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Efficient quality scheme - effective sanctions

No quality scheme can gain confidence and work reliably without imposing effective sanctions in the event of violations. An independent sanction procedure is therefore also an important component in the QS scheme in order to strengthen the confidence of all scheme participants in the common goal of safe food - even if almost 98 percent of all QS audits remain without complaints.

The sanctions work in different directions: For example, the consistent penalisation of violations strengthens the awareness that each scheme participant in the QS network can rely on the performance of the other. In addition, the sanctions also benefit the QS Science Funds, which specifically promote research projects and scientific investigations in the areas of food safety, quality assurance and animal welfare. This benefits the entire industry and consumers alike. Last but not least, a consistent sanction procedure also has a deterrent effect in order to prevent intentional violations of the QS requirements in advance.

Sanction procedures for serious violations of the QS requirements

Serious violations of the QS requirements are not without consequences. The incidents are consistently dealt with in sanction procedures. An independent sanction board, chaired by a judge, will discuss the violations with a lawyer and experts. The results of QS audits and monitoring programmes primarily serve as the basis for the assessment. In addition, the QS scheme participant concerned will in any case be given the opportunity to submit a written statement on the violations found, which will also be used by the experts for decision-making. It is important to note that the sanction board always decides on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the individual circumstances, i.e. there is no fixed catalogue of sanctions.

The sanctions imposed by the sanction board can be reprimands, temporary suspensions of the QS scheme, an increase in the audit frequency or contractual penalties of up to 50,000 euros. Repeated violations may even lead to exclusion from the QS scheme, which can have considerable disadvantages for the positioning in the market.


Reasonable use of sanction payments: Funding for research

Sanctions serve another good cause: The contractual penalties flow into the QS Science Funds which are recognized as non-profit-making. These support research projects, scientific studies and further education, final theses (doctoral, diploma and master's theses) as well as young researchers in the fields of food safety, sustainability, animal health and animal welfare. One of the decisive factors for obtaining funding from the Science Funds is the high relevance of the research project for economic operators in the agricultural and food industry. An independent board of directors decides on the allocation of funds. Projects currently supported or completed by the QS Science Funds can be viewed here (only in German).

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