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Canadian Verified Sheep Program (CVSP)

About the program

The Canadian Verified Sheep Program (CVSP) is a voluntary on-farm food safety program that was developed through a partnership between producers, industry and government personnel from across Canada. The Food Safety Chapter has been available since 1997. Animal Care and Biosecurity were added in March 2017. The CVSP can be used by any sheep or lamb producer to address potential food safety challenges, and to improve Animal Welfare and Biosecurity.

 

The Canadian Verified Sheep Program is Canada's quality assurance program for sheep farmers and ranchers. It was developed by producers with input from veterinarians, industry stakeholders and government this voluntary program helps farmers and ranchers implement, demonstrate and validate exemplary food safety, animal welfare and biosecurity management practices.

With the help of a training session and the Canadian Verified Sheep Program Manual, you will have the tools to reduce risks.

The Food Safety chapter is based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) or principles. HACCP is a systematic approach used to identify potential food safety hazards on the farm, and the Good Production Practices (GPPs) needed to reduce the risk of these hazards.

The Biosecurity chapter, based on the CFIA's National Sheep. On-Farm Biosecurity Standard implements production practices that minimize the impact of zoonotic diseases on individual farms and the national flock.

 

Funding for this project was provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

CVSP Program Benefits

  • Enhanced detection and prevention of food safety risks.

  • Enhanced animal care and farm level biosecurity.

  • Improved flock management courtesy of systematic record keeping.

  • Greater marketing opportunities for responsibly raised CVSP sheep and lamb products.

  • Improved consumer confidence in the safety, quality, and consistency of Canadian sheep & lamb products.​

While Canada has not made on-farm food safety mandatory, many of our competitors are moving forward with this initiative, including the United States, Australia and New Zealand.  In order to remain competitive in the domestic market against various importers, on-farm food safety is equally important as an investment for the Canadian sheep and lamb producer.

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How Can I Implement the CVSP Program?

The steps to implementing the Canadian Verified Sheep Program are simple. The Canadian Verified Sheep Program Manual has everything you need to implement the program on your farm. The steps for implementation are:

  1.  Participate in a Producer Training Session, either online or in-person.

  • Contact the Canadian Sheep Federation to identify training available in your area.

  2.  ​Review the Canadian Verified Sheep Program Producer Manual

  • It contains all of the necessary GPP's and record keeping requirements for the program.

  3.  Adapt the material in the manual to suit your particular operation.​

  • While there are various “must do” good production practices, they may not all be applicable to your farm.

  4.  Utilize the good production practices and records on farm.

  • Train workers to follow practices.

  5.  Record when mistakes happen and how they were corrected.

  • Train workers to follow practices.

  6.  After completing the requirements for one full cycle, you can apply for an audit to become fully Certified on the program.

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