• Processing and marketing organic coffee - the audit trail


    Not only coffee cultivation, but also all subsequent steps in the production chain have to be certified. On-farm processing, storage, transport, export processing, shipping, export, import, roasting, packaging, distribution and retailing all have to be certified organic. Contact with conventionally produced coffee must be excluded and so there has to be a separation in space and/or time. Spraying or fumigation with toxic agents is never permitted and special measures must be taken to prevent contact with areas where fumigation has taken place. Adequate records are to be kept of incoming and outgoing coffee so that the entire product flow can be documented and accounted for, often referred to as traceability. All the steps in the chain should therefore be documented and administered in a way that makes it possible to trace back the origin of the product from one step to the next (track and trace), ensuring that no contamination with conventional coffee has occurred. This traceability minimizes the risk of fraud at all stages and is a very important part of the inspection process by certifying organizations. The flavouring of roasted coffee is permitted when natural flavouring substances or preparations are used. For packaging roasted coffee, flushing with nitrogen or carbon dioxide is permitted. For the decaffeination of coffee, chemical solvents (e.g. methylene chloride) are not permitted, but the water method or the supercritical carbon dioxide method (the CO2 method) may be used.

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