Since April 1, 2019, the leading German food retailers (LEH) have been labeling the fresh meat offered to them according to the uniform four-level system "Husbandry Form". Admission to the QS scheme is required for level 1.
Compliance with minimum legal standards is not enough.
The 'Husbandry Form' is not a new animal welfare seal but, given a variety of existing and widely available quality, animal welfare and organic signs, creates the transparency that consumers demand on the conditions under which cattle, pigs, and chickens and turkeys are kept , Level 1 "Stallhaltung" (husbandry in stable) requires approval in the QS system, and now for pork and poultry, for cattle by January 2020 at the latest. At level 2 "Stallhaltung plus", there must be at least 10 percent more space in the stable and activity material for the farm animal. These requirements are met by the Initiative Tierwohl (ITW). Level 3 "outdoor climate" requires, among other things, even more space and fresh air contact. Level 4 "Premium" means additional space and outlet possibilities.
QS system more comprehensive than legal requirements
Companies wishing to participate in the QS scheme must also meet certain requirements that go beyond the legal requirements. The individual measures "about law" can be found on the QS website
. Crucial is the successive quality assurance from the farmer to the shop counter. Ensuring process quality, independent controls, comprehensive monitoring and consistent traceability are the core elements of the QS testing system.
Compliance with animal welfare and animal health regulations is a basic prerequisite for all animal keepers in the QS system. They ensure an animal-welfare-appropriate attitude, animal health and hygiene in the enterprise as well as an appropriate transport of the animals. Compliance with the requirements is ensured by a multi-level control system. Violations of animal welfare and animal health regulations are consistently sanctioned.
The monitoring programs on feed, salmonella and antibiotics required by the QS scheme are used to identify and review important indicators. To assess animal health and animal welfare in the stables, all slaughter findings are evaluated by QS and the results transmitted to the animal owners.
Organization of the uniform husbandry labeling
The new housing form marking system is uniform and cross-company. The organization is carried out by the Society for the Promotion of Animal Welfare in livestock husbandry mbH, which at the same time is also the sponsor of the industry initiative Animal Welfare. The Company co-ordinates the definition of the minimum criteria between the LEH partners and assigns individual programs at the request of a participating LEH to the respective level of the form of housing. The QS Quality and Safety GmbH, the world's largest cross-stage testing system for fresh food, supports the society for the promotion of animal welfare in livestock husbandry mbH in the management of the organization of auditing and data management.