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'Traceability' theme of successful 'Berliner Runde'

by 5m Editor
4 December 2003, at 12:00am

NETHERLANDS – The Dutch Meat Board recently invited experts from the German and Dutch meat industries to take part in discussions in Berlin. This was the fourth time such a meeting had been held.

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The theme of this year's 'Berliner Runde' was 'traceability of pigmeat'. One year before EU Regulation 178/2002 (the “General Food Law“) comes into effect, this subject is a very topical one and prompted a very lively debate among the various participants.

A reliable system of traceability can chiefly be regarded as an important tool for ensuring active consumer protection and for limiting damage in the event of a crisis. The traceability requirements in the General Food Law are very broadly worded at the moment. To prevent unfair competition, these really need to be defined in more detail. Businesses can then base their own systems on these requirements. People taking part in the discussion session felt that efforts in this area should concentrate on establishing maximum time spans and batch sizes. To ensure that the tracing system functions effectively, however, the most important factors are that businesses should work with reliable suppliers and that they are able to easily find out about the origin of ingredients used, should the occasion arise. In the case of slaughterhouses, for instance, this means that they should know where the animals received for slaughter come from. This is guaranteed in the Dutch pig industry, as all pigs are fitted with a metal ear tag bearing the holding number and a serial number shortly before being dispatched to the slaughterhouse.

The annual Berliner Runde, together with the International Round Table Conference, is one of the initiatives of the Dutch meat industry to promote an on-going dialogue with buyers and retailers. Events like these enable the Dutch industry to respond to changing market demands.

Source: Dutch Meat Board - 4th December 2003

5m Editor