G. GJECI1 , Y. BICOKU2 and D. IMAMI3
1 Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration, 1001 Tirana, Albania
2 Agricultural University of Tirana, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment. Kodèr Kamèz, 1029 Tirana, Albania
3 Agricultural University of Tirana, Faculty of Economics and Agribusiness. Kodèr Kamèz, 1029 Tirana, Albania
GJECI , G., Y. BICOKU and D. IMAMI, 2016. Awareness about food safety and animal health standards – the case of dairy cattle in Albania. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 22: 339–345
The objective of this exploratory study was to assess Albanian farmers’ awareness about food safety standards. More specifically, the authors focused on farmers’ awareness of the food safety institutional framework, national food safety standards, and basic animal welfare. Farmers’ lack of awareness is likely a contributing factor to food standards not being met in most cases. A structured questionnaire-based study was conducted to assess farmers’ general knowledge about the food safety aspects of farm practices. Some aspects of farmers’ lack of awareness follow. In one example, about 87 percent of respondents stated that they have no cooling tank for storing milk, which is a prerequisite for meeting milk safety and quality standards. Most farmers were also found to be unaware of the institutions responsible for food safety and animal health control. A surprising 1/3 of the farmers surveyed stated that they rarely or never use ear tags to identify their own animals. Based on these and other findings, extension and veterinary services must plan and implement farmer awareness development activities. They also need to commence teaching and training programs for dairy farmers, specifically targeted at improving safety standards at farm level. Finally, public and donors’ farmer support schemes should be strongly linked to the implementation of food safety standards.