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Benchmarking of standards

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Quality and control

ParameterDenmarkDenmark / UK-productionUKHollandGermany
Quality system

DANISH Product Standard (since 2007)
QSG (since1995)

Contract for UK Production
(since1998)
 
The Red Tractor Pigs Scheme launched in 2011 to replace the Quality Standard Mark (launched in 1999) Separate QA schemes for Scotland and Northern Ireland

IKB Varken (since 1995) 

QS (since 2001) 

Coverage95% including
15% under Contract for UK Production
15 % of productionApprox. 90% of production

Approx. 99 % of production

Approx. 95 % of production 

Identification and traceability

CHR number (herd number)
Ear tags
Movement record
Supplier number
Only Danish pigs are slaughtered in Denmark

CHR number (herd number)
Ear tags
Movement record
Supplier number
Only Danish pigs are slaughtered in Denmark

CPH-number
Slap-marking on shoulders or approved ear tags
On-farm movement record required
The UK primarily slaughters British pigs

UBN number
Ear tags Movement record with identification through registration system.
Holland primarily slaughters Dutch pigs.
 

QS-ID
Ear tags
Supplier number
Germany primarily slaughters
QS-pigs (inc. German, Danish and Dutch)

Audit

Independent third party audit every year or every three years depending on the result of the audit.
Scheme auditors must allow 48 hours notice of a visit which then must take place at the agreed time and may not be changed. 
 

Independent third party control every year. Quarterly vet visit for the recording and documenting of 'Real Welfare Outcomes'. The results of which are recorded within the Red Tractor Pigs Scheme.

Independent third party control every year. Quarterly vet visit for the recording and documenting of 'Real Welfare Outcomes'. The results of which are recorded within the Red Tractor Pigs Scheme.

Independent third party audit every year (risk based).

Independent third party audit either annually or every second or third year. Producer may chose between an audit with 48 hours notice or two standard announced audits with an audit of 48 hours notice in the intervening year.

Health and use of medicines

ParameterDenmarkDenmark / UK-productionUKHollandGermany
Health advice

Health Advisory Contracts are mandatory for herds of a certain size. Around 90% of pig producers have entered into a Health Advisory Contract with a veterinarian. There are between 9 and 12 annual advisory visits to sow herds and between 4 and 6 annual advisory visits to finisher herds. The number of visits is increased as deemed necessary in matters relating to animal welfare, use of medicines and animal health.
Herds with no Health Advisory Contract must have at least one annual visit by a veterinarian.
If the antibiotic consumption limit is exceeded in any herd, this will trigger a “yellow card” from the authorities, which will result in increased monitoring and action plans will be required.

Health Advisory Contracts are mandatory for herds of a certain size. Around 90% of pig producers have entered into a Health Advisory Contract with a veterinarian. There are between 9 and 12 annual advisory visits to sow herds and between 4 and 6 annual advisory visits to finisher herds. The number of visits is increased as deemed necessary in matters relating to animal welfare, use of medicines and animal health.
Herds with no Health Advisory Contract must have at least one annual visit by a veterinarian.
If the antibiotic consumption limit is exceeded in any herd, this will trigger a “yellow card” from the authorities, which will result in increased monitoring and action plans will be required.

Quarterly veterinary visits required.

Health Advisory Contracts are mandatory. Each pig producer must have a contract with one responsible veterinarian.
The veterinarian needs to visit each farm every month and needs to document his findings in a report.
All farms need a farm specific health plan and a farm specific treatment plan, which has to be updated on at least a yearly basis.

Two annual veterinary visits are required. In case of finisher production, one annual visit per finisher batch is required.

Health status

All herds must have a declaration of their health status and Salmonella Level.
The herd’s health status is recorded in a database, which is in the public domain at www.spf-sus.dk. Denmark has Trichina-free status.

All herds must have a declaration of their health status and Salmonella Level.
The herd’s health status is recorded in a database, which is in the public domain at www.spf-sus.dk. Denmark has Trichina-free status.

