Recent years have seen substantial growth in voluntary certification schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs. An inventory compiled for the Commission in 2010 lists more than 440 different schemes, most of which were established during the last decade.
Certification schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs provide assurance (through a certification mechanism) that certain characteristics or attributes of the product or its production method or system, laid down in specifications, have been observed. They cover a wide range of different initiatives that function at different stages of the food supply chain (pre- or post-farm gate; covering all or part of the food supply chain; affecting all sectors or just one market segment, etc.). They can operate at business-to-business (B2B) level (where the supermarket or processing business is the intended final recipient of the information) or at business-to-consumer (B2C) level. They can use logos although many, especially the B2B schemes, do not.
Examples of some well-know food certification schemes in the UK includes:
Further information on food certification can be found at the following