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Belgian Ham, the star of the 17th edition of Round Table in Ghent

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For this 17th edition of the Round Table by Belgian Meat Office Ghent was chosen as the place to meet. Ghent is located in the East Flanders province, at the confluence of the Lys and the Scheldt. People have lived here since the Stone Age and such a long history brings traditions with it. One of the traditions that Flanders is known for, and rightfully proud of, is pork. During this two-day visit, the ham is used as the common ground to tell a story about the past... and the future.

Posted on Sep 26 ,04:52

Belgian Ham, the star of the 17th edition of Round Table in Ghent

The two-day trip started with a visit to Corma, famous for mainly one product: Ganda ham. Raw ham has been transformed into a delicacy here for generations, using nothing but ham, salt, time and craftsmanship. The company produces 165,000 dried hams a year and employs a total of 55 people. The company has its origins in 1954 when the Cornelis family started a butcher's shop in Wetteren near Ghent. This year, the third generation, Matheo and Valerie Cornelis, are taking over the daily management of this family business from their father.

Belgium is characterised by a culture of integral chain management to ensure quality and traceability. Belpork is an interprofessional organisation with the aim of promoting the quality of Belgian pork in a sustainable way. This ambition gave birth in 1992 to Meesterlyck, the quality label for high-quality cooked and dried ham in Belgium. Corma can proudly call itself one of the twelve certified manufacturers who may label their product with the Meesterlyck quality mark.

On the second day, a step back in the production chain was taken. The Van Bogaert company, also not far from the centre of Ghent, is a highly specialised, ultramodern establishment where tradition, craftsmanship and tailormade work are made to last. The company started out in 1974 as a meat processing company, but soon put its focus on boning and cutting pork legs, completely to the customer's specifications. In 2020, a brand new, state-of-the-art production facility was built with a weekly capacity of 1,000 tonnes. Entering this company gives a glimpse into the future with a focus on innovation, digitalisation and automation.

In November 2021, Van Bogaert became part of the Belgian Pork Group. With this new step, Van Bogaert assures its customers of a high-quality offering, a broader network and a solid business structure.

The meat sector is facing many challenges. To such an extent, in fact, that some people are wondering out loud whether there is still a future. The question was posed to Michael Gore, director of FEBEV, the Belgian federation of slaughterhouses, cutting plants and wholesalers in pork and beef. The answer is a wholehearted "yes, there is a future”. The challenges may be diverse and large, but if we listen to what is happening within the chain, within the federation and within society, we can join forces and make a difference to the public." says Michael Gore.

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