Herd health plan required which must be produced by a vet and includes a salmonella control plan, a biosecurity policy and reviews the need for teeth reduction and tail docking.
Quarterly veterinary reports submitted to Certification Body.

Central monitoring through the Central Veterinary Institute (Wageningen University) and GD health.

No central health supervision
Prescription of medicine or antibiotics

Prescriptions require a veterinary diagnosis.

Professional pig farmers must have a Health Advisory Contract. The veterinarian does not sell medicine, but issues a prescription. The medicine is supplied by a pharmacy. Sales, therefore, remain separate from veterinary advice.

Prescriptions require a veterinary diagnosis.

Vets can sell medicine. Antibiotics may only be prescribed for seven days.
Prescriptions require a veterinary diagnosis.

Vets can sell medicine. Antibiotics may only be prescribed for 7 days. Prescriptions require a veterinary diagnosis.

Registration of medicine usage

Pig producers must register the herd’s medicine usage.

Pig producers must register the herd’s medicine usage.

Pig producers must register herd medicine usage.

Pig producers must register herd medicine usage.

Pig producers must register herd medicine usage.

Monitoring medicine usage

Medicine consumption is registered in the VETSTAT database with information on the animal group, herd owner and veterinary level.
The headline results are published each year in the DANMAP report.

Medicine consumption is registered in the VETSTAT database with information on the animal group, herd owner and veterinary level.
The headline results are published each year in the DANMAP report.

Central monitoring but proposals under consideration for monitoring at individual herd/species level. Records for all medicine must be kept for five years.

Consumption per herd and age group are registered in a central database at herd owner or veterinary level.

Central monitoring. Monitoring was introduced at herd level in 2015.
Total usage of antibiotics – production of all meat types44.9 mg antibiotics/kg animal production (biomass)44.9 mg antibiotics/kg animal production (biomass)62.1mg antibiotics/kg animal production (biomass)69.9 mg antibiotics/kg animal production (biomass)179.1 mg antibiotics/kg animal production (biomass)

Feed

ParameterDenmarkDenmark / UK-productionUKHollandGermany
Production

Danish authorities are responsible for control of feed industry. Feed must be purchased from Danish authorised or QS approved feed companies.
The frequency of the official control is determined on the basis of a risk assessment and the frequency varies between 1-5 annual visits. Danish authorities also carry out annual control visits to home-mixers.

Danish authorities are responsible for control of feed industry. Feed must be purchased from Danish authorised or QS approved feed companies.
The frequency of the official control is determined on the basis of a risk assessment and the frequency varies between 1-5 annual visits. Danish authorities also carry out annual control visits to home-mixers.

Compound feeds may only be purchased from UFAS (Universal Feed Assurance Schemes) approved feed companies.
Raw materials must be from FEMAS approved supply chain.
Home mixers must follow Industry Code of Practice for On-farm Feeding.

Feed can only be purchased from GMP+approved feed companies.

Feed can only be purchased from QS approved feed companies.

Meat-and-bone meal

Not permitted  

Not permitted  

Not permitted

Not permitted  

Not permitted
Blood products

Permitted 

Not permitted 

Not permitted

Permitted

Permitted

Animal fat

Permitted 

Not permitted

Not permitted

Permitted

Permitted

Antibiotic growth promotersNot permitted since 2000Not permitted since 2000Not permitted since 2006Not permitted since 2006Not permitted since 2004
Catering waste and food industry by-productsCatering waste is not permitted but certain food industry by-products are allowed.Catering waste is not permitted but certain food industry by-products are allowed.Catering waste is not permitted but certain food industry by-products are allowed.Catering waste is not permitted but certain food industry by-products are allowed.Catering waste is not permitted but certain food industry by-products are allowed.
Fish mealFish meal may not be used for finished pigs above 40 kg.Fish meal may not be used for finished pigs above 40 kg.

Fish meal permitted  

Fish meal permittedPermitted, but only at farms exclusively focused on pig production.
GMOUse of GMO feed is permitted.Use of GMO feed is permitted.Use of GMO feed is permitted.Use of GMO feed is permitted.Use of GMO feed is permitted.

