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Beef HACCP program passes CFIA review

Canadian cattle producers’ Verified Beef Production on-farm food safety program has picked up re-approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency following a recent review.

CFIA, through its On-Farm Food Safety Recognition Program, requires approved food safety programs to regularly review their programs and, where needed, carry out improvements, which in VBP’s case have now been implemented into its producer manual.

The updated programs are then “re-reviewed” by CFIA to ensure they continue to adapt HACCP appropriately and translate requirements effectively in their producer materials, VBP organizers said in a release Tuesday.

VBP, managed by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, first got recognition from the CFIA program in 2003 and has maintained it since.

The re-approval “reinforces that the VBP program is technically sound, meets internationally recognized standards and has ongoing oversight by those with appropriate technical expertise and authority,”VBP program manager Terry Grajczyk said in the release.

CFIA looks to make sure approved food safety programs “appropriately adapt” the internationally-recognized food safety approach of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).

VBP’s HACCP-based model is designed for application in an on-farm beef production environment, organizers said. The HACCP food safety system is based on identifying critical control points, assessing the risks to foods from biological, chemical and physical hazards and setting up procedures to limit those risks.

HACCP-based programs are in place in all federally processed plants for meat and other products, VBP organizers said, noting that packing plants have made “substantial investments” to implement HACCP programs at the plant level.

The expectation, organizers said, is that packers “will soon want to source their inputs from HACCP-based programs.”

In Canada, VBP organizers said, their program is one of the first on-farm food safety programs to develop improvements and submit them for re-review.

The improvements made to the VBP program are expected to improve clarity and ease of use of the program, simplify record-keeping and auditing procedures, remove signed protocol requirements and provide “greater flexibility” to producers to meet their individual needs.

The improvements also place a “continued focus” on meeting withdrawal times for feed medications or animal health products, and on reducing the risk of leaving broken needle fragments in live cattle, VBP organizers said.

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