Accreditation and certification in the fields of organic production, GI and GlobalGap


In the period between 29th August and 9th September, a study tour was carried out and Germany, Austria and Switzerland were visited on that occasion as part of Swiss-Serbian Cooperation TCP 2009-2012 and German-Serbian Cooperation 2010. It was organised by Agidea (Swiss Association for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas) ...

and GTZ (German Organization for Technical Cooperation). The topic of the study tour was “Accreditation and certification in the field of organic production, GlobalGap and Geographical indications (GI)”.

Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Accreditation Board of Serbia - ATS, Intellectual Property Institute, SEEDEV, as the coordinator of the Swiss-Serbian Cooperation TCP 2009-2012 and its partners, and representatives of GTZ organizers had an opportunity to get introduced, during this extremely interesting and well planned study tour, to different systems of conformity assessment and inspection in the fields of organic production, quality control schemes in the field of  GlobalGap and GI, and accreditation system.

Owing to the support of German-Serbian Cooperation 2010, a part of the study tour was organised in Germany and Austria with the aim of supporting the endeavours of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management (MAFWM) of the Republic of Serbia and national accreditation body to establish a control system in the field of organic production and conformity assessment (certification of organic products) in accordance with the EU harmonised requirements (834/2007 and 889/2008) and national legislation (Law on Organic Production, Action Plan on Organic Production). Visits to the German Accreditation Body (DakkS) and certification bodies in Germany and Austria (GfRS and SLK) certifying organic products as per EN 45011 were organised as part of the study tour and helped trainees understand systems of accreditation and control of organic production, and certification of organic products. A special emphasis was on the work of competent authority that would be established by the MAFWM to enforce the Law on Organic Production. Moreover, on 12th July the Accreditation Board of Serbia awarded the first accreditation certificate to a certification body certifying products in the field of organic production, “Evrocert”, in Belgrade.

Part of the study that was carried out in Switzerland as part of the Swiss-Serbian Cooperation TCP 2009-2012 Programme, and it aimed at introducing the delegates to the system of accreditation and certification in the field of organic production, GI and GlobalGap. Introduction to the elements of quality infrastructure in Switzerland in the field of agriculture should help development of new schemes of accreditation in the field of accreditation of certification bodies certifying products with GI, and schemes of CAB accreditation (certification and inspection bodies) in the domain of application of voluntary standards (GlobalGap).

The Swiss model uses services of certification bodies (accredited as per EN 45011) and inspection bodies (accredited as per ISO/IEC 17020) for the needs of certification and inspection of SWISSGAP system in relation to different level of control depending on the type of products or item under inspection. In the field of organic production and GI certification is performed by accredited certification bodies certifying products (EN 45011) that can subcontract the services of inspection bodies for the purpose of certification. 27 agricultural products have been protected in Switzerland (19 PDOs and 8 PGIs) until now, whereas most of them are milk and meat products. It is interesting to note that the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, FDEA, (Federal Office for Agriculture - FOAG) included accredited inspection bodies (ISO/IEC 17020) in control of direct payment system, i.e. subsidies to agricultural producers. 1993 Agricultural Policy Reform made direct payments dependant on fulfilment of requirements of certain standards in production (ecological production - PER, application of principles of integration - PI, animal welfare, environmental protection,...), and inspection bodies using competent assessors that are at the same time farmers shall be contracted to enforce requested standards. Swiss Accreditation Body (SAS) has accredited 30 inspection bodies so far (ISO/IEC 17020) in the field of PER, SwissGAP; 12 testing laboratories (ISO/IEC 17025) for sampling and testing of soil and water; and 8 certification bodies certifying products (EN 45011).

After the study tour, the ATS will, in cooperation with GTZ and Agridea, this successful cooperation will be continued by organising training sessions and seminars for assessors in the field of agriculture (organic production, GI and GlobalGap), and by providing advice on the occasion of establishment of new schemes of accreditation.