Photo: Anders Søgaard

Keeping the wheels turning in the Danish pig sector

A focus on product quality and food safety remain of paramount importance during the second coronavirus lockdown.

”Danish pig production’s DANISH Product Standard certification has been unaffected by the pandemic,” says Asger Kjær Nielsen, Quality Manager for the DANISH Product Standard and the DANISH Transport Standard at SEGES Danish Pig Research Centre, Danish Agriculture & Food Council. 'An emergency plan is in place should we be unable to carry out farm audits in the normal way” he adds.

This comprises E-audits via telephone or Skype with subsequent inspection at the location when the situation permits. "So far, only 15 or so E-audits have been carried out. By far the majority of inspections are taking place as normal."

According to the DANISH Transport Standard, all lorries used to transport the approx. 15 million piglets per year out of Denmark are checked, washed and disinfected before driving across the Danish/German border.

In the town of Padborg, near the Danish-German border, SEGES employees control and monitor the disinfection of all lorries used for pig transport. Lorries that come to Denmark to collect cloven-footed livestock must be cleaned in accordance with EU requirements. Lorries that do not comply with washing and disinfection regulations are rejected at the washing depots and can only continue their journey after correct compliance with the washing and disinfection regulations.

"COVID-19 hasn’t changed anything – only the fact that checks now take place outside the washing depot and not inside. Social distancing between drivers and staff can therefore be respected,” adds Asger Kjær Nielsen.

Danish pig export figures have remained positive during the corona pandemic. According to the Danish Agriculture & Food Council’s figures, there has been a rise in exports of pig meat, by-products, processed products and live pigs of more than 100,000 tonnes to approx. 1.6 million tonnes. Exports to the EU have declined slightly to 804,000 tonnes while exports to countries outside the EU have increased by over 126,000 tonnes to 810,000 tonnes. China accounts for a major part of the increase.

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Asger Kjær Nielsen