Raised and Produced in Slovenia Exquisite Slovenian Quality
29 August 2019
A product begins its journey at Pivka perutninarstvo with a wish of offering the best to the customer. Everyone at Pivka is fully aware that constant quality builds consumer trust. We offer healthy and innovative food products, which give culinary enjoyment while daily saving time for active people. Our experts understand the consumer and the trends, demand top-notch suppliers and efficiently manage processes. Ana Penko, technologist at Pivka perutninarstvo, was interviewed by a reporter for the Naša super hrana (Our Super Food) portal.
1. Which controls are you subject to as a food company?
A product begins its journey at Pivka perutninarstvo with a wish of offering the best to the customer. Everyone at Pivka is fully aware that constant quality builds consumer trust. We offer healthy and innovative food products, which give culinary enjoyment while daily saving time for active people. Our experts understand the consumer and the trends, demand top-notch suppliers and efficiently manage processes. All processes and raw material, from feed selection to raising, processing and packaging are daily monitored in a thorough and responsible manner. All processes are daily monitored by the veterinary authority, independent external institutions, government inspectors, retailers and certification authorities.
Pivka perutninarstvo is the only producer with three national quality certificates, which subjects us to additional controls. The company has been awarded a certificate of good quality for selenium and Omega 3 meat and meat products and a certificate of exquisite Slovenian quality.
The high level of our processes and products is also shown in the high mark obtained through the IFS (International Food Standard) and a system of quality assurance and environmental protection. The conditions that have to be met to satisfy a standard are published on our website, available to any consumer and enabling anyone to check and appreciate our efforts to improve quality.
2. Why are controls in individual stages of the production process necessary? What would happen if no such control was in place?
The selection of feed affects meat quality, the temperature in the packaging facility impacts product’s shelf life and the designation of the farmer on the end product ensures traceability from the start of the process. Each stage is monitored and controlled since it affects the end product. Control points in process stages are useful in ensuring constant product quality.
Photo made by Mojfokus.
3. What is the penalty for failure to comply with certain requirements? Do you think the penalty is appropriate?
We have set ourselves a higher bar than that in the mandatory standards and wish to maintain it. Our first and foremost concern is to provide safe food to Slovenian consumers. Quality rules and criteria must be in place. If the requirements are not complied with, the offending company will lose the right to use the exquisite quality label on its products resulting in the products disappearing from retail stores. The threat of sanctions is necessary as otherwise, the label would not be worth much.
4. How do you assure meat quality as a producer?
Diligence is required in production processes in the food industry as the only path to a suitable and safe product for the consumer. Quality is monitored through daily tests performed in our in-house chemistry and microbiology lab and by external certified laboratories. All analyses are performed in accordance with the mandatory requirements and applicable standards.
Photo made by Mojfokus.
5. What does it mean to process meat in accordance with high standards? Could you describe the main measures to us?
Pivka Chicken with Omega 3 has an increased amount of unsaturated fatty acids. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are in the right proportion in this meat, which is crucial for health. Omega 3 is also present in linseeds added to the cereal mix fed to the Pivka chicken flock. The Pivka Chicken with Omega 3 product has obtained the high-quality certificate on account of the favourable ratio between Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids (4.5:1). The usual ratio in chicken meat is 10:1.
Pivka has also obtained a high-quality certificate for its chicken meat and products with selenium resulting from feed containing a natural source of organic selenium (yeasts). Given the values shown by testing, we can say that Pivka chicken products have health benefits.
The high-quality certificate given to chicken meat and products with selenium assures the following:
1. traceability from the field to the fork
2. the antioxidant selenium has a proven effect on the immune system and the thyroid.
Pivka Chicken also has the national certificate of exquisite quality, which assures the following:
1. local meat from Slovenian farmers
2. chicken meat processing done in Slovenia
3. feed is plant-based and has no animal proteins and artificial additives
4. the distance between the farm and the slaughterhouse is up to 200 km
5. traceability ensured in all production stages
6. name of the farmer listed on the product label
7. all processes subject to additional controls.
The certificates have been obtained through the proper certification process led by a select group of experts based on an invitation from the Ministry of Agriculture. Certification requires additional controls, both internal and those provided by external independent assessors.
6. What would be in your view the difference between Slovenian and foreign meat?
Locally produced meat is of better quality on account of shorter supply routes. Laws restricting the use of medicines and types of feed also differ. It is prohibited in Slovenia to add antibiotics in feed for prevention. According to the latest data, very small amounts of antibiotics are used in Slovenia, which is among the top countries in that regard, alongside mainly Scandinavian countries. Pivka produces animal feed itself. It contains no antibiotics, growth hormones or animal proteins. Compared to foreign producers, Slovenian chicken producers have a partnership with their farmers so that the conditions of raising chicken and the selection of quality feed are constantly monitored. Chickens are owned by the producers and the farmers are in charge of raising them. The result is meat of good quality. Foreign meat producers buy animals in the open market and have less control over chicken raising. Meat from such animals can also be found in stores in Slovenia. Slovenian producers have made a pledge to abide by higher standards under the exquisite quality certificate.
7. Could you briefly explain why Slovenian meat is more expensive than that of foreign origin?
Pivka offers meat and meat products of the highest quality but also wants to make them accessible to our consumers. In spite of the higher cost of feed made from cereals, the extra cost of controls, microbiological and chemical tests and labelling and provision of information, we have managed to keep prices on par with our competitors. We would like the customers to recognise the advantages of higher quality and appreciate products made in Slovenia. If you find meat and meat products at a significantly lower price in your local store, they are most probably of unverified origin and quality.
8. What would be in your opinion the advantages of local production using locally produced raw material?
The first advantage would be short supply routes, which affects the quality and freshness of meat. Sixty associated farmers produce chicken meat for Pivka perutninarstvo, most of them are located in Primorska (Kras and Vipava area) where there is no intensive agriculture and clean underground water. Primorska has mild winters and plenty of wind, which is a good micro-climate for raising chicken. The closeness of our associates means better control over the conditions of raising and feeding chickens. Pivka has 56% of its farming area at a distance of less than 30 km from the slaughterhouse.
9. How are you cooperating with your suppliers of animals?
Pivka perutninarstvo is a member of the Jata Emona Group, which supplies day-old chicks and feed for our production. It means that we have full control over everything from the hatchery and feed selection to processing.
10. What is, in your opinion, the importance of the Slovenian food processing industry for the Slovenian economy, society, rural areas and job preservation?
Just as the land we live on is crucial for the nation’s survival so are the basic items of food and water. We should preserve domestic production, quality and traditional recipes, which are a part of our nation’s culture and identity. Farming and food processing, of course, preserve rural areas and jobs and provide income to many families.
11. Which procedures do you use to check whether the animals entering the slaughterhouse comply with the required standards?
Animal health is ensured by giving chickens good conditions (favourable temperature at all times, correct litter, good quality feed, appropriate population density and other measures). The health of animals and the quality and composition of feed are constantly monitored. All measured parameters are recorded in line with the prescribed procedures.