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Thursday, one of Germany's biggest producers of cold cuts has announced that they are launching a range based on Danish antibiotic-free (ABF) meat from Danish Crown. The announcement was made at the International Green Week Berlin exhibition, where the family-owned company Reinert from North Rhine-Westphalia attracted considerable attention from the German media.

- Denmark and Danish Crown are leading the way when it comes to reducing the use of antibiotics. Our market surveys show that many German consumers are concerned about antibiotic resistance. We're therefore launching a range of cold cuts where the meat comes from pigs which have never been treated with antibiotics, and at the same time we're urging the entire meat industry to discuss how we can address the challenges associated with the use of antibiotics, said the company's CEO Hans-Ewald Reinert at the presentation.

Just over three years ago, Danish Crown launched a pilot project on the Danish island of Bornholm, which was designed to establish the extent to which it is possible to rear pigs without the use of antibiotics and without compromising animal welfare. The project has demonstrated that by changing a number of routines in the pig buildings 60 per cent of pigs manage without being treated with antibiotics.

From the outset, there was a lot of interest in both the production methods and the meat, particularly from the USA. Danish Crown therefore decided to speed up the project. In 2017, almost 200,000 ABF pigs were slaughtered, but selling all parts of the pig has been a challenge.

- The launch by Reinert of a range of products based on raw materials from Danish Crown marks a breakthrough for our ABF production. The company supplies all the major retail chains in Germany, and it's agreements like this that can really drive change in the future, says Jais Valeur, Group CEO of Danish Crown.

In Denmark, the use of antibiotics in pig production has fallen by more than 15 per cent since 2013. In Germany, the picture is quite different. Here, antibiotics use is double what it is in Denmark.

- This is a pat on the back for all Danish farmers. Danish agriculture is generally held in high regard worldwide, not least because of the willingness of Danish farmers – time and again – to explore new avenues and develop their farm operations, says Søren Tinggaard, Associate Vice President, Export, Danish Crown Pork, who is responsible for the ABF pork project.

Reinert expects the new product range to hit the shelves in German supermarkets by early summer.