Risk Assessment for Social Practices in Small Vegetable farms in Poland as a Tool for the Optimization of Quality Management Systems
Globalization of the food market is associated with the possibility of selling products into newer markets. However, it is also associated with the necessity to ensure proper quality products. Quality defined by the ISO 9001:2015 standard consists of factors that are part of customers' expectations concerning the safety of products and the technology of their manufacture. Currently, consumers are looking for products with defined and reproducible sensory properties, in which the content of
... the content of harmful substances is below the critical values specified by legislation. This is observable particularly in developed countries. The second quality factor is the use of a production technology where negative environmental impacts are reduced. Recently, issues associated with protecting workers' rights and social needs have also become very important. In successive versions of quality management systems, such as GLOBAL G.A.P. or SAI Platform, social issues are becoming more and more important. The aim of this study was to assess the role of risk analysis for social practices in small farms in building a quality management system. Surveys were conducted in 2018. The surveys covered 62 vegetables or fruit farms with a cultivated area of up to 20 ha. Their lack of staff was due to the character of production. Where mechanic production is possible in small farms, family members can secure workforce demand. To achieve the research objective, a risk analysis was carried out for the implementation of social practices according to the guidelines of the ISO 31000:2018 standard. The criteria and inventory of identified risks were carried out, based on the guidelines of GLOBAL G.A.P. Risk Assessments on Social Practice (GRASP). Based on the identified risks, the areas relating to social practices, which require improvement in order to satisfy compliance with the GLOBAL G.A.P. standard, were indicated. The results of the conducted research pointed to a high risk of good social practices not being carried out and not meeting compliance with the requirements of the GLOBAL G.A.P. standard. The most important identified problems are associated with the deficiency of competent workers as well as the lack of facilities where workers can rest, eat and drink. A considerable problem is the conformity of employment contracts with local legislation and ensuring that work time and rest time are consistent with the law. In conditions of small farms in Poland, the problem with ensuring compliance with the standard in question is often the small number of workers. Creating an organized quality management system in the area of social practices is difficult in these cases, and sometimes even impossible.