Back to overview
9 October 2020

Food safety: the essential contribution of well-monitored meat farming

Belgium is in full control of food safety, traceability and meat quality. The country’s approach emphasises the importance of well-monitored meat farming to guarantee food safety throughout the entire production chain. At all times.

Belgium permanently in control thanks to extensive monitoring system

Belgium’s extensive monitoring system enables the country to tackle unforeseen issues.

  • All +7,000 Belgian pig farms (and their 6.2 million pigs) are officially registered in a central database.
  • Tracking is guaranteed by ear tags, enabling full traceability of the pigs’ origin and movements.
  • Officers of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) inspect he registration, infrastructure and hygiene obligations.
  • Multiple collaboration initiatives guarantee a strong network, enabling the FASFC to detect—and respond to—diseases rapidly

Thanks to its extensive monitoring system, it comes as no surprise that Belgium reacts well to unforeseen issues.

Prevention is key

A national prevention plan has been set up to prevent diseases from spilling over to the domestic pig herd.

Pig farmers must call in the farm veterinarian 3 times a year to conduct a clinical examination of their pigs.

Case: successful ASF approach

Despite an outbreak of African Swine Fever in wild boars, Belgium succeeded in keeping its domestic pigs and captive wild pigs free of ASF contamination—thus keeping all its pork virus-free and suitable for consumption and export. The country’s approach emphasises the importance of well-monitored meat farming to guarantee food safety throughout the entire production chain.

Belgium implemented a comprehensive series of measures to prevent further spread of the disease:

  • Demarcation of an ‘infected zone’ and a ‘buffer zone’. Different fence networks were even put in place.
  • Preventive eradication of the few domestic pigs in the initial infection zone: the products of these pigs did not enter the food chain and were not used in the feed industry.
  • Analyses: obligation for pig farm managers to immediately call in the farm veterinarian when they observe signs of disease in either live or dead pigs. The veterinarian must examine all of the pigs on the holding within 24 hours. From 13 September 2018 to 2 April 2019, all 4,081 blood samples were compliant (negative); furthermore, for several diseases including ASF, an active surveillance system has been set up, in which samples are taken and analysed throughout the entire country.
  • When pigs are introduced into a farm, they undergo a 4-week quarantine period before being allowed to mingle with the herd.

Total transparency is essential

As a result of these strict measures, no domestic pigs were infected. Since August 2019, ongoing surveillance has detected no new cases in wild boar. Thanks to the country’s continuous efforts, the European Commission approved the reduction of the ASF-infected zone in Belgium.

Jean-François Heymans, Chief Veterinary Officer of the FASFC: “In addition to the broad, national collaboration, we believe that total transparency towards our neighbouring countries, other EU Member States and Non-EU Member States, is essential to managing ASF in Belgium, Europe and worldwide and to ensuring the necessary trust between Belgium and its commercial and other partners.”

Total transparency is essential to ensuring the necessary trust between Belgium and its commercial and other partners.

Publications

Pork catalogue

Meat cuts: exhaustive range of Certified European pork cuts, offered by the Belgian meat suppliers.

download

Belgian Meat suppliers guide 2020

Who is who: complete overview of all Belgian meat suppliers, with product specifications, activities, certifications, destinations,…

download

Get in touch with the Belgian meat suppliers

The Belgian meat suppliers are ready to offer a Certified European pork solution tailored to your needs. Leave your contact details and we’ll find the meat supplier that’s most fit to help you.

VLAM
Koning Albert II-laan 35 bus 50
B-1030 Brussel
T: +32 2 552 80 11
F: +32 2 552 80 01
E: meatinfo@vlam.be

Discover our news Upcoming events