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Participants will play the role of main actors in the chain-producer, conventional and specialized trader, consumer and supporting institutions and define the concept of quality from their own perspective Material 3. During the brainstorming session the trainer will provide a better understanding of the notion and its components, assisted by a power point presentation Presentation 3.

Material 3. Richard J. Schonberger claims that quality is like art, everybody praises it, "everybody recognizes it, but each one has its own understanding of what it is". Objectively, quality is the aptitude of a good product or service to satisfy the needs of its users. ISO Standard defines quality as "The totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs". The five important words associated with quality are then:.

It is therefore essential when producing quality products to know who will be the user s of the product and what are the specific and constantly changing needs to be addressed. For agrifood products, quality may be regarded as a complex characteristic of foods that determines its value and acceptability by consumers 22nd Regional FAO Conference for Europe, Oporto, These characteristics define the options to satisfy implicit or explicit needs.

Explicit needs are those conforming to the declared needs of an objective user. Explicit need is the right of a consumer to choose the product rewarding his senses smell, taste, sight, touch and ear. The first include those relating to taste, appearance, texture, consistency, smell, safety and some functional characteristics, such as post-harvest life and convenience.

Therefore, as long as product quality is defined according to the needs of its user, it will remain strongly influenced by the principles, values, culture, ethics and religious values of individuals. All together, consumers may choose products not only by "product attributes", but also by "process attributes" involving the way in which they are produced and processed: origin, environmental impact of production practices, etc. Consumers may pay a higher price for products conforming to these requirements or attributes. Some quality attributes may be grasped by the consumer through the senses, while others cannot be assessed directly.

Organoleptics fall into the first, while the second involves process attributes and those having to do with nutrition and safety. Consumers may judge the attributes of the product they intend to buy by taste, smell, sometimes size, all used to judge texture and taste.

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Likewise are other process attributes, such as environmental impact, which can only be identified with attached labels or marks. To conclude, in the agrifood sector the general concept of quality is complex and global, as a result of the diversity in horticultural produce and the inter-relations between links in the chain. The concept includes all attributes, characteristics and values that the consumer or buyer would expect of the product according to its use. A good quality product would certainly fulfil the expectations of the consumer or of the end user.

Given the complexities and subtleties mentioned, there is a need for agreement between the different actors to specify objectively the quality criteria for a product or service, standards and normative documents fulfilling this need. These are public and voluntary documents as opposed to mandatory regulations produced by a recognized institution and results from the consensus of the different actors involved to facilitate trade as a consequence of common understanding.

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Standards or agreements codes of practices, etc. Codex Alimentarius is the international body for food standardization, recognized in the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phitosanitary Measures SPS of the World Trade Organization to protect human, animal and plants through international standards, guidelines, codes of practice and other documents.

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The continuing concern for guaranteed quality has resulted in quality assurance and safety programs, addressed to assure and certify the attributes of a product, through normative documentation covering its production and processing. These programs include inspection procedures ensuring implementation, while the overall process may result in a label or certification proving the conformance of the attributes to the relevant documents.

Complying with these certifications, required by importing markets, exporting countries are making significant efforts to capture market openings, or often, just to remain in business. This results in developing and enforcing national codes of practice and in efforts to secure the recognition of these codes by the importing markets. Likewise, the whole scheme of quality certification, employed by the consumers and other actors, requires a system accrediting its conformance to the applicable documents codes of practice, protocols, etc.

Efforts are also underway to implement the accreditation of quality certification systems. Quality and safety assurance systems must take into account both financial objectives, for entrepreneurs or others associated to the business, and non-financial objectives allowing for the satisfaction of customers, producers, employees, social groups, ecologists, etc.

Often emphasis is placed, during the implementation phase of quality and safety assurance activities, in securing a certification of sorts by the end of the program. In an environment as dynamic as horticulture, just fulfilling quality standards as such may not ensure success. Therefore, the holistic approach to horticulture requires the satisfaction of the consumer, integrating operative and functional strategies, complying with legal frames, with the whole supported by innovation, learning, new knowledge, organizational agility and more competitiveness and skills on the part of the actors.

The trainer distributes to each team Material 3. Once participants have studied the document, the trainer clarifies doubts and conducts the teams to a correct understanding of the issues. Under Suggested Questions, some questions and answers from the trainer to the participants may be found. Once the contents of the worksheet are fully understood, the participants assemble by countries, to provide the following information:. Identify the institutions responsible in each country for standardization activities and for quality and safety certification and accreditation systems for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Show successful experiences, where standards have benefited the actors in the chain and identifying key issues for this success. In the plenary session to follow, each team presents its answers and the trainer draws the appropriate conclusions. The former relate to the product itself smell, taste, consistency, convenience, safety, etc. What is the difference between an external indicator and an internal indicator for the quality attributes of a product?

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External attributes cannot be directly judged by the consumer: e. Standards evolve, and should be revised from time to time, to include technical progress, market changes and regulatory advances.

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What is the role of Codex Alimentarius in the international and national fruit and vegetables quality assurance and safety systems? At the national level, the National Committees of the Codex Alimentarius are responsible for the agreement between national and international standards. Public certification, even by a private agent, must conform to criteria and conditions approved by an official institution.

What standards become a mandatory regulation for trade of fresh fruits and vegetables? In many countries, regulations aligned with Codex include the HACCP approach and informative labelling as regulatory aspects to be met by the produce to be traded. Is usually issued by a third party, clearly indicating the standardizing and the certifying institutions involved. The standardizing institution is not the certifying institution. What is the main relation between standardization, quality certification and quality accreditation processes for fruits and vegetables? Accreditation processes, on the other hand, assure that the certification schemes employed are transparent, efficient and trustworthy.

This standard establishes the requirements to be met by common mango Magnifier indices L. This section clarifies the language and terms used in the standard to help understand its contents by all interested parties. Criteria defining product's aptitude for the intended use i. Specification on the conditions determining fruit maturity inside changes as relating to outside color, if existing. Color tables. This section defines the classification criteria for the product in different categories.

Class Extra: Product must conform with the minimum requirements of point 3. Surface stains resulting from latex, shading, blemishes, are acceptable. Percentage of acceptance by not meeting the requirements of quality and size criteria. Percentage of acceptance of not meeting the requirements of quality and size criteria. Uniformity of quality, caliper and color requirements for each packaging unit and package requirements. Contents of each packaging unit must be uniform and contain only same origin, variety, quality and maturity index products.

Visible contents must represent the whole. Fruits must be packaged to properly protect the product. New, clean and quality materials must be used on the inside to avoid any internal or external damage. General packaging conditions apply or reference is made to the appropriate packaging standard. Contents of each packaging unit must be homogeneous, with fruits belonging to the same variety, category, color and size.

Labeling must show: name of product, variety and commercial identification. Clear and not erasable letters, must be read on the outside or in the shipping documents: identification, nature of the product, origin, commercial identification category, size, units contained, net weight, maturity index. It is advisable that the product is prepared and handled conforming to the International Recommended Code on Principles for the Hygiene of Foods and other relevant Codex documents. Table 2 should be consulted for sample size. To test for maturity and physical and chemical properties tests are run on the juice extracted from 5 fruits from each color.

The trainer shows the importance of adequate post-harvest handling of fresh fruits and vegetables, pointing out the physiological processes of quality loss and their causes. The trainer makes recommendations and proposes post-harvest technologies that maintain quality Presentation 3.