On-Farm Food Safety
Food safety is among the top concerns for Canadians, and we believe that food safety begins on the farm. That’s why we’re committed to ensuring that all 2,800 chicken farmers in Canada are responsible for producing quality chicken that meets both the food safety and animal care concerns of our customers. CFC’s on-farm food safety program ensures that top-notch safety procedures and standardized safety systems will be found on every Canadian chicken farm, allowing Canadian chicken farmers continue to produce safe and high quality product, as they have been doing for generations.
Canada’s chicken farmers are proud to grow safe, quality chicken consumers can trust. When it comes to food safety, we all have a role to play. For consumers, it’s practicing safe food handling at home, but for us, food safety begins on the farm.
CFC’s on-farm food safety program was first introduced in 1998. It was developed by farmers, for farmers and respects all Canadian regulatory requirements, in addition to our own. The program involves audited on-farm practices, and has been recognized by Federal, Provincial and Territorial governments, led by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
The program combines good production practices as well as internationally recognized Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles into chicken production.
Under this program, after chickens have been shipped to the processing plant, farmers follow strict barn cleaning procedures. Before the next flock is delivered, waterlines are cleaned and disinfected and barns are extremely well cleaned, including litter removal. The program also stipulates that the farms’ water supplies must be analyzed on an annual basis.
Stringent record keeping is an important component of on-farm food safety and allows Canadian chicken farmers to participate in quality control, traceability, and disease control. The flock sheet is a form used by farmers to record specific information about such things as feed, any medications or vaccines used number of birds placed, etc. A preliminary sheet is sent to the processor 3 to 4 days ahead of the flock and the complete information is required on the flock sheet with the shipment itself.
The flock sheet serves as the farmers’ assurance to the other links in the food chain that the birds have been produced in accordance with the strictest government and industry guidelines and regulations. Any farmers in violation of these guidelines face stiff penalties, and in the most extreme cases, could be stripped of their quota, preventing them from selling chicken.
CFC, in conjunction with each provincial board, has been implementing the program and operating the certification program since 2000. Recent additions to the program include the elements and requirements of the Animal Care Program as well as updated biosecurity restrictions and the latest forms and tools for farmers.
Once implemented on their farm, farmers undergo an annual audit. These third-party audits are conducted by professionals trained in HACCP principles and on-farm food safety and auditing techniques. After successfully completing their first audit, farmers receive an OFFSAP certificate. To maintain their certification, farmers must adhere to the annual audit schedule and continue to carry out the program.