Sustainable Development Success Stories

Training and advisory programmes for improving the quality and marketability of frozen food products

Location Hungary (Budapest and Szekesfehervar).
Responsible Organisation United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO);, Food Unit of the Agro-based Industries Branch, Division of Industrial Sectors and Environment Division with funding from the UK Know-How Fund

Description Hungary s food sector is a major employer and foreign exchange earner. To intensify negotiations with the European market, the industry approached UNIDO for cooperation to upgrade their quality standards in order to comply with the European Union s quality requirements through improvement of product quality and the practice of Total Quality Management (TQM). The objective of the programme was to upgrade the technical standards of Hungary s food industry by improving product quality and introducing modern quality management systems.

Issues Addressed The initial project was focused on the frozen food sector, which involves 21 important manufacturing plants. British expertise and training capabilities were employed to enable the Development and Quality Institute of the Frozen Food Industry (DQIFFI) to provide technical support to local companies in order to meet the EU standards. The Szekesfehervar Frozen Food Plc., one of Hungary s largest frozen food producers, served as a demonstration plant for a model system from which others could learn.

Results Achieved The Szekesfehervar unit was accredited to ISO 9002 on 2 February 1995, leading the way for other plants and food sectors. So far, twenty six companies have adopted the TQM model on a self-financed basis and many more have expressed interest. The impact of UNIDO assistance since the early 90s on the future of the country s food industry is products have been analysed. Some 700 Hungarian technicians have been trained on techniques to eliminate hazards (HACCP) in food manufacturing processes. As a follow-up, UNIDO cooperated with the development of the guidelines for good manufacturing practices (GMP) for the whole food industry. The GMP manuals (published in November 1996) should help all food processing operations in Hungary to meet legal, safety and quality standards.

Lessons Learned Based on the Hungarian experience, UNIDO has launched a "Programme for the Improvement of the Quality Standards within the Food Industry" which has already been extended to Sub-Saharan Africa in cooperation with other UN agencies.

Contact Mr. Sergio Miranda-da-Cruz
Agro-based Industries Branch, UNIDO
VIC, P.O. Box 500 1400 Vienna, Austria
Tel. (43 1) 21131 3807
E-mail: smiranda-da-cruz@unido.org