Information on veal
The official definition of veal, which is based on European regulations, is as follows. In the Netherlands and the European Union veal from calves under the age of twelve months is divided into two categories: Category V and Category Z. Category V concerns meat that originates from calves under eight months of age. Category Z concerns meat that originates from calves between eight and twelve months of age. In the Netherlands, meat from Category V has to be sold as veal and meat from Category Z as “rose veal”.
Beside premium-quality meat, the hide of the calves is also processed, mainly into luxury products. Calf hide is selected on the basis of quality and treated before it goes to customers. High-quality calf leather is used in the fashion, furniture and car industries, for instance.
The independent inspection of SKV veal production is carried out by the Foundation for Quality Guarantee of the Veal Sector (SKV).
Foundation for Quality Guarantee of the Veal Sector
The SKV is an independent foundation, established in 1990 fro, within the veal sector with the aim of promoting and guaranteeing the production of veal without the use of undesirable growth-stimulating substances.
Participation in the SKV quality system is voluntary and open to anyone who wants to conform to the quality system. Over 95 % of the Dutch veal farmers are associated with the SKV. Association with the SKV gives veal farmers the right to take samples from and perform visual inspection of their calves at any time. This shows the veal farmers’ customers that they produce veal in a responsible way. Producers of SKV veal know exactly what their customers want; they know that customers want a nice piece of meat, but above all that it should be safe. Therefore it must not contain any forbidden substances or additives. In order to offer greater certainty and install more faith, the Foundation for Quality Guarantee of the Veal Sector (SKV) was established in 1990, in cooperation with the Dutch government. Now, virtually all national veal production falls within the SKV regime.
Inspectors from the SKV perform unannounced inspections in all the links of the production chain. They inspect producers of calf feeders, veal farmers and meat processing companies. The inspectors supervise the administrative process and procedures, conduct visual inspections and take samples of, for example, feed, hair and urine in the farming and slaughtering stages. The analyses take place in an independent and accredited laboratory, by scientists whose task it is to continually refine and modernise the existing methods of analysis. Violations of the rules result in sanctions by the SKV and, in some cases, criminal prosecution by the government.
If calves are fit for slaughter and meet the required quality requirements, the SKV issues a quality certificate. The quality certificate shows the meat processing company that the animals have been thoroughly checked and that no forbidden substances have been found. This guarantee does not alter the fact that random samples may still be taken at the meat processing companies. White veal from carcasses of SKV calves is stamped with the logo “Controlled Quality Veal” (CQV) and rose veal with the logo “Controlled Quality Rose Veal” (CQRV). Consumers can see immediately that the veal has been independently and thoroughly inspected for unwanted growth-stimulating substances. It can therefore be safely presented to consumers. The SKV guarantees reliable, ‘clean’ veal products. The inspection for the absence of forbidden growth-stimulating substances is conducted under the accreditation of the ISO/IEC 17020. To this end, the SKV is inspected by the independent Council for Accreditation on a yearly basis.
Integral Chain Management and Control (IKB)
Many inspections conducted by the SKV fall within the scope of the IKB. But what exactly is it? The Dutch calf sector set up the Integral Chain Management and Control (IKB) together with the Productschap Vee en Vlees. This inspection system makes it possible to provide guarantees with regard to the farming, quality and origin of veal and veal calves. Participation in the IKB is voluntary, but not without obligation. Nearly all veal farmers in the Netherlands participate in the system. Only the calves of certified companies are processed in IKB meat processing companies and certified farmers operate in accordance with strict regulations. They register all the relevant information, for instance about the feed, the use of veterinary medication, and they have to be able to show that they meet the general standards of animal well-being, hygiene, environment and transport. All these and more aspects are checked by the SKV.