The big retail companies play an increasing role in meat production and are more often setting requirements as to the way in which meat is produced. The BSE problem, and other debates on questions such as the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in meat production, have put food safety high on the agenda as an on-going topic of discussion. The premise is that meat may not contain traces of growth promoters, veterinary drugs, pesticides or environmental contaminants in quantities that could damage consumer health.

IKB/PVE mark

There is a considerable distance between the consumer and the farmer who produces the meat. Quality systems have proved very important for maintaining consumer trust in the animal production sector. The most visible quality system is the IKB/PVE mark of approval. The Product Boards for Livestock, Meat and Eggs (Productschappen Vee, Vlees en Eieren, PVE) award this quality mark to meat that is produced according to the requirements of the integrated chain management programme (Integrale Ketenbeheersing, IKB).

IKB is a quality system that provides a guarantee about the methods of production. It examines, for example, the use of veterinary drugs, veterinary health care, the origin of the animals, their housing and feed, residues in meat, hygiene and transport. The agreements and the exchange of information between the various links in the chain of production, such as the farmer and the abattoir are vitally important.

The requirements set for the quality system IKB/PVE may differ per sector. For example, only a few veterinary drugs may be used in pigs, while in the beef fattening sector it is mainly the use of growth promoting substances that is combated. Participation in the scheme is voluntary. As a result of advertising campaigns most consumers are now familiar with the IKB/PVE logo. Moreover more than 70 percent of supermarkets now sell meat bearing this quality mark.


The Product Boards for Livestock, Meat and Eggs took the initiative for chain management in the pork sector as early as 1992. More than three quarters of Dutch pork production now warrants the IKB logo. Further tightening and extension of the requirements under which the logo may be used has suffered some delays as a result of the pig plague. An expansion of the requirements for IKB pigs, in relation to their environment and well-being, is planned to give the consumer an even greater guarantee.

Of the Dutch poultry breeders with more than 1,000 birds being raised for meat, 70 percent have an IKB certificate. Participation on the part of cattle fatteners is still rather limited. The Foundation for Quality Guarantee of the Veal Sector (Stichting Kwaliteitsgarantie Vleeskalversector, SKV), which was established at the initiative of the calf fattening sector, now requires that its member companies should have an IKB certificate for pink and white veal. The great majority of the veal calf fattening lots are members of the Foundation. The Foundation itself also runs quality checks.