Housing and welfare

ParameterDenmarkDenmark / UK-productionUKHollandGermany
Pregnant sows

Housed in accordance with EU legislation. The pen must not be narrower than 3 m.
Straw must be present on the solid/slated floor. According to new Danish legislation, sows cannot be confined from weaning to 7 days before farrowing. The legislation applied from 1 January 2015 for new buildings and from 1 January 2035 in all buildings.This also applies to pigs produced under the Contract for UK Production.

Housed in accordance with EU legislation. The pen must not be narrower than 3 m.
Straw must be present on the solid/slated floor. According to new Danish legislation, sows cannot be confined from weaning to 7 days before farrowing. The legislation applied from 1 January 2015 for new buildings and from 1 January 2035 in all buildings.This also applies to pigs produced under the Contract for UK Production.

No confinement from weaning to 7 days before predicted date of farrowing.
At least 2.8 m between the sides of the pen in indoor systems except where there are 6 or less sows/ gilts where the sides should be at least 2.4 m.
Around 40% of the UK breeding herd is kept outdoors.

Housed in accordance with EU legislation.
At least 2.8 m between the sides of the pen. Sows and gilts must be housed in groups from 4 weeks after insemination to 7 days before expected farrowing.

Housed in accordance with EU legislation.
At least 2.8 m between the sides of the pen or at least 2.4 m between the sides of the pen where there are fewer than six pigs.

Farrowing pens

Housed in line with EU legislation.
Appropriate nest building material in sufficient quantities is required, unless this is technically impossible because of the slurry system used at the farm. The piglets must have an area that is separate from the sow.
If necessary, there must be a source of heat.
The Danish pig industry’s aim is for 10% sows to be loose in the farrowing pen by 2020. After 2021 all newly built farrowing units must be designed as loose systems.

Housed in line with EU legislation.
Appropriate nest building material in sufficient quantities is required, unless this is technically impossible because of the slurry system used at the farm. The piglets must have an area that is separate from the sow.
If necessary, there must be a source of heat.
The Danish pig industry’s aim is for 10% sows to be loose in the farrowing pen by 2020. After 2021 all newly built farrowing units must be designed as loose systems.

Under EU legislation, use of farrowing pens is permitted.
Appropriate nest building material in sufficient quantities is required, unless this is technically impossible because of the slurry system used at the farm.
The piglets must have a thermally comfortable and dry lying area.Around 40% of the UK breeding herd is kept outdoors.

Housed in line with EU legislation.
Appropriate nest building material in sufficient quantities is required unless this is technically impossible because of the slurry system used at the farm.
The piglets must have an area that is separate from the sow. There must be a source of heat.

Housed in line with EU legislation.
Appropriate nest building material in sufficient quantities is required unless this is technically impossible because of the slurry system used at the farm.
The piglets must have an area that is separate from the sow. There must be a source of heat.

Weaning of pigletsAfter 28 days or 21 days for batch production.

After 28 days or 21 days for batch production.

After 28 days or 21 days for batch production.

After 28 days or 21 days for batch production.

After 28 days or 21 days for batch production.

Enrichment and rooting materials

All pigs must have permanent access to sufficient quantities of straw or other manipulable rooting and enrichment material.
Enrichment and rooting material must be of natural materials and in contact with the floor. Chains alone are not acceptable.

All pigs must have permanent access to sufficient quantities of straw or other manipulable rooting and enrichment material.
Enrichment and rooting material must be of natural materials and in contact with the floor. Chains alone are not acceptable.

All pigs must have permanent access to sufficient quantities of enrichment and other rooting materials. Chains alone are not acceptable.

All pigs must have permanent access to manipulable materials. The material must be harmless and adequate. Chains with plastic hooks are allowed. A single chain is sufficient.

All pigs must have permanent access to manipulable materials. The material must be harmless and adequate.
Chains with plastic hooks are permitted.

