QAFP, i.e. the Quality Assurance for Food Products system, applicable to different product categories, is a food quality programme created in 2009. It was established due to the dynamic development of the meat production sector, based on new market trends observed, as a response to the growing demands of modern consumers with regard to the food sector. QAFP implements the EU concept of full transparency of the production chain, based on strict standards, with the aim to produce a high-quality repeatable product with an excellent taste.
Works on the first trade journal for the poultry sector focusing on the QAFP system commenced in 2010 at the initiative of the National Poultry Council – Chamber of Commerce (KRD-IG), whose tasks include, among others, stimulating progress in farming and production in the poultry sector. Its objectives were established by experts from leading academic centres in Poland (i.e. Warsaw University of Life Sciences, National Research Institute of Animal Production in Kraków and University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn). The QAFP system was also developed in collaboration with specialists from the sector, including academic staff from the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn and the National Research Institute of Animal Production – Experimental Unit in Kołuda Wielka, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and quality assurance specialists from selected poultry production plants. The programme was officially approved in January 2011.
The basis for the establishment of the QAFP (Quality Assurance for Food Products) system are two concepts of poultry production management:
- the EU’s “farm to fork” philosophy, which guarantees that consumers receive a high-quality product with an excellent taste;
- constant veterinary supervision at all stages of poultry production.
The QAFP system applies to three product groups: chicken carcass, breast parts and meat, turkey carcass, breast meat and parts, and young Polish oat-fed goose carcass and parts. System requirements apply to all stages of production, from rearing, feeding and farming conditions, to slaughter, cutting, processing, transport, preparation and packaging, to warehousing and sale. Fulfilment of QAFP criteria confirms high quality and safety for each of the links of the food production chain.
The QAFP quality mark guarantees that throughout the production process an absolute ban applied on using antimicrobial growth promoters or hormones, and that the meat was not injected with any substances or additives. The system puts emphasis on animal welfare, appropriate production infrastructure, ensuring constant veterinary supervision, as well as keeping high hygiene standards with regard to people, technical equipment and vehicles throughout the production process. QAFP requirements also put emphasis on appropriate meat packaging principles. Standardisation of those principles by establishing the right conditions and ensuing ongoing supervision is very important in order to produce a high-quality product. The recommended technique is MAP packing, which minimises bacterial growth at the same time keeping the taste and quality of the meat and extending its shelf life. The labelling process is also important to provide end recipients with detailed information about all stages of the production process.
The creators of the programme also made sure that the unique properties of products bearing the QAFP logo are fully repeatable, which means that the consumer can be sure that the product meets the same strict standards and always has similar properties. Periodic inspections and audits, which are obligatory for all plants applying for or already holding a QAFP certificate, help ensure that the standards are met.
For the end consumer the QAFP logo guarantees that they are buying fresh meat with an excellent taste, which has kept all of its properties and nutrients. An additional benefit is certainty that the production process was carried out according to strict standards and that the meat complies with all safety requirements.