The role of cooperatives in food safety management of fresh produce chains: Case studies in four strawberry cooperatives

K.K. Kirezieva, J. Bijman, L. Jacxsens, P.A. Luning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent outbreaks with fresh produce have raised questions regarding management of quality and safety in the complex supply chains, where cooperatives play a central role. The overall objective of this article was to investigate the role of cooperatives in food quality and safety management in the fresh produce chain, focussing on the food safety management systems implemented on the farms. More specifically, we raise the question how a more market-like or a more hierarchy-like governance of transactions via cooperatives affect the quality and safety management system of the members. The research employed case studies in four cooperatives in Belgium and the Netherlands, each with different size and per cent of contractual sales. Data was collected with a diagnostic tool for assessment of food safety management systems (FSMS) on the farms, and semi-structured interviews with the quality assurance managers of the cooperative firms. Twenty-eight strawberry farms were assessed with the diagnostic tool, seven per each cooperative. Cooperatives play a double role in managing quality and safety in the food supply chain. They are responsible for the supply chain management, including tactical decisions about coordination of quality and safety requirements between customers, cooperative firms and their farmers. At the same time, they are selling the products of their members and make strategic decisions about the governance of transactions in the supply chain, which ultimately may have an impact on the supply chain management and the FSMS on the farms. Farmers in cooperatives with more hierarchical relationships showed better operation of control activities (score 3), and advanced assurance activities at score 4 (advanced level), more science-based, adapted and tested for their effectiveness. This was associated with more effort put in supply chain management by the cooperative to support collaboration and coordination in the chain. However, the largest cooperative had moderate scores for several key control functions, suggesting that large cooperatives with complex business functions may suffer from lower commitment of members, leading to lower FSMS performance at farms.

The role of cooperatives in food safety management of fresh produce chains: Case studies in four strawberry cooperatives. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283944735_The_role_of_cooperatives_in_food_safety_management_of_fresh_produce_chains_Case_studies_in_four_strawberry_cooperatives [accessed Dec 22, 2015].
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-308
JournalFood Control
Volume62
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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