Press Releases

• August 17, 2010 - Novelle Consulting Launches New Website
• August 16, 2010 - Erich Hinrichs and John Musser Join Novelle Consulting
• August 1, 2006 - Novelle Principal Awarded Presidential Volunteer Service Award
• December 20, 2005- Sonora State, Mexico Completes Phase I of Development Plan
• April 26, 2005 - PMA Addresses Consumption, Industry Trends with Retailers, Growers in Mexico
• April 18, 2005 - Novelle Assists State of Sonora in Five Year Plan
• June 3, 2004 - BC Hot House Chairman Al Vangelos Elected Russian Farm Project's Chairman of the Board

Novelle in the media

• April 22, 2009, The Packer - Vangelos named Produce Man for All Seasons
• April 10, 2006, The Produce News - Novelle Takes on Winogrond and Obregon as Two Senior Principals
• April 6, 2006, FreshPlaza - Novelle Adds Two New Senior Principals; Obregon and Winogrond
• July, 2005, Productores de Hortalizas - Agronegocios en Sonora
• May 1, 2005, The Produce News - Symposium Shines Spotlight on Sonora Agriculture

on the move

Novelle and Food Safety in Southeast Asia
Novelle and the Gates Foundation
Novelle and the World Bank in Malaysia
Novelle in Southern Sudan
Novelle in Georgia
Novelle in Indonesia
Novelle in Egypt
Novelle in Guatemala
Novelle in Central America
Novelle Consulting in Zambia
Novelle Consulting in the Balkans
Novelle's Indonesian Assignment
Novelle in Southern Africa
Novelle in former Soviet Union
Novelle and Work in Colombia
Bananas in Bangladesh
Vegetables in Moldova
Packing Plant in Moldova
Quality Control in Moldova

white papers

Fairtrade
Novelle Consulting and EUREPGAP
Moscow Supermarket Industry
The 5-Year Agricultural Business Development Plan for Sonora, Mexico
Marketing of Horticultural Produce in Asia-From Sonora Symposium

white paper


Novelle Consulting and EUREPGAP
By: Henry R. Winogrond

In 1997, a group of major European supermarket chains and large international food companies formed an organization that was designed to deal directly with mounting consumer concerns in the area of food safety. Increasing cases of BSE (mad cow disease), widespread pesticide use, and the alarming news about the spread of GMO products had all led to an unending stream of what the retailers and food producers could only consider very bad publicity. They then formed EUREPGAP, an organization that would be a private, self-regulating body that would establish good agricultural practices (GAP), that could be examined and certified, and would have the effect of not only actually improving agricultural practices, but also allay the rising consumer concerns, if mixed with the correct amount of public relations.

EUREPGAP was originally aimed at the companies exporting into the EU, but the organization has grown far more quickly than had been anticipated, and now has become a de facto controlling body for the establishment of sanitary and phytosanitary standards for any company wishing to sell food products into the EU. As of the end of 2002, EUREPGAP had 25 major retailing chains as members, 69 suppliers (including all of the largest food companies, such as Nestle, Kraft, McDonalds, etc.), and 49 associate companies, those providing inputs and services to the food business. There are now 44 Certification Bodies, of which nearly all are in Europe, but there are also Bodies in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa, Egypt, and the U.S. (Primus Labs). Another 16 companies have applied for approval as a Certification Body, and all of these are in Europe, with the exception of one in Costa Rica and one in Australia. Though the original focus of EUREPGAP was toward offshore producers, to date of the 3,889 growers in 20 countries that have been certified, more than 50% of the acres are in Holland and more than 20% are in Spain. It is also interesting to note that though much of the original focus was on fruits and vegetables, EUREPGAP has now developed standards for Flowers and Ornamentals, Aquaculture, and green Coffee.

The heart of EUREPGAP certification lies in the grower’s position on 254 questions. Of these, 41 are regarded as “major musts”, and absolutely must be complied with, without exception. Another 122 are classified as “minor musts”, and the last 91 subjects are regarded as things that the growers “should” do. Within the “major must” category are areas such as fertilizer storage controls, pesticide application records and residue analysis, ground water and wash tank water safety, worker safety standards, etc. For farmers in the U.S. that are already conscientious of good practices and complying with all federal and state regulations, EUREPGAP certification is more a matter of improved record keeping than significant changes in farm practices.

In July of 2004, Henry Winogrond, a Novelle principal, spent a month in Croatia working on a USAID project that was designed to investigate the general level of “compliance” with EUREPGAP standards among the Croatian farmers, and to recommend a 3-4 year program that will assist these farmers in moving toward compliance, as it is anticipated that Croatia will become a EU member by 2007-2008, and the Croatian farmers will have to meet these standards if they wish to sell their products within the EU.

Mr. Winogrond traveled to 10 out of the 21 counties in Croatia, and found that, though the Dalmatian coast of Croatia is a beautiful area and has a highly developed tourist infrastructure, the agricultural sector is still undeveloped, with a large number of the farmers at a stage that is just post-mechanization. The country still suffers visibly from the effects of the several decades of communism, and the devastating Balkan wars of the 1990s. However, it has now been peaceful for 5-6 years, and the farmers are eager to rebuild and modernized. It was interesting that no one in the country was interested in or concerned about EUREPGAP compliance (or compliance with local Sanitary/Phytosanitary standards, for that matter), as there was a significant shortage of nearly every fruit and vegetable product, and the local market was badly under-supplied. Their only interest was to grow as much product as they could, for the least investment possible. However, there were some forward looking growers who knew that conformance with these standards was definitely in their future, and they were eager to cooperate with programs that would lead them in this direction. Based upon the recommendations made by Mr. Winogrond, USAID will begin programs in three sectors of the country, working with major growers, wholesalers, cooperatives, and supermarket chains, and a 24 month pilot program will be established that will tackle approximately 10 of the “major musts” each six months, so that these willing participants will actually be able to be certified at the end of the two years. It is then expected that when the other farmers see their neighbors begin to export to their neighboring countries that are now EU members and requiring EUREPGAP conformance (such as Hungary and Slovenia), they will also move to enter the program.