Flooring for piglets and finishers

As regards pens for breeding and finished pigs, at least 1/3 of the floor must be solid or drained. As regards pens for piglets, at least 1/2 of the floor must be solid or drained.

As regards pens for breeding and finished pigs, at least 1/3 of the floor must be solid or drained. As regards pens for piglets, at least 1/2 of the floor must be solid or drained.

Fully slatted floors are permitted provided minimum slat and opening widths are observed.
40% solid floor for piglets and finishers required.Fully slatted floors are permitted.
Sprinkling systems

All pigs over 20kg (including sows) must have access to a sprinkling system or an alternative that can keep the pigs cool in warm weather.

All pigs over 20kg (including sows) must have access to a sprinkling system or an alternative that can keep the pigs cool in warm weather.

No regulationNo regulationNo regulation
Hospital pens

Hospital pens required. There must be an adequate number of hospital pens so that there is always at least one hospital pen available for pigs that are sick or injured.
It is recommended that the total number of hospital pens should account for at least 2-5 % of the total number of indoor places for sows.

Hospital pens required. There must be an adequate number of hospital pens so that there is always at least one hospital pen available for pigs that are sick or injured.
It is recommended that the total number of hospital pens should account for at least 2-5 % of the total number of indoor places for sows.

Hospital pens required. Isolation of animals with infectious diseases required.

Hospital pens must be well ventilated and warm and dry.

Sick or injured animals must be isolated in a pen with dry and comfortable straw bedding.

Castration

Pain relief must be administered before castration takes place.
Anaesthetic must be used if castration is carried out seven days after farrowing.

Pain relief must be administered before castration takes place.
Anaesthetic must be used if castration is carried out seven days after farrowing.

Castration is not permitted by RTA standards. According to UK legislation, castration is permitted up to the seventh day after birth.

Pain relief must be administered before castration takes place.
Anaesthetic must be used if castration is carried out seven days after farrowing.

Pain relief must be administered before castration takes place.
Anaesthetic must be used if castration is carried out seven days after farrowing.

Tail docking

Not permitted on a routine basis, but permitted if it can be documented that measures have been taken to prevent tail biting. Only permitted between day two and four after birth and no more than half of the tail may be docked.  

Not permitted on a routine basis, but permitted if it can be documented that measures have been taken to prevent tail biting. Only permitted between day two and four after birth and no more than half of the tail may be docked.

Only within the first 72 hours and not on a routine basis.Only within the first 72 hours and not on a routine basis.Docking of part of the tail no later than four days after birth.
Tooth reduction

Tooth clipping is not permitted. Tooth grinding is allowed but not on a routine basis. Tooth grinding must take place within the first three days of birth.  

Tooth clipping is not permitted. Tooth grinding is allowed but not on a routine basis. Tooth grinding must take place within the first three days of birth.

Tooth clipping or grinding is allowed up 72 hours after birth, but not on a routine basis.

Tooth grinding is allowed up 72 hours after birth, but not on a routine basis.

Tooth grinding is allowed within the first seven days of birth, but not on a routine basis.

The environment

ParameterDenmarkDenmark / UK-productionUKHollandGermany
Application of nitrate (N)140kg N/hectare140kg N/hectare170kg N/hectare

170kg N/hectare  

170kg N/hectare
Storage of slurry

Requisite storage capacity, however for at least six months production. For pigs, this typically equates to at least 9 months storage. The slurry tank must be covered or have a floating lid.

Requisite storage capacity, however for at least six months production. For pigs, this typically equates to at least 9 months storage. The slurry tank must be covered or have a floating lid.

Storage capacity for six months production. 
 

Storage capacity for at least seven months production. The slurry tank must be covered, but no requirements as regards material.

Six to nine months’ storage capacity required according to region.

Slurry spreading and utilisation of nutrients

Spreading slurry must only take place in the crop growing season, i.e. from 1 February to harvest and from harvest to 1 October for winter crops. The utilisation requirement for nitrogen in pig slurry is 75%.

