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GIQS in Meat Chains

For the first time universities, farmers, slaughterhouses and meat processing companies as well as national inspection services from Germany and the Netherlands are cooperating with the aim to improve chain wide quality management in meat production. Solutions for improved tracking and tracing, product accompanying information exchange and the support of quality management methods for planning and optimizing of processes are developed.

The results will assist farmers, veterinarians and slaughterhouses to better plan, control and assure the quality of their products. Information on pig health will not any more get lost when animals cross the national border.

Offensive chain wide cooperation efforts can help improving quality and maximising profits. Chain wide Information exchange and management improves predictability and supports preventive decision making. The pork sector plays a central economical role in the region along the Dutch German border and is one of the most important centres for pork production in Europe. 30,000 farmers annually produce 16 million pigs. More than 80 small and medium enterprises as well as big multinationals have specialised on slaughtering and meat processing. Trade relations exist at all stages of the pork production chain.

Relevant quality information is frequently missing when products cross the border, but even national chains do not have organised a proper information exchange between members of a supply chain. Companies at all stages of the chain have so far been hesitant to invest in chain wide and trans-border innovations in quality management.

Therefore the Dutch-German non-profit-organisation GIQS could convince a group of public donors to support research and development activities in this field. Since March 2002, GIQS together with 11 partner organisations from both countries develops tools to support chain oriented Quality- and Health Management in the pig sector of Germany and the Netherlands. The module based set up will allow the chain to choose a specific set of tools according to its needs and organisational structure.

One tool, the "GIQS Backbone", enables chain actors to retrieve, administer and exchange quality relevant information on their products and processes. As an information hub, it connects data sources from both sides of the Dutch-German border. Information barriers not only between two countries but also within of meat chains are crossed. In addition, reliable IT-solutions, well proven in different industries (i.e. automotive), to support risk and weak point analysis, documents and audit management are adapted for meat chains. These management tools helps farmers, veterinarians, advisors and slaughterhouses manager to better plan, control and safeguard the quality of their products and processes. With these tools, small and medium sized enterprises in meat production are supported to improve their chain wide quality and health management efforts.

For better integration of public and private inspection systems, a decision model for a risk-based meat inspection is developed, that supports the decision making of official veterinarians. Available information in the GIQS backbone is processed according to their information needs.

An economic model for the calculation of quality systems makes financial differences between quality programs of the two countries (IKB and QS) transparent.

All tools are validated in three meat chains in Germany and the Netherlands. After having passed this testing phase, they will be made available for all who want to introduce or improve a chain oriented health and quality management system.

Chain actors and finally consumers benefit from the tools: healthy animals, improved animal welfare, better productivity and improved food safety. The market position of the meat industry on both sides of the Dutch-German border is strengthened.