
benefits for producers and also for consumers, as they will give a seal of
approval, guaranteeing not only the quality of products, but above all, their hygiene
They describe the general and specific hygiene
requirements for food businesses involved in slaughtering, meat cutting and
product processing, in compliance with principles of good manufacturing and
hygiene practices, hazard analyses and critical control points (HACCP).
“Upgrading food quality and safety standards at
all stages of the value chain will make for a stronger, more inclusive meat
sector in Serbia, attracting more investment and helping the country’s
smallholders stay in the market,” said Miljan Zdrale, the EBRD head for CSEE,
event was also an occasion to promote the new voluntary quality scheme for food
and agricultural products in Serbia – the
Serbian Quality Label – supported by the
project. The label certifies the origin of animals and stipulates they must be
fed by GMO-free feed, while products must exhibit three quality characteristics
to be differentiated from similar ones on the market.
“The Serbian Quality label really will help differentiate
products on the market. For Serbian meat
producers, compliance with higher
safety and quality
standards is becoming increasingly important if they are to be
competitive, and to broaden export
market opportunities and
increase economic returns in
the sector,” said Lisa Paglietti,
an FAO economist.
The Serbian Meat Quality Label is currently
managed by the Meat Quality Association and up to now four meat processors have
been granted the right to use this label on some of their products.
Serbia meat sector project page: http://www.eastagri.org/meetings/index.php?id=116
Serbia quality label: http://www.eastagri.org/news/index.php?id=665