The Walloon Federation of Agriculture (“FWA”) is “completely outraged” at the announcement of the discovery of fraudulent practices in the abattoir in Bastogne. A communiqué from the Federation stressed, “Cattle breeders work 365 days a year strictly adhering to stringent standards imposed upon them, as much in terms of the environment as animal welfare and public health. They are closely monitored and checked, on a farm-to-fork basis, upon all of these elements, to convey products complying with very high quality and traceability standards to the plate. Once again this careful work, which respects all standards in force, has been tarnished by one link in the chain that is not performing its task conscientiously.”
The organisation fears that the matter will taint both the image and reputation of the beef sector. The FWA is demanding an in-depth investigation into the matter and is questioning “how the hygiene monitoring in the establishment was conducted up until now, enabling this fraud to take place.”
The Federal Minister for Agriculture, Denis Ducarme, and the Federal Agency for Food Chain Safety (known as “AFSCA”) decided to withdraw all approvals from the company VEVIBA. The decision follows a search conducted by an investigating judge, last week on the VEVIBA site, in an abattoir, a meat cutting plant and an industrial deep freezer. Offences observed on this occasion relate to the falsification of information as to the date given meat was frozen, and non-compliance of more than 50% of the products checked.