Photo: Danish Agriculture & Food Council

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the food industry

The Danish Agriculture & Food Council is constantly monitoring the impact of the pandemic and is in regular dialogue with farmers, producers and the food service sector to support them in the work to keep food supplies going.

We are in an unprecedented situation, and the industry in which we are all deeply involved is facing a number of challenges. We at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council are doing all we can to support the entire food sector. We believe that there are still stories to be told, products to be presented and interest to be stimulated.

Enjoy this edition of Pig Industry Matters.

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We have interviewed Asger Kjær Nielsen, Quality Manager, SEGES Pig Research Centre, SEGES Danish Agriculture & Food Council, about how Covid-19 has affected his working life.

Has Covid-19 had an impact on your daily work?

Asger Kjær Nielsen: My responsibilities cover two areas: infection protection in the DANISH Transport Standard (DTS) and animal welfare, food safety and traceability in the DANISH Product Standard.

Certification of Danish pig farms under the DANISH product standard has continued during the coronavirus crisis. We have an emergency plan in place just in case it is no longer possible to visit pig producers. This is based on an e-audit of administrative conditions by phone or skype and when visits to pig producers are resumed, a physical inspection of the remaining checkpoints will be carried out. Altogether this amounts to a full audit. So far, however, it has not been necessary to implement the emergency plan, which is why all audits have been carried out as normal.

Read also: Covid-19: The safety and security of the food supply chain has become a key issue in Denmark

With regard to the DANISH Transport Standard, controls are maintained by washing and disinfecting all animal transport vehicles arriving in Denmark to collect the approx. 15 million pigs that are exported from Denmark every year. SEGES/the pig sector has five employees who inspect the lorries when they arrive in Padborg. Even if the vehicles are clean – as they are required to be under EU legislation – they get an extra wash and disinfection. If they have not been properly washed, they are sent back to where they came from for a re-wash. This procedure continues irrespective of the Covid-19 situation. However, all vehicles are now inspected outside the washing halls so that a safe distance from the driver can be maintained.

What are the current focal points with regard to DANISH and animal welfare?
The welfare goals that have been assigned top priority in the Danish pig production strategy are farrowing pens for loose-housed nursing sows, intact tails, an end to castration, and increased piglet survival rates. Our ambition is for these goals to be met over the long-term and to become part of the production concept for the Danish standard pig.

Read more about loose-about sows:

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Asger Kjær Nielsen

Head of quality assurance SEGES Pig Research Centre

+45 33 394 431