Food safety

Within Food safety:

Producing safe and wholesome food is one of Vion’s top priorities. Food safety and quality assurance are embedded in the codes of practice at all Vion production sites. Vion is committed to the ISO 9001 standard for quality-oriented organisations, and all Vion establishments are ISO 9001 certified.

Our work on food safety covers diverse areas and processes:

  • High standards of hygiene during daily operations.
  • Training of personnel.
  • Equipment used.
  • Daily cleaning and disinfection of production areas.
  • Raising the bar for food safety standards by being board members of standard-setting organisations.
  • Conducting scientific research to obtain the latest information and to study possibilities for improvement.

All our sites have incorporated the Vion-HACCP system, When it comes to slaughtering, there are two key principles for assuring food safety and which therefore form the priority objectives in daily operations:

  • Assurance of hygienic processing, with zero-tolerance on contamination from digesta.
  • Prevention of micro-organisms multiplying by controlling the temperature at every stage of production.

To verify compliance with food safety and customer requirements, all production sites are certified according to the rules of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The two food safety private standards we use us are the International Featured Standards Food (IFS Food) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) standard. We publish these and other audit reports, as well as the results of quarterly inspections, on our Dutch and German public websites www.vion-transparantie.nl and www.vion-transparenz.de.

 

Food safety and quality assurance are embedded in the codes of practice at all Vion production sites

Products made from live animals inevitably have micro-organisms present. This is not a risk in itself; it is part of nature. However, monitoring the number of micro-organisms as a KPI does provide a useful indication of our hygienic working practices. Vion based the internal microbiological standard on the number of bacteria from the bacterium-family Enterobacteriacea during the final stages of production; this is the stage at which products have been handled the most. Given the natural variation in bacterial counts and origin of products, it is unlikely for all samples to always comply to our internal standard. However, by committing ourselves to as high a percentage as possible, we can continuously improve our way of working and reduce any microbiological food safety risks. In 2022, we aim for 90% of pork and beef to comply with the Vion internal standard.

To control risks in the supply chain, we require our suppliers to adhere to and certify their activities under a Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) scheme, such as GlobalGAP, the German QS (Qualität und Sicherheit), the Dutch Integrale Keten Beheersing (IKB), or Holland Varken. These schemes have been organised independently and on-farm audits are carried out by independent certification bodies. As a major stakeholder, Vion is committed to contributing to the design and organising of these schemes.

News & Stories

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Listeria

Vion recognises Listeria monocytogenes as a relevant food safety hazard. This means that products and the production environment are routinely monitored for the presence of listeria. Listeria can occur anywhere in the environment and multiply at refrigerator-temperatures. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and immuno-compromised people are especially at risk of illness when eating contaminated foods. Ready-to-eat foods in which listeria can multiply are subjected to a so-called negative release programme: multiple samples of the product are taken from each batch and screened for the presence of listeria. The batch is released only when the bacterium is not detected in the samples.

We took several measures to control COVID-19 in our production premises

COVID-19

We took several measures to control COVID-19 in our production premises. Next to all labour related measures, we also carried out product controls. Vion took multiple samples of packaged products and outer packaging materials in order to check for the absence of COVID-19. The results of this extensive sampling showed that Vion products did not contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

Together with Dutch Universities and the national public health institute, research was carried out to determine the possible spread of COVID-19 through farmed pigs. This research resulted in a scientific paper showing that pigs do not contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in humans (Sikkema et al, 2021. Emerging Microbes & Infections, 11:1, 91-94, DOI:10.1080/22221751.2021.2011625).

News & Stories

Press release
‘ME-AT the alternative’ launches first locally grown protein chain
Press release Press release Press release
First Belgian pigs delivered to organic meat producer De Groene Weg
News
Vion sponsors food packages for refugees from Ukraine 
Press release
Sustainable chains are the future
News
Turbulent year for Vion due to difficult market conditions
Stories
Vion leader in sector for food and drink companies
Press release
Vion Boxtel puts three electric terminal tractors into use
News
Vion introduces virtual cow glasses for animal welfare
News
Vion leader in sector for food and drink companies
News
Vion takes the next step to further reduce its CO2 emissions in food logistics significantly
News
World Steak Challenge – Vion wins two gold and five silver
News
Straw for better pig welfare
News
Vion appoints Tjarda Klimp as CFO
News
Sustainability-linked debt issue
News
Vion Adriaens focuses on short supply chain
    Sales volume from GFSI approved plants (IFS or BRC)
    Sales volume from GFSI approved plants
    2019 99.97 %
    2020 97.7 %
    2021 97.2 %
    % of slaughtered pigs from third-party Good Agricultural Practice Scheme (IKB, QS, GlobalGAP, organic)
    % of slaughtered pigs from third-party Good Agricultural Practice Scheme
    2019 99.5 %
    2020 99.6 %
    2021 100 %
    % of slaughtered cattle from a third-party Good Agricultural Practice Scheme (IKB, QS, GlobalGAP, organic)
    % of slaughtered cattle from a third-party Good Agricultural Practice Scheme
    2019 54 %
    2020 70 %
    2021 66 %
    % compliance with internal Vion microbiological standards for product hygiene
    % compliance with internal Vion microbiological standards for product hygiene
    2019 88 %
    2020 90 %
    2021 85 %

    Clarification of the results

    Our target on sales from GFSI approved plants is 100%. There was a decline in the percentage because we still have one production site that is not GFSI approved. Their sales volume share increased in 2021 compared to 2020, for which the percentage declined slightly.

    The norms applied within the Vion internal microbiological standards for product hygiene are substantially stricter than those required by legislation. This means that legal compliance is guaranteed at all times. Given the natural variation in bacterial counts, it is unlikely that all samplings will always comply to our strict internal standards. However, by striving for a percentage that is as high as possible, we can achieve a continuous improvement in levels of food safety. For both pork and beef, we see a slight negative trend at specific locations. Improvement in this KPI is urged at these locations and will be monitored closely in 2022.

    News & Stories

    Press release
    ‘ME-AT the alternative’ launches first locally grown protein chain
    Press release Press release Press release
    First Belgian pigs delivered to organic meat producer De Groene Weg
    News
    Vion sponsors food packages for refugees from Ukraine 
    Press release
    Sustainable chains are the future
    News
    Turbulent year for Vion due to difficult market conditions
    Stories
    Vion leader in sector for food and drink companies
    Press release
    Vion Boxtel puts three electric terminal tractors into use
    News
    Vion introduces virtual cow glasses for animal welfare
    News
    Vion leader in sector for food and drink companies
    News
    Vion takes the next step to further reduce its CO2 emissions in food logistics significantly
    News
    World Steak Challenge – Vion wins two gold and five silver
    News
    Straw for better pig welfare
    News
    Vion appoints Tjarda Klimp as CFO
    News
    Sustainability-linked debt issue
    News
    Vion Adriaens focuses on short supply chain