Spreading slurry must only take place in the crop growing season, i.e. from 1 February to harvest and from harvest to 1 October for winter crops. The utilisation requirement for nitrogen in pig slurry is 75%.

Slurry may be spread more or less throughout the year except from 1 August to 1 November.
The UK has an action plan requiring the utilisation of livestock manure for pig slurry of 35 % from 2012.

The spreading of slurry may only take place in the crop growing season, i.e. from 1 February to 15 September. The utilisation requirement for nitrogen in pig slurry is 60-80 % depending on soil type.

Requirement covering time of spreading is not known and there is no specific EU legislation. Requirement for 60% utilisation of nitrogen in the slurry.

Feed conversion: Covers feed for piglets and finished pigs, kg feed/kg growth (Interpig 2014 and own calculations)

2,48 

2,48

2,38 

2,44 

2,61 

Transport

ParameterDenmarkDenmark / UK-productionUKHollandGermany
Control

Official control and control through abattoirs' own controls. Global Red Meat Standard requires that.
Drivers must follow legislative as well as industry requirements in the "Handbook for Pig Transport".

Official control and control through abattoirs' own controls. Global Red Meat Standard requires that.
Drivers must follow legislative as well as industry requirements in the "Handbook for Pig Transport".

Drivers must be certified in accordance with the ABP Livestock Transport Standard.

Drivers must be certified in accordance the IKB transport standard.Drivers must be certified in accordance with the QS-transport standard.
Vehicle requirements

The abattoirs have introduced new requirements for vehicles – such as mechanical ventilation, GPS systems, drinking Water and sprinkler systems.
Compliance with the requirements is checked on arrival at the abattoir.

The abattoirs have introduced new requirements for vehicles – such as mechanical ventilation, GPS systems, drinking Water and sprinkler systems.
Compliance with the requirements is checked on arrival at the abattoir.

RTA Livestock Transport Scheme.
Rules based on EU legislation.

Certain requirements additional to EU legislation, e.g. GPS on all vehicles.

Rules based on EU legislation
Group handling of finishers during transport

Pigs are transported in small groups (15-20) and, wherever possible, in pen groups from the farm.

Pigs are transported in small groups (15-20) and, wherever possible, in pen groups from the farm.

RTA Livestock Transport Scheme.
Stocking densities according to EU legislation.
Pigs must be kept in farm groups to meet BMPA Pork Scheme standards.
Pigs are kept in their peer groups. No mixing.

Pigs may be mixed. There are maximum group sizes for the transport of piglets (up to 120 for 10 kg pigs and max. 35 up to 30 kg).

Training of drivers

From the early 1990s, all those involved in the handling of animals during transport was required to attend a training course. This course was replaced by a formal training requirement under EU regulation 1/2005, which came into force on 1 January 2007.

From the early 1990s, all those involved in the handling of animals during transport was required to attend a training course. This course was replaced by a formal training requirement under EU regulation 1/2005, which came into force on 1 January 2007.

RTA Livestock Transport Scheme.
Training requirements according to EU legislation.
 

Training requirements in place since 2008 via EU legislation.
Training requirements in place since 2008 via EU legislation.
Mortality during transport0.007 % in 2014 (applies to finished pigs).0.007 % in 2014 (applies to finished pigs).

No statistics available.

No statistics available.

No statistics available.

Abattoir

ParameterDenmarkDenmark / UK-productionUKHollandGermany
Lairage

Group handling, which means that, as far as possible, pigs are not mixed. All pigs are kept in small groups (approx. 15 animals).

Group handling, which means that, as far as possible, pigs are not mixed. All pigs are kept in small groups (approx. 15 animals).

RTA Meat Processing Scheme (British Quality Assured Pork - BQAP) and pigs must be kept in farm groups. Group handling takes place in some abattoirs. According to the BMPA Pork Scheme standards, CCTV cameras in the lairage area are required.Pigs are kept in their peer groups. No mixing.No group handling. Pigs are mixed.
TrainingTraining of abattoir workers in principles of animal welfare and handling of animals is required.

