Quality

We carry the word quality in our name: Brand Quality Meat. We have been doing this since the beginnings of our company,

because the quality of our products has always been decisive for what we do.

Our quality thinking is not limited to a single area in our company. It begins with our suppliers’ suppliers, and extends to the meat counter and products of our customers.

Even today, in times of “bigger, faster, more,” we remain true to our philosophy. When in doubt, we slaughter and produce less 

if it means we can increase product quality while taking pride in our work.

The idea of quality has guided us at every important milestone in our history, and has led us to where we are today. This philosophy of outstanding quality for example led us to start the first special programs years ago, which today are an important and irreplaceable part of our philosophy. 

Quality is not only in our name. Quality is our entire identity

Quality

We carry the word quality in our name: Brand Quality Meat. We have been doing this since the beginnings of our company,

because the quality of our products has always been decisive for what we do.

Our quality thinking is not limited to a single area in our company. It begins with our suppliers’ suppliers, and extends to the meat counter and products of our customers.

Even today, in times of “bigger, faster, more,” we remain true to our philosophy. When in doubt, we slaughter and produce less

if it means we can increase product quality while taking pride in our work.

The idea of quality has guided us at every important milestone in our history, and has led us to where we are today. This philosophy of outstanding quality for example led us to start the first special programs years ago, which today are an important and irreplaceable part of our philosophy.

Quality is not only in our name. Quality is our entire identity

Transparency

The slaughter of animals is an essential part of the meat value chain. Without slaughter there is no meat – it’s just that  simple

Slaughtering is a very sensitive process containing a wide range of challenges in terms of animal welfare, meat quality, and organization.

We are proud of the way we master this craft, and invite you to see this for yourself, which is why we present our work as transparently as possible. We strongly believe the public should be able to critically follow our activities at all times.

Transparency

The slaughter of animals is an essential part of the meat value chain. Without slaughter there is no meat – it’s just that  simple

Slaughtering is a very sensitive process containing a wide range of challenges in terms of animal welfare, meat quality, and organization.

Brand Meat Excellence – unter diesem Namen haben wir alle Spezialprogramme zusammengefasst. Verschiedene Rassen, neue Haltungsformen und neue Wege der Vermarktung. Wir freuen uns über jede neue Idee und engagieren uns stark in diesem Bereich.

People

Brand Meat Excellence – we have combined all special programs under this name. Different breeds, new forms of husbandry and new ways of marketing. We look forward to every new idea and are strongly committed to this area.

A company that is totally committed to quality needs employees who share and live this standard.

People

Brand Meat Excellence – we have combined all special programs under this name. Different breeds, new forms of husbandry and new ways of marketing. We look forward to every new idea and are strongly committed to this area.

A company that is totally committed to quality needs employees who share and live this standard.

FaktenCorporate Social Responsibility - Themen

  • Animal welfare
    • Animal welfare in agriculture
    • Animal welfare during transport
    • Animal welfare at slaughter
  • Resources
    • Energy management
    • Water consumption
    • Water treatment
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
    • Employees
    • Environment
    • Animal welfare
    • Transparency
  • The slaughtering process
    • Waiting area
    • Stunning with CO2
    • Controlled bleeding
    • SoL controller
  • Quality management
    • Certifications
    • Hygienic concept
    • Video surveillance
    • Animal disease
  • Suppliers / Agriculture
    • Regionality
    • Fair pricing for partners and customers
  • Our employees
    • Our employees
Employees

Employees

It has always been our philosophy to work exclusively with our own employees. Counter to the trend towards outsourced labor, we have worked exclusively with our own employees since the company was founded. 2020 was an exception to this: At the beginning of the year, we commissioned a new cutting plant and worked with contracted employees to assist for a period of a few months. As 2020 continued, we were able to fill all positions in production with our own employees again. We see it as our responsibility to take proper professional care of our employees. This applies to the area of production as well as upstream and downstream office activities. We offer our staff the opportunity to become fully involved at our company and find a professional home here. Collegial interaction for us is just as important as the professional development of individual skills.

Environment

Environment

Our production is resource-intensive in several respects, which is why we take our special responsibility towards the environment seriously. Our plant in Lohne, Germany uses extensive amounts of water and electricity to run its slaughtering and cutting operations. Our agricultural suppliers and partners require energy to raise and fatten pigs. We are aware of the responsibility of accounting for all environmental aspects in every upstream and downstream realm. This is why we are constantly optimizing our use of resources, and continually making extensive efforts to progress in all areas related to the environment.

Animal welfare

Animal welfare

We deal extensively with animals every day. This is of course the case in our production plant, as well as in the agriculture production where our partners raise animals. Respectful treatment of animals is always at the forefront of our work. We require our partners to treat animals correctly and with respect at all times. Any time it comes to our attention that this is not the case, even for a short period of time, it is immediately discussed with our partners. If improvement does not occur following the request for corrective action, we terminate our cooperation immediately. This has occurred in the past and will continue to happen in the future.

