More accusations levelled at meat industry: now it’s ‘better life’ fraud

One of Europe’s biggest meat processing firms is selling factory-farmed meat as more expensive product with a ‘better life’ label, current affairs show Zembla will claim on Thursday night.

Employees from Vion told the show the company is committing fraud because it is in financial difficulties and can earn more this way, Nos television reports.

‘A few years ago, we would tell customers if we did not have what they were asking for,’ one anonymous worker said. ‘Nowadays we just supply them, even if we don’t have it.’

The accusation is one of several leaked in advance of the broadcast, which looks at Dutch slaughterhouses. The ‘better life’ label is a star-based system developed by animal welfare group Dierenbescherming.


A spokesman for Vion said the company did not accept the accusations and that it is ‘rubbish’ to say workers messed around with the labelling. ‘We are a company with integrity and our own checks show nothing is wrong,’ the spokesman said.

The company is also angry that Zembla is unwilling to share its information ‘so that we can tackle it if anything is wrong’.

Vion is one of the biggest meat processors in Europe, supplying the Albert Heijn and Plus supermarket groups among others. The company booked turnover of €9.5bn in 2011.

Tonight’s programme also claims there is widespread contamination of meat with E.coli bacteria because of poor slaughterhouse practices and hygiene and that sick animals end up in the food chain.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation