What is the Canadian Verified Sheep Program?
The Canadian Verified Sheep Program is an on-farm program created for any Canadian sheep or lamb producer. In creating an industry driven program, the Canadian Sheep Federation assembled a committee of producers, industry and government representatives, who developed and continually review the program.
The program examines all areas of production and outlines good production practices (GPPs) that are designed to minimize food safety risks, maximize animal care, reduce biosecurity risks and produce a safe and high-quality product. As a producer, you recognize that you have always been responsible for identifying on-farm food safety hazards. However, with the help of a training session and the Canadian Verified Sheep Program Manual, which outlines the food safety concerns identified on the farm and all of the GPPs identified to reduce the risk of a food safety hazard, you will have the tools to anticipate problems and develop troubleshooting techniques to reduce risks on your particular operation. In order to support and verify the GPPs you are using on your farm, you will also be responsible for maintaining a simple record keeping system to monitor and document the effectiveness of your actions.
The food safety chapter was created based on a HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, pronounced “haa-sip”) approach, a management system both nationally and internationally recognized in the Agriculture and Agri-food industries as a means to identify food safety risks during production and implement control measures to reduce those risks. HACCP is simply a systematic approach using both science and simple common sense to identify and prevent hazards.
In using HACCP to create a program that is easily adapted to any sheep farm, there are three types of hazards recognized:
• Physical (broken needles)
• Biological (E. coli, salmonella)
• Chemical (antibiotic residues)
In identifying food safety hazards, animal welfare concerns and the biosecurity risks, the Canadian Verified Sheep Program provides good production practices (GPP) that can be used on any farm to reduce the risk of those hazards. A Critical Control Point is a point, step or procedure where potential exists for the risk a hazard to increase, and where control can be applied so as to directly prevent, eliminate or reduce the hazard to an acceptable level.
The Canadian Verified Sheep Program Manual's Food Safe Farm Practices Chapter has been reviewed and accepted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as a credible, national on-farm food safety program for the sheep industry. In addition, the Canadian Sheep Federation’s Board of Directors has demonstrated its commitment to on-farm food safety (OFFS) by its inclusion in their 2008-2013 Business Plan. The Canadian Verified Sheep Program is an excellent way to further the sheep industry and invest in your business as a sheep producer.
Funding for this project was provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada