Belgian dairy comprises a wide range of dairy products prized at home and abroad. Our 519,000 dairy cows (figures from 2017) provide Belgian milk of high quality, Belgian cheeses and lots of other dairy products.
Flemish dairy products are sought after both in Belgium and abroad. What are dairy products? Dairy products comprise a very wide range of products, from basic products like milk, butter and cheese to many dairy specialties such as dairy desserts and derived dairy products. There is a diversity of products in each category. For example, milk drinks, yoghurt, butter products, dairy desserts, types of cheese and basic products for the food industry. Most trade occurs with countries inside the European Union. However, some products are extremely suitable for being exported to distant destinations. For example, 72% of the milk powder exported is destined for countries outside Europe.
Belgium exports dairy products for an amount of 3.3 billion euros. There has been a sharp increase in foreign trade during the past decade, both in import and export.
Belgian dairy: pure quality and safe food
Superior quality and food safety form the cornerstones of Belgian dairy export. From production, via processing to the consumer, Belgian milk and the entire range of Belgian dairy products are famous for their high quality standards. This is guaranteed by the strict regulations for the entire production and transport process. External inspections ensure that the regulations are effectively met.
According to the annual report of the Belgian Confederation of the Dairy Industry (BCZ), the Belgian dairy industry processed 4.7 billion litres of milk in 2017. On top of that, milk processing has increased sharply in the past few years: 55% more milk is processed now than in 2006. On the one hand, milk deliveries by Belgian farmers increased and on the other hand more milk was imported for processing in net terms.
Belgian milk under the supervision of DQA
The dairy sector has applied a strict quality policy for years. Dairy products have a good image and the sector is constantly innovating. The DQA system (www.dqa.be) handles the complete dairy quality assurance. The participants comply with strict regulations. Furthermore, there is scientific support and additional tests for a number of possible contaminants.
On delivery to the factory, various quality parameters of the raw milk are immediately checked. In addition, each farm is subject to an audit under the DQA quality assurance system. The audit comprises a check on the animal welfare, animal health, hygiene and sustainability. Producers who do not meet the requirements, may not deliver milk to the dairy companies. It's worth noting that 99.9% of the dairy producers are DQA-certified!
Belgian dairy inspected by the FASFC
Each production company in Belgium must have a self-monitoring system that is validated by the FASFC, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain. Independent inspectors check those quality systems at the individual production companies. In addition, the FASFC also organises additional tests. Within the European Union, the FASFC is seen as a shining example in the area of food safety.
Based on a combination of independent and official inspections, we can guarantee the quality and food safety of our Belgian milk and dairy products.