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Belgian retailer launches castration-free pork label

The Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize has recently launched a new castration-free pork label.

The concept, called ‘Better for everyone’ has now become available in all of the retailer’s stores, which is part of the Belgian-Dutch supermarket business Ahold-Delhaize.

The main idea behind the concept is that it only uses entire boars. This has become possible thanks to the use of Piétrain boars, specially selected by breeding company PIC. These animals were selected for developing only limited amounts of boar taint. The boars for this concept were indexed for boar taint. This is why it is possible to reduce slaughterline detection to as low as 2%.

Better pork flavour and health

Apart from animal welfare benefits, the concept also focuses on both flavour and health through adjusted feeding concepts. Only locally grown grains will be used and there is rapeseed being added to the feed. This gives the meat have additional omega-3 fatty acids.

Ben Weyts, left, Flemish minister for animal welfare, at the launch of the castration-free pork label. Photo: Erik Ordelman
Ben Weyts, left, Flemish minister for animal welfare, at the launch of the castration-free pork label. Photo: Erik Ordelman

According to Delhaize, this will create a better balance in the fatty acids pattern in the consumers’ daily meals. This balance can only be reached using animal protein, said a Delhaize spokesperson. Before the introduction the meat was tested by a panel to make an optimal feed ingredient selection for a nice piece of meat.

About 45% of the carcass will be sold as fresh meat, and 55% will be available in the shops as processed meat. Pig producers, feed companies as well as slaughterhouses who would like to join the concept, need to join the ‘Healthy Farming Association’ (HFA), and produce according their guidelines.

Bonus for produced pigs

Pig producers will receive a bonus of € 3.59 per produced pig. Of this amount, € 2.59 will be compensation for higher feed costs.

At the launch, Ben Weyts, the Flemish minister of animal welfare, said that the concept signifies an important step ahead in the field of animal welfare.

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