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Integrated Quality Assurance and Control in Swine Production



Tielen Martin J.M.
Animal Health Service in the Netherlands
Postbox 4
5280 AA Boxtel
the Netherlands
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University Utrecht, the Netherlands

Pork Quality is not longer only a question of commercial quality such as ham shape, meat/fat ratio, colour and taste. More and more the government and the consumer are interested in the safety of the product and the welfare of the animals during lifetime. To control the product safety on the product in the slaughterhouses and the retail is very expensive and has restricted value. Therefore there is a need for information about the health status and treatments of the animals during production . The welfare of animals is very strongly influenced by the housing and handling during production and can not be measured on the product in the slaughterhouse. Therefore again there is a need of information about the housing and management conditions during production to give the assurance about optimal welfare. This development has lead to the set up of Integrated Quality Control Systems for the complete production chain. The target of this system is to assure the consumer, that he can buy pork with a high meat quality, with no risks for his health and produced by animals with a good health and welfare during lifetime.

To achieve this target it is necessary to set up first at all minimum requirement for all the links in the production chain from birth to bred. Succeeding you have to set up a administration system, in which all participants register there activities and give guaranties to meet the IQC-requirements. But still you have to control the participants based on the administration system and the actual situation in the field. For the cases of deviations you need a system of intervention for adjustment. Producers with deviations have to be placed in a group, who becomes special attention. They are forced by advice or punishment to improve the situation. It can be necessary to put them in a intensive meat inspection system, what brings extra costs for the producer. At the end it can be necessary in incidental cases to quit the producer out of the IQC.

The experiences with Integrated Quality Control in swine production in the Netherlands are positive. Over 80 percent of the production is already in the IQC. The system has a great education value for all participants. The registration and administration gives clear insight in the weak points in production. In comparisons each time IQC- herds have better health status and production results then not IQC- herds. But still there is a big difference between the individual farms. Therefore herd analyses and examinations by veterinarians and extension workers are important to find out the problem sources and to give advice for improvements. Thereby attention should especially be focused on the worst part of the group. At the other side the better group could be stimulated to maintain the good status by simplifying the control and the inspection, what can reduce producers costs.

Summary of a lecture on Workshop 3 " Product Safety and Quality Assurance" of the Research Consortium Sustainable Animal Production , 21-24 June 2000, Vechta, Germany

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