Ekro specializes in veal and since 1994 has been part of the VanDrie Group – the world market leader in veal, operating at all stages of the production chain. The VanDrie Group produces its own veal. ‘Group Grown’ refers to veal produced on a natural basis within the closed vertical production column of the VanDrie Group. Ekro slaughters and processes some 350.000 calves a year and is the world’s largest veal producer. Ekro’s clients are retailers, food producers and the food service industry.
Ekro began in 1952 as a business and has always specialised in veal production. In 1988, the company outgrew its location and a new slaughterhouse and meat processing plant were built on the spacious industrial estate in Apeldoorn Zuid on Laan van Malkenschoten.
Since 1994, Ekro has been part of the VanDrie Group – the world market leader in veal, operating at all stages of the production chain. Increasing customer demand for deboned products led to the building of a new modern deboning facility in 2001. Ekro is the world’s largest veal producer.
The VanDrie Group produces its own veal. ‘Group Grown’ refers to veal produced on a natural basis within the closed vertical production column of the VanDrie Group. Calves are kept in groups so that they can move freely. The fine and tender structure of the meat is determined by the feed, composed of milk products that suit the young animal’s natural nutritional requirements. Calves are also fed maize silage.
Group Grown veal is high-quality, safe veal from calves kept in an animal-friendly manner.
Calves are kept in groups at affiliated calf farms so that they can move freely. The groups are carefully composed according to the conditions and dimensions determined in the tripartite agreement between the Dutch government, the Dutch animal protection society and Dutch businesses. With this agreement, the Netherlands is ahead of European legislation.
The calf farmers continually provide professional care for individual animals. The farmers are under the strict control of various bodies, including the veal calf quality guarantee foundation (SKV). They are also guided by farming specialists within the VanDrie organisation.
The calves’ accommodation meets strict regulations to promote the animals’ welfare, such as freedom of movement, amount of light, ventilation, fresh air supply and opportunity to drink.
Moreover, Group Grown veal is simply delicious, lean and tender.
The main ingredient of the feed is calf milk, which is partly responsible for the fine structure of the characteristically veal. Calf milk consists of pure milk products such as skim milk powder and whey powder, plus natural nutritional supplements for the calf’s healthy growth. Calves receive additional crude fibre, including maize silage, in the feed regimen, enabling the calf’s stomach and intestinal functions to develop naturally. Group Grown veal is, of course, free of growth promotors and other unwanted substances.
This is checked at all stages of farming and feeding by the independent veal calf quality guarantee foundation (SKV). SKV applies serious penalties in the event of violations. SKV also checks compliance with regulations for the Identification and Registration System and IKB regulations.
Group Grown veal is easy to prepare and can be combined infinitely with other products.
The second type of veal is Friander, the VanDrie Group’s rosé veal.
That’s no exaggeration when it comes to this characteristic meat. Friander is beyond comparison with any other meat because of its natural flavour.
Friander comes from specially selected Holstein-Frisian calves. The specific feeding, accommodation and care of the animals give the meat a fine structure and make it very tender. This is a purely natural product that meets the very highest standards. The VanDrie Group guarantees this by applying strict selection criteria.
- Safe and reliable
- Accommodation according to strict standards
- Traceable at every stage
- A unique quality guarantee
- Checks, checks and more checks
- Responsible transport
Of course, the VanDrie Group can supply Friander according to your wishes. After all, professional people and modern, well-equipped processing companies assure custom delivery. Deliveries of Friander are based on client-specific requests. Flexibility in terms of delivering various cuts and different types of packaging also applies to all Friander organ meats.
- has a fresh red colour
- is low in calories
- has a fine structure
- is easy to combine
- works well as a meal component
- is suitable as a half-finished product for preparing meat products
Food Quality System
The VanDrie Group’s quality system is called Safety Guard and is based on HACCP. The company achieves the highest conceivable level of hygiene. With Safety Guard, Ekro has imposed standards on itself that surpass the international standards. In addition to HACCP standards, Safety Guard also meets the BRC (British Retail Consortium) standard and the IFS standard. The independent Lloyd’s Register is responsible for auditing the effectiveness of the systems twice a year.
All our products carry the quality guarantee label of the veal calf quality guarantee foundation (SKV). Veal checked by SKV is guaranteed free of growth promotors, hormones and b-agonists. So it is guaranteed to be safe.
What does the SKV check mean?
- 100% of the Dutch calf sector is covered by the SKV check
- Strict, intensive checks on all links in the production chain
- Administrative checks, sampling and visual checks
- All SKV inspectors are certified
- SKV sampling analysed by the TNO independent laboratory
- Checking and analysis methods continually tested by an independent scientific board
- Severe penalties for violations
- The only checking system of its kind in Europe
- SKV checking is STERIN certified (EN-45004) and is supervised by the Dutch government
IKB – Integral supply chain management
There are two IKB systems for veal calves: one for white and one for rosé calves. The content of the systems is the same and the goals include eliminating the use of growth promoters, checking the use of medicine and resulting in additional quality in the end product. In general, the system amounts to the following:
For the calf farmers:
- Participation in the IKB system is through the PVV
- Calves are reported to the I&R system within three working days after birth
- Every calf gets an earmark with a unique Registration and Identification number
- Within 5 weeks of herd assembly, calves are reported to the veal calf quality guarantee foundation (SKV)
- Imported calves receive at least one official Dutch earmark
- The calf farmer gives the SKV permission for an entrance test
- The SKV has the right to check the calf farmer’s operations unannounced
- The SKV samples 30% of herds assembled for urine and feed. Administration and medicine use are also tested
- Sample analysis by TNO
- 100% of calves are visually checked
- The calf farmer keeps IKB records, including:
- a copy of the IKB agreement
- information on veal calf set-up
- specified medicine records
- veterinary statement that GVP code is being observed
- a statement that the feed supplier complies with the GMP code
- classification and other individual information on IKB calves delivered
- The calf farmer will report calves to be delivered to the SKV in a timely manner
- The SKV checks the calves before delivery
- If IKB rules are violated, the SKV will not issue an IKB quality certificate
- The IKB certificate accompanies the herd of calves to the slaughterhouse
- Delivery occurs only if prescribed waiting periods after permitted use of medicine have been observed
For the feed producers:
- Feed producers are also controlled by the SKV, among others
- The SKV samples the feed ingredients and the end product
- Random checks of animal feed records of producers and calf farmers
- SKV checks are covered by the GMP framework
- Transport complies with the rules of the Animal Transport Decree of the Animal Health and Welfare Act and the Motor Vehicles and Trailers Ruling of the Livestock Act
- Checks and testing of IKB rules regarding transport are performed by the PVE, AID, RVV and GD
- No tranquillisers are administered
For the slaughterhouses:
- On delivery, SKV checks the accuracy of the certificates that accompany the calves
- The calf slaughterhouses are covered by the IKB system
- GMP is part of the IKB system
- The PVV carries out the checks
- The SKV takes random samples of urine, blood, hair, faeces, meat parts and carcasses
- The CBS checks and records the IKB-worthiness of the carcasses on classification
- Classification and checking results are sent back to the supplier
- Approved quality management systems are recorded in a manual
The IKB records contain:
- a copy of the IKB agreement
- reports of SGS audits
- IKB certificates for calves that have been supplied
- delivery statements
- results of internal checks
- results of RVV tests
- Veal producers within the VanDrie Group work in channels
- Each batch of veal is produced in a manner appropriate for IKB
- All calves processed by the VanDrie Group are IKB-worthy