Training of abattoir workers in principles of animal welfare and handling of animals is required.

RTA Meat Processing Scheme (British Quality Assured Pork - BQAP). EU legislation requires training for Animal Welfare Officers.

EU legislation has required training for Animal Welfare Officers from 2013.

Staff are to be trained in line with the provisions of the Infection Protection Act and this training must be documented. Such training courses are to be staged at least once a year in the QS scheme.

Meat safety

ParameterDenmarkDenmark / UK-productionUKHollandGermany
Salmonella monitoring

Whole chain Salmonella surveillance and control programme since 1993 including feed, breeding herds, sow and finisher herds.
Public declaration of Salmonella levels in breeding, sow and finisher herds.
Financial penalties for Level 2 and 3 herds. In addition, special transport and slaughtering of Level 3 pigs.
Fresh meat surveillance, including sampling of pig carcases at abattoir (carcase swab test).

Whole chain Salmonella surveillance and control programme since 1993 including feed, breeding herds, sow and finisher herds.
Public declaration of Salmonella levels in breeding, sow and finisher herds.
Financial penalties for Level 2 and 3 herds. In addition, special transport and slaughtering of Level 3 pigs.
Fresh meat surveillance, including sampling of pig carcases at abattoir (carcase swab test).

Pig farms are required to have a salmonella control plan included in their veterinary plans.

Monitoring via IKB system.
Comprises monitoring of finisher herds and fresh meat surveillance.

Surveillance via QS-system.
Comprises monitoring of feed, finisher herds and fresh meat surveillance.

Prevalence of Salmonella (fresh pork)

According to the EFSA (2008) study, Salmonella prevalence was 3.3% (before chilling). In Denmark, Salmonella samples are taken after chilling, which gives a more accurate picture of the actual prevalence of Salmonella in fresh meat for consumers.
In 2013 prevalence was 1.3 %.

According to the EFSA (2008) study, Salmonella prevalence was 3.3% (before chilling). In Denmark, Salmonella samples are taken after chilling, which gives a more accurate picture of the actual prevalence of Salmonella in fresh meat for consumers.
In 2013 prevalence was 1.3 %.

According to EFSA (2008) study, salmonella prevalence on carcases was 13.5% (before chilling)
Testing still occurs at abattoir, but no recent national data is available.

Holland did not participate in the EFSA (2008) study.
Current results not available.

Germany did not participate in the EFSA (2008) study.
Current results not available.

Residue monitoring

National monitoring programme with around 10,000 official samples per year. (According to EU regulations, 0.05% of animals slaughtered per year, which corresponds to 9,500 samples in DK in 2013). In addition, there are around 14,000 own control samples (2013 figures) for antibiotic residues.

National monitoring programme with around 10,000 official samples per year. (According to EU regulations, 0.05% of animals slaughtered per year, which corresponds to 9,500 samples in DK in 2013). In addition, there are around 14,000 own control samples (2013 figures) for antibiotic residues.

National monitoring programme in accordance with EU regulations.National monitoring programme in accordance with EU regulations.National monitoring programme in accordance with EU regulations.
Residue surveillance results (National residue monitoring plans, Commission Staff Working Paper, 2010)

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (2013)
Growth hormones (A3): 0
Heavy metals (B3c): 0
Antibiotics (B1): 2
Banned substances (A6): 0
Pesticides (B3a): 0

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (2013)
Growth hormones (A3): 0
Heavy metals (B3c): 0
Antibiotics (B1): 2
Banned substances (A6): 0
Pesticides (B3a): 0

Growth hormones (A3): 0
Heavy metals (B3c): 0
Antibiotics(B1): 4
Banned substances (A6): 0
Pesticides (B3a): 0

Growth hormones (A3): 9
Heavy metals (B3c): 0
Antibiotics (B1): 29
Banned substances (A6): 0
Pesticides (B3a): 0

Growth hormones (A3): 0
Heavy metals (B3c): 282
Antibiotics (B1): 5
Banned substances (A6): 2
Pesticides (B3a): 0