European journalists visit the Netherlands: human nose detection of boar taint

groepOn 17 and 18 April 2013, Italian, French and German journalists, alongside their Dutch colleagues, took an informative programme on the European state of affairs with regard to stopping castration. The programme’s objective was to inform them about the most recent European and Dutch research results from Wageningen University and Research Centre, to exchange knowledge on the state of affairs in various European countries and to become acquainted with the Human Nose, a detection method for boar taint. The journalists visited a pig farm that raises boars (uncastrated pigs) and a slaughterhouse.

The objective of the European project ‘Stopping castration’ is to stop castrating pigs in 2018 throughout the European Union. Market parties expressed this ambition in the Brussels’ Declaration. The Dutch market parties aim to achieve this ambition in 2015.

The five presentations dealt with relevant aspects such as the influence of genetics, the management of pig farms that raise boars, consumer research and methods for detecting boar taint.

Complex subject in Europe

The complexity of the subject and the situations in the various European countries was discussed with Mr Andrea Gavinelli, head of Unit D5 of the Directorate General of the European Commission (among other things charged with animal welfare). The principle preconditions for the success of the European project are the market acceptance of boar meat and confidence from buyers and consumers in the meat’s quality.

Boar taint detection method

To be able to guarantee this, a meticulous, applicable detection method for boar taint has been sought. In the Netherlands, the so-called Human Nose detection method was developed to this end. The journalists visited a slaughterhouse where this method is successfully applied. The protocol for this quality check has already been incorporated into the German QS (Qualität und Sicherheit) [Quality and Security] quality system. Talks are still underway about its incorporation into the Dutch IKB (Integrale Keten Beheersing) [Integral Chain Management] quality system.