Chicken Farmers of Canada’s Animal Care and On-Farm Food Safety programs are concrete, accountable means of demonstrating the pride and commitment of farmers in raising the quality chicken Canadians can trust. How this is done is summarized here.
Our programs offer a national set of standards to ensure consistency from coast to coast. Both programs are managed under one system and that system has various elements which make the programs effective and credible. The On-Farm Food Safety Assurance Program (OFFSAP) has received full Federal-Provincial-Territorial government recognition for effective and consistent implementation of the management system.
To ensure participation and compliance, farmers are audited annually and the programs have been made mandatory across the country. The number of certified farmers has now reached 100% for both programs.
Strict enforcement measures are in place to offer additional assurance. Provincial boards may use monetary penalties, reductions in allocation, or license suspension as measures of enforcement. The need for enforcement measures has decreased over time.
Chicken Farmers of Canada’s programs are audited by qualified auditors. More information on the process auditors must go through to become qualified can be found on this page. A system of third party audits is planned to begin in 2016.
Keeping Stakeholders Informed
Although it is rare, if a farmers’ certification is removed this is communicated to hatcheries and processors so that the whole industry is informed and involved.
We evolve as we learn. Program material and procedures are reviewed yearly and updates are made when required. As an example, in May of 2014 the chicken industry implemented a mandatory policy to eliminate the preventative use of Category I antibiotics. This is enforced through the OFFSAP. Chicken Farmers of Canada also funds research through the Canadian Poultry Research Council to continually look for new ways to improve the health and welfare of our birds.