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