Microbiological safety and quality aspects of the short supply chain – SWOT analysis of the Belgian case study

Claire Verraes, Mieke Uyttendaele, Antoine Clinquart, Georges Daube, Marianne Sindic, Dirk Berkvens, Lieve Herman

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review



In recent years consumers in Belgium have shown a great interest for foods from the short supply chain. The difference with the conventional chain is that in the short supply chain the primary products are locally processed and sold directly by the producer to the consumer. The short supply chain has different microbiological quality and safety aspects in comparison with the conventional chain. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate these aspects.

The methodology consists of analyzing the available scientific literature and results of microbiological analyses on foods from the short supply chain.

The main findings were that Listeria monocytogenes was frequently detected (15 percent) in sampled raw dairy products whereas Salmonella was not isolated in 1,023 samples. Human pathogenic vero (cyto) toxin-producing Escherichia coli and Campylobacter spp. are potential hazards, in particular for products that are not thermally treated. Data with regard to E. coli counts showed a greater variability in products from the short supply chain compared to the conventional chain.
Research limitations/implications

The paper discusses strengths and weaknesses with impact on microbial quality and safety in operation of food safety management in the short supply chain vs the conventional chain.

This is the first paper that assesses the risks from the short supply chain vs the conventional chain and that makes recommendations for operators in the short supply chain.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)2250-2264
Publication statusPublished - 7-Sep-2015

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