It is essential that we work exclusively with partners who always treat their animals respectfully and in accordance with the German Animal Welfare Act and consistent with good agricultural practice. Animal handling on our farm is subject to regular training, most notably for employees in key animal handling areas of production. All employees who work directly with the animals on our farm are sensitized to the importance of proper treatment of animals. They know that violations will not be tolerated and penalized accordingly.

Transparency

Transparency

Uncompromising transparency achieves trustworthy, successful cooperation with our partners, stakeholders, and society.

As a slaughterhouse, we are not an isolated entity merely pursuing our own profit. We are fully integrated into the value chain from feed to finished meat product. We can only fulfil this integrative role together with value chain partners who have the opportunity to understand and review our work. We insist upon the utmost transparency to achieve this. We always strive to live out transparency through social networks, open pricing with our business partners, and the active involvement of agriculture in the evaluation of our slaughter results. We believe this kind of openness offers the opportunity to further develop our business in line with the demands of society, agriculture, and other stakeholders.

TRANSPARENCY TOWARDS THE FARMING COMMUNITY

The farmers who supply us or our corresponding producer groups have access to all essential slaughter data 24/7. In addition, every farmer is welcome to be in attendance at the classification of pigs via a hygienic window that allows him or her to look into the so-called “white area” of production. A terminal is attached here for the farmer to see the specific classification of each pig.

TRANSPARENCY TOWARDS THE CONSUMER

Consumers have the right to know where their meat comes from. We therefore consistently adhere to a principle of maximum transparency, showing all aspects of the slaughterhouse on social media and regularly offering tours of our facility to the public.

TRANSPARENCY TOWARDS AUTHORITIES AND STAKEHOLDERS

Whether it’s at the vet’s office, the water board, or other regulatory offices, we work closely with and are in continual exchange with authorities and other state institutions.

Energy management

Energy management

Energy management for us is a continuous improvement process. Slaughtering requires large amounts of electricity. Some technology is particularly energy-intensive, such as cooling, steam boiling, or the operation of flame ovens. Our goal is to use energy resources as sparingly and efficiently as possible.

Our operating data system which we use to monitor and analyze our energy use assists us in this process. Thanks to a number of continual adjustments, we have been able to further optimize energy consumption in recent years.

Another important part of our energy concept is our on-site heat and power plant. Fired by natural gas, it independently generates electricity and heat, and has significantly improved our energy efficiency.

Water consumption

Water consumption

We continually aim to optimize the use of water and reduce our consumption to as low of a level as possible. Considerable amounts of water are used for slaughtering. Our water comes from the groundwater reservoir and our own well. We are aware of our responsibility to use water as sparingly as possible, and the quantities we use are continuously monitored. Days with unusually high water use are immediately analyzed and kept under observation. If necessary, countermeasures are taken to stop excessive use. As with energy consumption, we see water use as an ongoing process of continuous improvement.

Water treatment

Water treatment

An important part of our water strategy is our on-site water treatment plant. Co-developed by us, it clarifies and purifies the water we use. After purification, the water has a quality equivalent to that of surface water. The resulting waste (flotation sludge) is then sold to biogas plants. We’re proud of how this waste material is always put to sensible, further use, and that we can return our used water back into the water cycle at such a high quality. The OOWV water board in our region has permanent access to our operation, and regularly checks the quality of our wastewater treatment.

Animal welfare in agriculture

Animal welfare in agriculture

We cooperate with agricultural partners to supply our animals. We are proud of our diverse range of agricultural suppliers, many of who have been operating for years or even decades. We look forward to continuing this successful cooperation in the coming years. Like us, our partners maintain a professional and respectful treatment of animals at all times.

All farms act in accordance with current laws and regulations. In many cases, the commitment of our agricultural partners goes above and beyond legal requirements, with many farmers aiming to further develop their business in various areas. We support these efforts any way we can.

Any time we become aware of incorrect animal handling, we insist that the situation is immediately corrected. If we as a slaughterhouse determine that an improvement cannot be achieved in the foreseeable future, we immediately discontinue our cooperation with the partner in question. We furthermore never hesitate to report violations of animal welfare laws to the authorities.

Animal welfare during transport

Animal welfare during transport

In addition to the proper keeping of animals and slaughterhouse procedures, transport is an essential area in which the correct treatment of animals must be ensured. Here we work with transport companies or directly with farmers holding proper certification and knowledge as required by law. It is important to us that forwarding companies and the farmers themselves operate exclusively with vehicles that maintain modern technical standards. When organizing deliveries, we ensure that there are no waiting times at our premises, or that they are at least reduced to a minimum. Particular attention is paid to this planning in the hot weeks of summer and cold phases of winter.

