European pork and beef, as well as their products, are manufactured on the basis of a series of restrictive standards and procedures arising from the Common Agricultural Policy. This means that all food producers operating within the European Union are obliged to comply with the EU regulations that allow supervision of the entire path “from stable to table”.
European standards for food production are based on three pillars: safety, quality and traceability of the product. For the consumer, they constitute a guarantee that European producers of pork, beef and processed meat supply both safe and tasty products.
The European food safety policy determines rigorous principles for food production in the EU from stable to table. Its paramount aim is to guarantee a high level of health protection by ensuring:
- the safety and high nutritional value of both food and animal feed;
- high standards for the protection of animal health and welfare as well as plant protection;
- full transparency in terms of origin, composition, labeling and use of food.
RESPECT AND ANIMAL WELFARE
The basics for European animal production comprising the foundation for the meat industry are based on the goal of breeding animals while maintaining respect and full protection of their health and welfare. European animal welfare policies strictly regulate areas associated with breeding as well as the transport and slaughtering of animals.
Care for the natural growth of animals in good conditions is what distinguishes European breeding. It provides the basis for creating the quality of European pork and beef. The prohibition on the use of hormones and growth promoters underlines the concern for the safety and quality of European meat. In addition, the EU introduced restrictive provisions on antibiotics, which may only be used for the treatment of herds and flocks under close supervision of a veterinarian. In the European Union is not allowed to use antibiotics to stimulate rapid weight gain in animals. Their treatment is carried out only under veterinary supervision, and law provisions provide for appropriate withdrawal periods – between administering of the antibiotic and slaughter. Therefore, consumers can be sure that they are eating meat that is completely safe and free of antibiotics.
SYSTEM SAFETY OVERSIGHT
Ensuring the safety of the production process and marketing of foodstuffs in the European Union is based on the use of system solutions which guarantee the minimizing of risks and constant supervision at each stage. The instruments listed in EU food production include good practices (Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Good Hygienic Practice (GHP), Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), as well as the mandatory Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP).
In the course of conducted business, European food producers implement an abundance of voluntary standards and norms that provide additional standardization of products. These include, amongst others, ISO standards, IFS, BRC systems and private quality schemes operating in the EU.
RAPID HAZARD RESPONSE
A very important aspect of ensuring safety is to react quickly in the case of hazards. The EU's rapid alert system - RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) - enables a quick response in the event of hazards arising from either food or feed.
The modern approach amongst EU member states in terms of production of pork, beef and their products takes into account each and every aspect of their quality. The safety of raw meat, its nutritional value, technological quality and desirable sensory characteristics are shaped by a wealth of experience in breeding, production and processing, as well as the high awareness of all participants within the food chain. Multidimensional and responsible perception of these aspects by EU producers guarantees the high quality of their food products.
In countries that are part of the European Community much focus is placed on the aspect of full traceability of food products. This means that each stage of production must be completely transparent. In farming, animals are marked at the time of birth, and their health and welfare are monitored until slaughter. One of the basic requirements in the European Union is the possibility to track not only the origin of the raw material, but also the later stages of its processing and distribution.
Each EU manufacturer has the obligation to keep a full list of suppliers and provide information as to which entities he has served as supplier. The “from stable to table” practice, commonly used in the European Union, makes it possible to trace the entire history of the product.