Vion starts publishing test and audit results

Date: 23-10-2014 Tags:

‘Consumers must be able to rely on the safety of meat’


23 October 2014 – From today Vion in the Netherlands will report on its activities concerning quality, product integrity and animal welfare. The publication of the quality reports on the Vion website (www.vionfood.nl – Dutch) will provide a clear view of the quantity and quality of the meat processed during the previous months, the results of the government inspections and regular audits, and the conditions under which the processing of the meat takes place.

The meat processing supply chain of which Vion is a part, delivers food for millions of consumers on a daily basis. This professional supply chain consists of many links, all of which are interdependent. It is of the greatest importance that the highest possible standards concerning food safety, product integrity and animal welfare are maintained within this supply chain.

‘Consumers must be able to rely on the safety of meat and we recognise the importance of our role in this. For this reason Vion will, from today, open the doors of our Dutch abattoirs so to speak, in order to show everyone how carefully we work, and that we are fully transparent. “I cannot guarantee that there will never be any incidents in the production process. But I can assure everyone that we will always report these ourselves, along with the measures we have taken in order to avoid any repetition. We believe in safe and trustworthy meat. If we find out that incidents are the result of inappropriate behaviour by individuals, action will be taken. The good work of many others will not be frustrated by inappropriate behaviour of individuals,” says Michiel Herkemij, CEO Vion Food.

The publication of the inspection and audit results by Vion fits with the initiatives of the Taskforce Voedselvertrouwen [Trust in Food Taskforce] of Minister Schippers (Health, Welfare and Sport), and Secretary of State Dijksma (Economic Affairs). Other participants in the Taskforce also include the Federation Dutch Food Industry (FNLI), the Dutch Food and Consumer Goods Authority (NVWA), the Central Bureau Foodtrade (CBL) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Organisation Netherlands (LTO). The Taskforce aims to further enhance quality in the sector, and in turn to increase consumers’ trust in the quality of food.

Sectorwide
The data presented today are based on, amongst others, inspections and audits by the NVWA. Other audit reports for example, by Lloyds and Skal, will be integrated into reports published by Vion in due course, once agreement has been reached by all parties about how this will be done. Today, Vion complies with all legal requirements and standards. Vion also complies with additional requirements, established by retailers, foodservice operators and the processing industry concerning food safety, product integrity and animal welfare.

Vion is the first company in the Netherlands to comply with the CBL Integrity module for sustainable meat. The first three sites – Scherpenzeel, Groenlo and Apeldoorn – have in the meantime also been certified by Lloyds, with Vion’s other Dutch sites to follow during the course of this year. Following a recent audit by the US Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS), Vion’s Dutch pig abattoirs have again been approved for the export of fresh pork to the United States, the only sites in the Netherlands to achieve this status.

“Today we have taken an important step on the road to an optimum process of the highest possible quality. I am happy in the knowledge that we are supported in this by parties such as the NVWA, the relevant Ministries, and the food industry. And I hope that everyone within the sector takes their responsibility, to ensure that the consumer can trust the quality of the meat. Although we have already achieved a lot, I am aware that more steps will have to follow before we have secured the highest possible quality within our organisation, and within the supply chain in a sustainable manner. But I am totally confident that this is the right approach”, Herkemij concluded.

Key information of first report
The key information of the quality report which Vion publishes on the website today concerns the number of pigs slaughtered in Vion’s Dutch sites, the inspection data linked to those, and the audits carried out by the NVWA. The equivalent information concerning Vion’s beef processing will follow in due course. In the future, Vion will also publish the NVWA audit reports in their entirety on the website, starting with all 2014 reports. And finally, Vion will publish additional information on the website concerning the registration of incidents during processing, on a monthly basis. This concerns incidents during transport, during processing, and inappropriate behaviour on the shop floor.