Whenever animals are not treated correctly during transport or loading, we proceed in the same way as with our agricultural partners: Incorrect behavior is addressed and stopped immediately. If it is not evident that this can be done in a timely manner, we immediately terminate the transport cooperation. If we determine that violations of the German Animal Welfare Act have occurred, we do not hesitate to report them to the authorities.

Animal welfare at slaughter

Animal welfare at slaughter

The slaughter of animals is an unquestionably sensitive area when it comes to their welfare. From delivery to bleeding out, all procedures must be organized and implemented in proper accordance with animal welfare. All colleagues working in these sensitive areas are certified for this work and receive annual training. Many of them hold years of experience in these positions. The core processes of slaughtering must always be done with respect for the animals in mind. This process is also supported by camera observation and an award-winning AI system. We continually work to ensure proper treatment of animals at all times.

Waiting area

Waiting area

Done properly, the animal waiting area can contribute to effective slaughter. After discharge, the animals are led by an employee to the waiting areas and are given the opportunity to rest in the holding pens, usually for about 20 minutes. Rested and relaxed pigs are very important for the rest of the slaughtering process, especially when stunning. The delivery of the pigs and the entire waiting area are under video surveillance around the clock.

Stunning with CO2

Stunning with CO2

We use a Butina CO2 stunning system for our slaughtering. The stunning process begins with the animals being herded into groups of twelve, driven in mechanically or by an employee of the stunning unit. The area itself has a slight incline and is brightly lit, because pigs walk more calmly and relax when they walk up and into a bright area. Due to their social nature, it is a stressful situation for pigs to be separated from their group before stunning, which is why all steps before stunning are done in a small group.

The animals travel into an elevator system to a lower level filled with CO2 for stunning. For a short period of time (about 10-15 seconds), the pigs gasp for air and noticeably react. This phase of gasping for air is stronger or weaker depending on whether the pigs were relaxed or under duress before stunning. The exact concentration of CO2 is monitored by sensors, which allow us to ensure that exactly the right concentration is applied at all times. A CO2 concentration that is too high would lead to an overly-strong defense reaction by the pigs. A concentration that is too low would not allow for sufficient stunning. Stunning is applied for 150 seconds (120 seconds are required by law), immediately after which the stunned animals enter the bleeding process.

There continues to be no alterative form of stunning for a slaughterhouse of our size. Although another possibility would be stunning with electric forceps, the disadvantage of this is that the animals would have to be separated from their group, a stress factor we do not wish to introduce. Furthermore, when staff use forceps, possible stunning errors cannot be entirely ruled out. The use of electric shocks can also have a negative effect on the quality of the meat, which can be seen for example in blood stains on the top side of pork chops. The only time we use electric tongs is in individual cases in the waiting area or for post-stunning. The CO2 stunning technique we currently use has of course been criticized, most notably regarding the phase where pigs gasp for air. However, taking all aspects into account, we feel this is the best stunning method currently available.

Stunning with helium

Helium stunning is not a possibility for our operation because helium rises, making it unsuitable for use in our current deep-bed facilities. We believe that helium as a stunning gas can in principle represent a new alternative. Although we support any further developments that would allow us to use it, the helium systems we have seen in tests are only designed for individual animals under laboratory conditions. Current helium systems are not yet an option for us because they are either unavailable for purchase or simply do not exist for daily use. We are open at all times to further developments of the existing technology, or new technologies, and would be happy to be a part of their market introduction when the time comes.

Controlled bleeding

Controlled bleeding

Bleeding is another critical area of slaughter. After stunning, the animals are hung up on one hind leg to bleed out. Bleeding is initiated by stabbing the carotid artery with a hollow knife equipped with two sensors that measure the amount of blood and blood flow velocity, ensuring that the right vessel has been punctured. By accurately measuring the amount of blood, we can ensure that the animal is bled correctly and that a sufficient amount of blood is extracted. Death occurs in pigs after about 1.6 liters of blood is withdrawn. We withdraw approximately 3.2 liters of blood from each pig. Accurate sensor monitoring ensures that each pig has been bled correctly and that death has occurred before the animal enters the scalding tunnel.

SoL controller

SoL controller

After bleeding, the pigs are conveyed in a hanging position into a scalding tunnel, which is followed by further steps of slaughter. Before entering the scalding tunnel, the pigs are examined one more time using 3D technology to check each pig, with the system signaling if any unusual movements are detected. This additional check ensures once again that the pigs have been bled correctly and that death has occurred. This technology, the SoL controller (Science of Life), is highly modern and only used by a few slaughterhouses. The inventor of this system, Dr. Andreas Briese, was awarded third place in the Lower Saxony Digitalization Award competition. We’re proud that this technology was developed at our slaughterhouse (among others) and with our support.

