NETHERLANDS - A high level investigation into allegations that VION Food Group had broken the requirements of BLK standard welfare label has found there is no foundation in them.
The allegations were made by the Dutch television programme Zembla regarding VION’s management of the Beter Leven Kenmerk (welfare label) pork products.
In response, the Dutch Society for Protection of Animals (de Dierenbescherming) which is the owner of the welfare label launched a full scale investigation.
The animal protection society called in former Dutch Minister Hans Alders to chair an independent commission to investigate the production and control of the Beter Leven Kenmerk (BLK)-pork products at VION.
In the investigation all relevant stakeholders, including the certification body, customers of VION, Zembla, and the Dutch Society for Protection of Animals were interviewed.
Following the investigation, Bert Urlings, Director Quality Assurance at VION Food Group said in a statement that VION had exercised complete openness and cooperation during the investigation.
“Based on the investigation of Commission Alders, the reports of several external independent auditors and customers it has been concluded that none of the requirements in the BLK-standard have been violated by VION in any way,” the statement said.
“Moreover, it has been concluded that VION has assured these BLK-requirements in its production processes in a professional manner.
“The Commission did not find any proof for the accusations made by Zembla and has assessed them to be improbable.
“Integrity and transparency of our processes and products in the whole supply chain are prerequisites for VION.
“Therefore VION is closely involved in the public debate related to several animal welfare themes.
“VION is closely cooperating with the Dutch Society for Protection of Animals and other relevant organizations on these kind of subjects.
“Besides improving animal welfare it is of major importance for VION that consumers get those products which are mentioned on the packaging.
“VION stands for the quality and integrity of its products which are supplied to its customers and final consumers. The outcomes and conclusions of Commission Alders confirm this.”
The report can be found on http://www.dierenbescherming.nl/nieuws/3437 (Dutch only).