The high reputation of Dutch beef stems not only from its nutritional and culinary qualities, but also the reliable and controlled production process. A tried and tested method of tracking and independent quality inspections allows meat to be traced from the point of sale back to its source.

After calves have been born, they are marked with an ear tag to indicate where they were born and raised. When the animals are taken to slaughter, the farmer supplies voedselketeninformatie, which is Dutch for information about the cows’ food chain. This keeps track of the animals’ parents, which farm they were raised on, and the raw materials used to feed them.

Registration and codes enable the origin of the final product to be traced at all times. In April 2010, the Agricultural Census registered 2.4 million cattle that were at least 12 months old, the same number as the previous year.

The number of dairy cattle decreased slightly to 1.48 million animals. According to provisional figures, the production of beef in 2010 was around 165 million kg (roughly 182 tons).