Agriculture minister Carola Schouten has called for increased scrutiny at slaughterhouses in the northern provinces where questions have been raised about the quality of their inspections.
Translation by Traci White
In a letter address to the Dutch parliament, minister Schouten writes that veterinarians who carry out animal health inspections at medium-sized facilities will be provided additional support. Dutch national broadcaster NOS reports that a second veterinarian or colleague will also take part in the inspections, either in person or remotely.
Minister Schouten says that having a second set of eyes focused on the meat processing facilities is necessary to ensure the quality of the meat. “There can be no doubt in people’s minds about the degree of supervision when it comes to food safety and animal welfare”, Schouten writes.
The reason for the increased scrutiny is a series of stories by RTL about hundreds of sick or lame animals being transported to the facilities for slaughter, despite Dutch law forbidding animals in such a state from being processed for meat.
Veterinarians from the NVWA (Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority) reportedly failed to prevent the animals from being slaughtered, and in March, 30,000 kilos of meat from northern slaughter houses that had reached the market were traced down and destroyed as a result. The NVWA denies that any of their employees were negligent in their duties.
The agricultural ministry is carrying out its own investigation into the meat processing facilities in the north and the conduct of the NVWA. Minister Schouten has tasked Rob van Lint, the director general of the NVWA, with overseeing and enforcing additional supervision in the slaughterhouses.