Certifications

Certifications

QS
QS (Quality and Safety) is an inspection system that spans from the farmer to the shop counter. As a slaughterhouse, we are part of this chain and participants in the QS system.

IFS
International Featured Standard Food defines uniform food and product standards on an international level. Our processes are subject to the specifications of the IFS system due to our international operations.

VLOG
VLOG (Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik e.V.) certifies companies that produce GMO-free products and can credibly separate them from non-GMO products. We are proud members of the VLOG family.

BIO
This is a German organic food certification for the production of organic products and their corresponding standards. We are certified organic and meet these requirements.

Hygienic concept

Hygienic concept

Our slaughterhouse is clearly divided into hygienically clean (“white areas”) and non-sterile areas (“green area,” “green side”). The green side is the area where the live pigs are delivered. This also includes the waiting, stunning, bleeding, scalding, and scratching areas, all the way to the decontamination flame oven. A second scorching achieves low germ loads on the skin of the pigs. At this point, the carcasses are conveyed to the white area. The white area may only be entered by employees who have passed through a disinfection gateway system. In the white area, head coverings/hairnets (with integrated mouth/nose protection) are compulsory along with fresh hygienic work clothing every day. This specialized work covering has e.g. pockets on the inside, preventing objects from falling out into the products. Ideally, this clothing covers 100% of the personal clothing so that it cannot contaminate the meat. Professional cleaning companies ensure that the clothes leave no detergent residue. All of these measures and many more are summarized in our comprehensive hygienic concept that is regularly checked and updated by our QM department.

Video surveillance

Video surveillance

The entire slaughterhouse is under continual video surveillance. From the moment a lorry with live pigs enters the premises, to the moment a refrigerated lorry with finished cuts leaves the grounds, every step is video monitored. This is especially important in sensitive areas such as the waiting, stunning, and bleeding areas. The video material is stored for a specified period of time, allowing us to clarify any situations that may arise at a later date. We have practiced this kind of video surveillance for ten years. It furthermore complies with current European data protection regulations.

Animal disease

Animal disease

Animal disease prevention is of particular importance for our company. African swine fever is something we closely monitor for in our operation. Every day, various transport vehicles from different farms in the region come to our premises. Refrigerated vehicles that drive the commissioned goods to our customers are potential virus carriers. This is why we ensure that we fulfill all animal disease prevention requirements. Prior to the most recent outbreak of African swine fever in Germany, we established a disinfection gateway channel to disinfect every incoming vehicle. Once any vehicle is on our farm, the requirements of the German Animal Disease Ordinance are strictly adhered to. This means for example that livestock transporters leaving our farm must always be cleaned and disinfected in our truck wash. We furthermore ensure impeccable animal disease hygiene from our employees at all times.

Regionality

Regionality

Founded in 1930, Schlachthof Brand is closely linked to the nearby Oldenburg Münsterland region we have proudly worked with for generations. Regionality for us also means that the animals we slaughter mainly come from Lower Saxony and northern North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.

Relationships with suppliers and partners from the region are essential for our daily business. Direct, just-in-time contact with regional agriculture, suppliers, and processing partners makes it possible for example to maintain short transport times for animals. These are good for both the environment and the animals. Well over 90% of the pigs delivered to us have transport times of less than two hours. We like how this promotes our close connection to the region.

Fair pricing for partners and customers

Fair pricing for partners and customers

Fairness is a core component of our corporate DNA. We believe that close, trusting cooperation with all agricultural partners is an essential prerequisite for this.

We place particularly high value on fair cooperation done at eye level. We do not adhere to common industry house prices which deviate from standard pricing. We instead allow fixed price models wherever possible, with which our agricultural partners can earn a steady and secure living from pig farming. These fixed price models are typically used at livestock farms having higher animal welfare standards.

Our employees

Our employees

The promotion and support of employees, as well as fair cooperation and treatment of employees are cornerstones of our corporate culture. It is our company philosophy to work exclusively with our own employees. Contrary to the trend in the industry, we have remained true to this philosophy since our founding in 1930 and intend to continue on this path in the future. An exception was the year 2020, in which subcontracted employees worked for us during the construction of our new cutting plant. We were able to take these colleagues on as permanent employees over the course of the same year.

The principles of fairness, promotion, and support apply to all employees in all areas of our company, whether in production, field service, or administration.

Good pay for good work. Even though salary should not be the main motivator of a job, it is of course essential. We are proud of how we for instance pay higher than the national minimum wage. In addition to salary, we are committed to solid employee health and occupational pension programs. This high level of commitment and responsibility to our employees has always been an important part of the company and will remain so in the years to come.