October 24, 2003



Dutch's Pigmeat Quality Assurance System Exceeds Expectation


In Holland, the Dutch system for quality assurance in pig meat is overtaking the standards laid down by officials, according to a new report. An analysis of the Dutch IKB quality assurance system for pig meat presented by the Product Boards for Livestock, Meat and Eggs (PVE) at the fourth EUREPGAP conference showed that in nearly every respect the requirements at a significantly higher level than the proposed EUREPGAP requirements.


The IKB system for pig meat was introduced in 1992 and since then has continued to expand and improve. The system includes regulations in the areas of food safety, animal health, hygiene, welfare, transport and traceability for every link in the production chain.


More than 90% of Dutch pig meat is now produced in accordance with IKB standards. The IKB system has repeatedly shown that it is one of the best-rated schemes in Europe in past studies.


As part of the EUREPGAP project, standards are being developed for safe and sustainable agriculture. The project was originally launched by the Euro-Retailer Produce Working Group (EUREP). A normative document has been drawn up for agricultural production of fruit and vegetables; a similar document is currently being prepared for animal production.


At the conference Hans Schouwenburg, IKB Project Manager at the PVE, presented a comparison between the IKB requirements and the proposed EUREPGAP criteria.


He showed that the IKB system imposes much more rigorous requirements than EUREPGAP in relation to hygiene, pig housing and controlling the use of veterinary medicines. EUREPGAP includes several requirements in the area of social policy and environmental protection that are not covered under IKB. The Dutch legislation indeed appears to meet the EUREPGAP requirements easily.


The Dutch pig industry welcomes international co-operation in the area of quality control. In November, the industry will look at how it can help develop the EUREPGAP criteria further, the PVE said.