QA slaughter standard will sharpen Denmark's competitive edge

DENMARK - Consistent quality products and a fully traceable production chain has given the Danes the leading edge on the global stage. Two million tonnes of pork and bacon products are exported each year, a colossal 90 per cent of Denmark's total production. However, as markets have evolved, consumer demands have changed and the Danish brand - a world reknowned symbol of value and assurance - is finding it a little more difficult to stand out from the crowd, says PigSite Editor Jane Jordan.
calendar icon 22 June 2007
clock icon 4 minute read

Legislation, traceability requirements and an increasing number of quality assured schemes have flooded the pigmeat market - namely to secure market share and assure consumers that certain welfare and food safety standards are implemented throughout the production phase. Few, however, reflect the high quality standards practiced during the slaughter, processing and cutting stages.

And it's here where the Danish Meat Association (DMA) believe it can gain ground and raise its products' competitive edge.

It has launched a Global Red Meat Standard - an independently audited assurance scheme that delivers EN45011 certified standards for the slaughter, boning, cutting and sale of meat and meat products.

GRMS covers all aspects of slaughter processing including: transport, lairage, stunning, sticking, bleeding, boning, cutting and the handling of meat and meat products.

Denamark's processing sector now has its own quality standard. GRMS will give it a competitive advantage in the world market place.

Henrik Lauritsen, DMA Quality Assurance Manager says that until now many standards have focused on pig production techniques - how the animals are raised, their health and the environment and systems used on farms. The slaughtering side, although a critical part of the quality equation, has never had specific recognition. The Global Red Meat Standard (GRMS) fulfils this obligation and will be a key element of the Danish brand.

"As an industry we have a very strong commitment to quality production throughout the production chain. We have used the Danish Product Standard and Danish Crown Code of Practice for a long time, but there has never been a specific standard tailored to the slaughter and processing sector, "says Mr Lauritsen.

First for slaughter sector

Henrik Lauritsen, Quality Assurance Manager, DMA

He believes the GRMS is the first standard of its kind and will gives DMA's processing business a significant market advantage. The standard embraces the many QA requirements demanded by the Danish pig industry's global customer base; pulling them together under one comprehensive set of rules.

"The needs of one market are not always the same as another, because some customers are more discerning than others. By developing GRMS, we can satisfy all of our customers worldwide, with every product we sell to them," says Mr Lauritsen.

DMA may own the logo and the concept, but it says it will not alienate other processors from using it.

"This is an open standard and any business that wants to adopt it will be encouraged to do so, providing they meet DMA criteria," said Mr Lauritsen.

He says that promoting QA awareness and raising standards throughout the slaughter and processing sector is a positive move.

Under the standard abattoirs will have to comply with a stringent set of rules that deliver EN 45011 standards at every stage. It will be inspected independently by internationally accredited auditors - the scheme has been endorsed by UKAS - that are DMA approved.

Audit and certification protocols include:

GRMS is a comprehensive QA standard that covers all elements of slaughter and processing - starting at the lairage through to product packing and sale.
  • the evaluation of the company's quality management systems, process management and production monitoring systems, product specification criteria, product recall procedures, and complaints procedures etc
  • inspections of the site/premises its layout and the equipment used, its animal handling and welfare facilities, hygiene controls and cleaning procedures, equipment calibration, product handling, packaging and traceability etc
  • the assessment of HACCP systems, personnel skills, staff training and the management of external visitors and labour, etc.
Complete audits will usually be required every three years, with surveillance inspections annually. However, failure to comply with standards may involve repeat audits. Costs will depend on the certification body appointed.

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