Manitoba’s registered hatching egg farms and broiler farms participate in national food safety and animal care programs. The simple principle behind these programs is for farmers to “say what they do, do what they say, and prove it.” These programs are mandatory for Manitoba farms and each farm is audited annually. Farmers risk having their quota reduced or suspended if they do not adhere to the standards of each program.
Safe, Safer, Safest – Broilers
The Safe, Safer, Safest program for broiler on-farm food safety was developed by Chicken Farmers of Canada in consultation with farmers, veterinarians, and poultry scientists. It is recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The program ensures that top-notch safety procedures and standardized safety systems are used on every Canadian chicken farm, allowing Canadian chicken farmers continue to produce safe and high quality product, as they have been doing for generations.
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 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.
All farms in Manitoba 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 a Safe, Safer, Safest certificate. To maintain certification, farmers must adhere to the annual audit schedule and continue to meet the program requirements.
Animal Care Program – Broilers
The Animal Care Program was developed by Chicken Farmers of Canada to maintain the highest standards of animal care on broiler farms and to demonstrate to the public that animal care is a priority. Support for the program has come from the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, the Further Poultry Processors Association of Canada and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.
This program is mandatory for all registered chicken farms in Manitoba. The Animal Care Program includes standards for feed and water, the environment inside the barn, the stocking density, flock monitoring, catching and loading, and record keeping. Manitoba farms are audited annually, in conjunction with their Safe, Safer, Safest program audit.
Canadian Hatching Egg Quality (CHEQ) – Hatching Eggs
CHEQ is the national on-farm food safety program for registered hatching egg farms. Developed by Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, the program provides standards for such areas as biosecurity, flock health, egg handling and storage, pest control and cleaning and disinfection. Producers are audited annually and have to keep implementing the program in order to remain certified.