Protection of the environment and the health of consumers and farmers is guaranteed by using production, marketing and preparation techniques which
- Minimise the use of agro-chemical products and fertilisers in the production of food.
- Apply processes favouring the diversity of the farming ecosystem, since these respect the local flora and fauna, and encourage measures for conservation of the rural setting and landscape.
- Produce in accordance with techniques which take into account modern technical and scientific knowledge.
- Adapt farming companies to the intensive form of production to ensure economic viability.
Producers, preparers and packers of food are obliged to comply with all the conditions set for technical production standards established for each crop, such as the obligation to provide an exploitation register, and where applicable a post-harvest register, in which the annotations of all the measures carried out on the crop and the products are compiled. This is a way to control the food’s history, from the field to the point of sale (traceability).
Integrated production gives a response to the quality and safety demands for food required by responsible consumers. Integrated production responds to the demand for obtaining high quality agricultural produce by implementing growing practices respecting the environment, using agricultural systems for obtaining vegetables which take the greatest advantage of natural resources and production mechanisms. These ensure sustainable agriculture in the long term, by bringing in biological and chemical control methods, as well as other techniques making compatible the requirements of society, protection of the environment and agricultural productivity. They also involve the operations carried out for the handling, packing, processing and labelling of vegetable products covered by the system (RD 1201/2002, of 20th November regulating integrated production of agricultural products).
The certification process comprises several stages. Any operators interested in obtaining the integrated production certificate for the first time will compulsorily have to make a prior visit to the newly registered plots and centres for handling, packing and processing in the Autonomous Communities of the Valencian Community, Aragon, Murcia, Andalusia, Galicia and Catalonia.
After making the prior audit and issuing the report for this, the operator will have the relevant Official Registration made within a period set by the Administration, including with the documents a copy of the report of eligibility for its exploitation. Audits will be made on both obtaining operators and handling operators (handling, packing, processing and labelling/marketing).
There are two types of certification available: Individual Certification, in which the certification audits will be made on 100% of the individual operators who request this; Grouped Certification, in which the group will have to have a Control System for the Group and the number of producers (sample producers) to be audited will be the equivalent to whichever is higher of √n, where “n” is the number of producers in the group to be certified or 10% of the number of producers in the group to be certified.
In the event of detecting any non-conformity in the audit, the operator will have a 30-natural day period to answer any non-conformities detected, by sending the corrective measures considered appropriate and vouching for their implementation. When the operator has complied with the requisites of the norm the Conformity Certificate in Integrated production will be issued, with concession of the use of the mark.