Danish veterinary controls at both farms and abattoirs are among the strictest in the world – and are important for meeting consumer demands for safe and healthy food.
The key to Danish Crown’s success and size in the global market is that we have maintained a high level of food safety and quality in our production and products.
Denmark’s ability to keep highly contagious illnesses, such as foot and mouth disease, out of the country is a cornerstone of our export agreements around the world. That is also why we are right now carefully monitoring developments in African swine fever, which has never been detected in Denmark.
We have enacted a great number of measures to prevent an outbreak of the disease in Denmark. For example, all vehicles entering from risk areas must be washed before crossing the border, while information campaigns at roadside rest stops in border areas explain the risk of spreading the virus.
Companies are geared to ensuring optimal processing of the meat, and personnel undertake hygiene training so that production can be carried out with a high level of hygiene. An extensive and regularly updated in-house control system supervised by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has been launched to ensure this is carefully documented.
Salmonella levels in fresh meat from Denmark are among the lowest in the world – something achieved through the dedicated efforts of farmers and abattoirs.
Salmonella action plan at farms
All Danish Crown’s pig and sow suppliers are subject to a salmonella action plan. The thrust of the plan is to minimise the occurrence of salmonella among herds, while at the same time focusing on top notch hygiene at the abattoirs. Over the years, this has reduced the incidence of salmonella in fresh meat from Denmark to a very low level that only a handful of countries can match.
To maintain this positive trend, we have a goal of reducing the natural occurrence of salmonella in herds to a minimum. To achieve this, routine meat juice samples are taken that show the salmonella status of the herd and so provide the individual herdowner with the basis for undertaking any necessary measures to minimise the problem.
How salmonella is handled in the abattoirs
Two types of salmonella samples are taken in the abattoirs.
Meat juice samples
Meat juice samples are routinely taken from pigs from all herds which annually supply 200 or more pigs. These tests are used to determine each herd’s salmonella level.
If a herd is at level 1, everything is in order. If a herd is at level 2, there is too much salmonella pressure in the herd, and the cooperative member must seek advice to address the problems.
If a herd is at level 3, pigs from the herd will be subject to special slaughtering until the herd’s salmonella level returns to an acceptable level. The cooperative member will also be required to implement a plan to eliminate the salmonella problems.
Special slaughtering means that pigs from level 3 herds are collected and slaughtered separately at the end of the abattoir working day. These livestock are slaughtered with special care, to ensure that the fresh meat is not infected with salmonella bacteria as far as possible.
Fresh meat samples
Salmonella tests are performed on selected carcases in the abattoirs each day to continuously monitor the incidence of salmonella in fresh meat. These tests show whether each abattoir is adhering to the steady trend towards a lower incidence of salmonella in fresh meat. If the samples show a rising incidence, the slaughter process is analysed and adjusted to ensure the incidence of salmonella in fresh meat is as low as possible.
The incidence of salmonella in fresh meat from Danish Crown is about 1 per cent – a level that only a few countries in the world can match