Danish meat inspections at abattoirs and veterinary inspections at farms are among the most stringent in the world. This is an important factor in meeting consumers’ expectations of safe and healthy food.
A key reason why Danish Crown has grown so large on the world market is that we have been able to maintain a high level of food safety and quality in our production and products.
Our ability to keep highly infectious diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease, out of Denmark is part of the foundation of our export agreements around the world. That is also why we are closely monitoring the situation with African swine fever, which has never been observed in Denmark.
A wide range of precautions have been implemented to prevent outbreaks of the disease in Denmark. For example, all vehicles arriving from risk areas have to be washed before crossing the border. We also conduct information campaigns at rest areas in the border region, informing people about the risk of contagion.
Our facilities are designed to ensure optimum meat processing and our workers undergo hygiene training, to ensure that production takes place at a high level of hygiene. To document this, a well-developed and continuously updated self-inspection system has been implemented, which is monitored by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.
The incidence of salmonella in fresh meat from Denmark is among the lowest in the world. This has been achieved through targeted efforts on farms and in abattoirs.
Salmonella action plan at farms
All Danish Crown’s pig and sow suppliers are covered by a salmonella action plan. This aims to minimise the occurrence of salmonella as far as possible in herds, while also focusing on top hygiene at the abattoirs. As a result, the incidence of salmonella in fresh meat has been reduced to a very low level over the years, which very few countries in the world can match.
In order to continue this positive trend, the aim is to reduce the natural incidence of salmonella in herds to a minimum. To help achieve this aim, routine meat juice samples are taken which show the salmonella status for the herds. These allow each herd owner to take the necessary steps 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