Primary products and food
Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA) Quality Seal Guidelines – Fruit–vegetables–table potatoes
The AMA Quality Seal Guidelines describe a voluntary quality assurance system for agricultural primary production and processing, and regulate essential production, labelling and documentation steps and measures for ensuring high levels of hygiene. The guidelines are broken down into production regulations for primary production and production regulations for processing.
Food bearing the AMA quality seal has to comply with the legal provisions, the relevant guidelines related to the product laid down in the Austrian Food Code (an objective description of consumer expectations) and the specific criteria set out in the relevant AMA Quality Seal Guidelines. In addition to ‘good manufacturing practice’ and consumer health protection measures (e.g. HAACP), the AMA quality seal also lays down specific hygiene requirements in order to ensure increased levels of hygiene in products and production facilities. Since animal protection is an absolute prerequisite for ensuring high food quality, the AMA Quality Seal Guidelines either stipulate particular criteria or at least require compliance with animal protection regulations to be regularly monitored. Food may not contain, consist of or be produced from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or contain ingredients produced from GMOs, which are subject to mandatory labelling pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed. The traceability of the raw materials and food production (processing locations) shall be ensured by appropriate batch labelling and documentation.
The origin of a foodstuff must also be labelled. The indication of origin shall be based on either a region, such as a province/federal state (e.g. Tyrol, Bavaria) or country (e.g. Austria, France), or a general area covering various states or countries (e.g. the Tauern region, the Alps, the EU). The region in which all processing steps take place and from which all the main raw materials of the product being labelled originate shall be deemed the region of origin.
Compliance with the requirements of the AMA Quality Seal Guidelines shall be assessed using a three-stage monitoring system: self-checks carried out by the business itself, external checks by independent monitoring authorities/laboratories approved by AMA Marketing, and supervision of external checks, commissioned directly by AMA Marketing.
Participation in the AMA quality seal programme is voluntary. An agreement must be signed between the farmer or licensee (manufacturer or trader of processed products) and AMA Marketing. The agreement may only be entered into if the result of the initial inspection is positive.
The AMA Quality Seal Guidelines ‘Fruit–vegetables–table potatoes’ regulate essential manufacturing, labelling and documentation steps as well as measures to ensure a high level of hygiene and quality for fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh table potatoes and peeled, cut (e.g. soup vegetables), processed and packaged products (e.g fresh-cut convenience) and mushrooms.
Furthermore, there are additional modules in which companies can participate and which contain additional requirements to the basic ones.