Hamburg seeks HACCP certification for market hall

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March 15, 2007

One of Germany's leading wholesale markets is introducing food safety and hygiene measures that will enable it to obtain HACCP certification. According to Wolf Rohde, managing director of Hamburg Wholesale Market, approximately 50 companies trading within Germany's largest most important market have now achieved HACCP accreditation and various certifications. But as the EU law defines wholesale markets as 'food companies within which other food companies operate', Mr Rohde believes that the market must go one step further and support the efforts of its members by seeking HACCP accreditation certification itself. "EU law places the management of a wholesale market on the same level as it would a businessman responsible for a company," says Mr Rohde. "This means that the wholesale market itself is also to a certain degree responsible for the quality of a product on its way from the grower to the end consumer and as such, it must take similar care to the companies operating within it when it comes to the introduction of food safety and hygiene regulations." To date, the wholesale market has already organised the traffic routes and general infrastructure in such a way that they will not hamper the efforts of the 472 250 food stuff companies operating within the market to obtain HACCP certification. Further measures have been introduced to reassess cleaning processes and intervals between cleaning; to step up dust removal; to remove flaking paint on the roof ceiling of the market hall; to ban the use of vehicles with combustion engines inside the market hall and to revise internal working procedures. Furthermore a total ban on smoking has now been applied is planned to the market hall area. "The HACCP concept will be discussed in detail as the next World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM) conference in Turin in April," notes Mr Rohde. "Papers on this topic will be delivered by several different speakers. Hamburg Market is happy to develop and promote a concept, then share this with other WUWM wholesale market members in the future." Meanwhile, Hamburg Wholesale Market plans to continue and indeed step up the successful promotional activities it has undertaken in recent years in street markets in and around Hamburg. The work has resulted in closer co-operation with the Federal Association of Market Traders and Showmen in Germany (BSM), the major body representing the interests of the market trade. BSM has now in turn become a member of the WUWM. Mr Rohde says that the WUWM has also increased its involvement with the retail sector. For example, its International Retail Working Group has introduced new strategies for approaching and involving retail associations and organisations, with joint activities now being prepared. Hamburg Wholesale Market is an active member of this working group and acted as a host for the last meeting in mid-December 2006. Hamburg Wholesale Market was built on its current site in the Hammerbrook district of Hamburg in 1962. Because it offers a wide variety of produce and is centrally located, the market claims that its catchment area extends beyond Hamburg and into Schleswig-Holstein, parts of Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, as well as into western Poland and southern Scandinavia. The sites covers 283,000m² and its market hall offers 50,260m² of wholesaling space. A further 41,832m² of space is available outside for produce handling. There are 472 firms located at the market, who together achieve an annual turnover of Euros 2.1bn and a volume turnover of 2m tonnes. The market estimates that it has 4,500 customers and a catchment area of 15m consumers.