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Traces of Success at Himmerlandskød

08 March 2010

Danish meat processing company, Himmerlandskød (Himmerland Meat), is enjoying notable success, with positive media coverage and praise from the Danish Minister of Food. The employees are happy, and sales are high. All this results from a mix of visionary business management and advanced production technology focused on traceability.

This small Danish meat cutting facility processes 150 beef carcases every day.

These are usually sold to large supermarket chains in Denmark. When a carcase arrives at the Himmerlandskød plant, it is registered in a Marel monitoring system by scanning the CKR number (the "animal registration number") on the ear tag , providing key information about where the animal was born and raised.

Yield Optimisation and Effective Monitoring


Overview of Himmerlandskød trimming line with individual operator monitoring.

The cutting process is controlled and monitored using advanced technology in a deboning and trimming flowline, with automatic registration of the performance of each individual operator.

This flowline registers all incoming and outgoing elements, such as bone, fat, trim and final products. This means each individual operator is assessed on how well he performs the cutting compared to the specifications laid down.

This form of yield control is a prime determinant in enabling the company to measure its efficiency.

One might well think that the operators would be sceptical about such an individual monitoring system.

This is not the case, however. On the contrary, the operators are very happy with the system's capabilities.


Each individual operator is assessed on how well he performs the cutting compared to the specifications laid down.

They all have a sense of personal pride in their job and want their work to be assessed on the basis of their own performance, not that of the entire group.

"In the past, if something was not cut entirely to specifications, blame fell on the whole group. With the new system, however, it is always possible to pinpoint which individual operator has failed to comply with the specifications.

"This means that the other operators, who have done their job well, are not included in any sense of collective blame," said Michael Hansen and slices his butcher knife through a large rear end cut.

The cut products that leave the flowline are registered and traceable in the system, which also automatically allocates them to a subsequent packing process. When the product has been packed and labelled, each meat item contains a label with a unique number that can quickly and easily be traced back through the entire production process.

Tracing Meat via Internet


Internet traceability of meat all the way back to the individual animal and get information such as where and when it was born, raised and slaughtered.

However, traceability does not stop with the ability to trace the cuts of meat within the production process.

This company has gone one step further in implementing traceability, and has integrated production information with a system that enables consumers to trace the product via the Internet.

This web-based traceability system was developed in cooperation with a local IT company and is something that Himmerlandskød is particularly proud of.

Consumers can now trace each cut of meat all the way back to the individual animal and get information such as where and when it was born, raised and slaughtered.

It also means that Himmerlandskød A/S is one of the first companies in Denmark to offer the customers and consumers total and transparent traceability.


March 2010

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