Right: Theo Legters – Manager Operations (T. Boer en Zn.)
Left: Henk ter Avest (DGS Primary Meat Processing)

Bacteriën Bacteria prevention in meat tackled at source

“Bringing together food technology, practical experience and engineering.” – Theo Legters

Theo Legters, Manager Operations at T. Boer en Zn. is an old hand in the meat industry and has very definitive views on hygiene. He believes you have to tackle the problem at source. A member of the VanDrie Groep, T. Boer en Zn. is a worldwide supplier with high hygiene and food safety standards. VanDrie is determined to meet the very highest standards and to be a leader in hygiene and food safety. Together with Henk Ter Avest from DGS in Haaksbergen, Theo Legters developed the new Hygienic Slaughter Line Chain (DGS-HSL-Chain) that sets a new standard.

Boer en Zn. was established in 1885 as a family company. Now, more than a century later, the company has grown to become the largest veal producer worldwide. We are the only veal producer in the Netherlands to be honoured with the prestigious title of purveyor to the Royal household.

Annually, 400 employees process more than 400,000 calves in the controlled and integrated production chain of the VanDrie Group. Boer en Zn. Is a member of the Dutch VanDrie Group, a company built on the best family traditions that are still strongly upheld. Early in the 1960s, Jan van Drie purchased his first new-born calf for breeding. Now, the VanDrie Group of more than 25 companies has the largest veal integrated production chain worldwide, is world leader in veal production and largest producer of calf powdered milk.

In our unique system of integrated chain management, Safety Guard, some 1.5 million calves are slaughtered annually, 95% of which are exported to countries worldwide. VanDrie Group supplies about 28% of Europe’s demand.

Hygiene at the highest level

Theo Legters knows better than anyone the importance of hygiene. At our company in Nieuwerkerk aan de IJssel, he takes hygiene a step further than the applicable standards. Solutions implemented by Theo at T. Boer en Zn. are often raised to standards by the inspection authorities for hygiene programmes. So, we can say with confidence that Theo is a trendsetter in this area.

“We supply to the whole world, to countries with the highest hygiene and food safety standards,” explains Theo Legters. “We want to do more than just meet food safety standards.  You can only achieve the highest level of food safety and shelf life with an in-depth approach to hygiene and to the risks of bacterial contamination. This means not just tackling the symptoms but getting right to the source of the contamination.” Theo scrutinises every aspect of the production process – dehiding, air treatment, and the type of conveyor. He has been investigating these matters for many years, and is fully aware that the entire production facility and process must be fully designed and used in practice to achieve the highest level of hygiene in a manageable food safety process.

Conveyors are pepper and salt shakers for bacteria

Conveyors have had Theo’s attention for many years: “If you don’t do things properly, conveyors can become pepper and salt shakers for bacteria. Rusting galvanised chain, food-grade fat to which dirt can adhere and cleaning difficulties are all thorns in my side. Cooperation with Henk Ter Avest from DGS has brought together knowledge in food technology and engineering, and practical experience. This has led to a hygienic stainless steel chain and to a new standard.

 Our starting points were a conveyor chain that can be cleaned well, is resistant to acids, and without grease that attracts bacteria. And a conveyor chain that can be well maintained. ”

Hygienic Slaughter Line, the new standard developed by Dutch partners.

“The cooperation has led to a new stainless steel chain to which grease does not adhere on the outer side,” says Henk Ter Avest. “The chain can be easily cleaned in line and also with acids.” Theo adds: “This is a sustainable chain and with good maintenance, it could last forever. With one spare part, the chain can be maintained section by section during normal operating hours under good conditions. The sustainable chain and the maintenance concept minimise breaks in the chain and thus unplanned stoppages.

 The solution fits seamlessly with the existing galvanised cardanic chain. This enables us to phase the rebuilding of the existing conveyors to this new standard.”

 Theo is pleased with the cooperation with DGS: “With DGS, we were able to bring together engineering, years of practical experience, and technology. DGS is a company that wants to innovate and to work closely with us as client.”

 The new DGS-HSL-Chain have been incorporated in the DGS-HSL concept. HSL stands for Hygienic Slaughter Line.

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