Grazing and outdoor access - beef
Allowing animals to graze is good for their welfare and gives the animals plenty of opportunity to behave naturally. Well-managed grazing is also a resource-efficient and environmentally friendly way to raise cattle. Animals can graze in grasslands, fields, or land that cannot be used for producing other types of food. Contracting authorities who require grazing for cattle contribute to grazing animals which also can have a positive effect on biodiversity.
- Technical specification
Beef must be derived from animals that are able to graze or otherwise have access to the outdoors for at least 60 days during the grazing season, with the exception of calves younger than six months old, bulls, and quarantined animals.
- If beef is produced from dairy cattle, they are to be kept grazing during the summer period. The cattle will be considered to have been kept grazing for one day if, during that period, they are allowed to stay outside for a continuous period of at least six hours, on land with plants which can be grazed by the animals and that exist in sufficient amount and quality so that it is possible for the animals to graze together with a normal grazing behaviour.
- If beef is produced from other kinds of cattle, they will be considered to have been kept outdoors for one day if they go out and are able to be outside for a continuous period of 24 hours.
- Certification that meets the requirement, such as IP nöt grundcertifiering [IP Beef base level certification], IP mjölk grundcertifiering [IP Milk base level certification], or other certification showing that the requirement is met.
- Details of country of origin of beef ingredients and reference to applicable law in cases where national legislation establishes that the requirement is met, e.g. Origin: Sweden, chapter 2, sections 3-4 of the Animal Welfare Protection Ordinance (2019:66) and chapter 6, section 4 of L 104, SJVFS (2017:24).
- Other documentation that proves the requirement is met.
Monitoring of compliance during the contract period can for example be done through sampling at one or several occasions of one or several products for which the criterion applies. The supplier can prove that the product(s) meet the requirement through, e.g,:
- Certification according to IP mjölk grundcertifiering [IP Milk base level certification], IP nöt grundcertifiering [IP Beef base level certification], or other certification showing that the requirement is met.
- Labelling the country of origin of beef ingredients, e.g., Country of origin Sweden, 'Från Sverige' [From Sweden], 'Kött från Sverige' [Meat from Sweden] with written documentation showing that the requirement has been met, e.g., an Importer's Declaration along with a self-assessment in accordance with Miljöhusesyn or audit records.
- Other written documentation showing that the requirement is met.
Contracting authorities may, in specific cases and when motivated, state in the contract terms that documentation is to be verified or reviewed by an independent third party. What does this mean? (only in Swedish)
Subject matter of contract
Products of beef with environmental and animal protection criteria
Information about the criterion
Market availability may be limited for individual products.
Note that grazing requirements according to chapter 2, section 4 of the Animal Welfare Protection Ordinance (2019:66) do not apply to calves younger than six months or bulls. Around 40% of the slaughtered cattle in Sweden in 2018 where bulls. Calves for beef production born the 1st of march or later are not required to graze during the year of birth. Read more on the Swedish board of agriculture’s website.
For grazing that also applies to bulls, see Organic Production - supplementary (beef) Requirement ID 10235 (Swedish). The EU-organic regulations also include grazing requirements.
Animals that can spend time in large outdoor areas are able to move about and graze in accordance with their natural behaviour. Grazing also generally produces animals that are healthier, more sound, and with better hoof health. Grazing animals can also contribute to biological diversity, as grazing creates an environment that benefits many plants and animals.
The regulations of the Swedish Board of Agriculture (see chapter 6, sections 4-7 of SJVFS (2019:18)) state the minimum number of days that animals must be kept on pasture or otherwise allowed to spend time outdoors during the summer. In northern Sweden, the minimum is 60 days; in central Sweden, 90 days; and in southern Sweden, it is 120 days.
In southern and central Sweden, the grazing period is from 1 April to 31 October. In northern Sweden, the grazing period is between 1 May and 1 October. According to the regulations of the Swedish Board of Agriculture, SJVFS (2019:18), pasture is defined as vegetated land that animals are able to graze on and where the vegetation is in sufficient quantities that it is possible for the animals to graze at the same time and according to their natural behaviour.
Common rules for cattle at the EU level are mainly found in the so-called Calves Directive (2008/119/EC) that regulates the rearing of calves up to the age of six months. Sweden is the only country in the EU where grazing is required by law, but Finland, Austria and other countries do have legislation in place regarding exercise for cattle. However, production based on grazing is common, especially in countries that have a mild climate.
The version date indicates when the sustainability criterion was created or last updated. Last reviewed dated tells when we last checked that the sustainability criterion still is relevant.
- Current ID
- Version date
2020-03-25: Changed level from advanced to core. Criteria according to regulations from Swedish Board of Agriculture. 2016-12-19: Changed level from core to advanced, changed type from award criteria to technical specification