Increase in global trade raised questions regarding status of food safety management systems in fresh produce companies, especially from developing and emerging countries. The aim of this study was to investigate the status of food safety management systems (FSMSs) implemented at primary production companies of fresh produce, to examine the potential differences between companies operating in European Union (EU) and non-EU (developing and emerging) countries, and to explore the underlying factors. Primary production companies (n=118), located in the EU and in international cooperation partner countries exporting to the EU, were assessed by using a diagnostic tool. The results from the study indicated that several factors have a dominating effect on the status of FSMSs in the global fresh produce chain. International export supply chains promote capacity building within companies in the chain, to answer the stringent requirements of private brand standards. This was shown to be an important factor in emerging and developing countries, where local institutional environments often fail to support companies in setting and implementing their FSMSs. Moreover, the legislative framework in these countries still requires improvements in the establishment and enforcement. All this has negative consequences for the FSMSs in companies supplying the local markets. In companies located in the EU, sector and other produce organisations facilitate the sampling for pesticide residues and collaboration in the sector. Overall, farmers showed less knowledge and overall awareness regarding microbiological hazards, which is related to the less attention paid to these in the current legislation and standards. Furthermore, standards are an important tool to trigger the maturation of the systems as companies that were lacking any pressure to comply to standards operated at a very basic level - with only few activities implemented. The insights from this study indicate the need of stratified measures and policies to support companies in the fresh produce chain in designing and operating their FSMSs according to the institutional environment in which they operate.