Food Traceability

Mandatory Canadian Traceability for livestock and poultry already shows itself in my local area and on the farm, but they say that its moving forward and coming soon for veggies and berry producers as well.

Already, if you want to have your sheep, goats, or cow butchered on or off the farm by a provincally approved butcher, (which you had better, if you want that stamp that allows you to have even local farm gates sales) you need to have your records and tags in order.

Last year, I had ordered some new chicks of a dual meat/egg breed and when they arrived, I had been given a tracking number for my farm and I had a peice of paper that was required to go with just that number of birds to the processing plant, in order to be able to provide the trackablity of Hatchery, to farm at …. to butcher to buyer.

I will own up to a having a small (ok, maybe not small) rant to my hubby on the way out of the store because no one had asked my permission to be tracked or given a number, however it also amazed me, because it would mean that any chicks hatched and raised naturally on my farm would NOT have the paperwork to be sent to be butchered. I am sure that there “must” be a way to register your own farm in order to get a number that would allow you to issue your own “paperwork” to the babies and therefor be able to send them out.. but I didn’t dig into it because I self-butcher all small critters for my own personal use only. I don’t raise more then I need for our own use, and I don’t sell off the farm in that regard so I have not felt the need to go further.

Traceability is defined as the ability to trace the current and historical location of harvested produce and other food products from one point in the supply chain to another. There are three areas, Product identifcation, premise identification, and movement tracking.

The reasons given for needing this is to a system to be able to track in regards to food safety concerns. Near as I can tell, these are the main candian website for more information in this regards. The Produce Travability Initiative

Who’s stated vision is to have “Supply chain-wide adoption of electronic traceability for every case of produce by the year 2012″, which includes whether you sell veggies at your local farmers market, to stores or restaurants or ship fresh or dried products farm products across canada, they want a fully functional food traceablity system.

Now who is really driving this? The goverment? The Food Industry? or GSI? Who you ask might be GSI, they would be the leading global organisation “dedicated to the design and implementation of global standards and solutions to improve the efficiency and visibility of supply and demand chains globally and across sectors”

Hmm, so is this really all about getting the system ready to meet the standard for what is required globally to access those export markets, raither then that trackablity for our own safety.. or does do you need one to allow you to make the changes needed to get to the other done..

Tell the public we need more tracking if case of something happening here but what we really mean is.. we have to keep up with the jones, and they are all using barcodes on their food, so we have to as well if we want to play in their sandbox.

Premise identification initiatives are being handled provincially, with Alberta and Quebec so far the only was that are mandatory, however in most provinces and territories, traceablity systems are being developed.

So let me know, does it bring you comfort at the idea that your local farmer needs to have a barcode on that basket of fresh greens at the local farmers market?  Are you happy that they are going to have a way to know where that rump roast you got at the local safeway can be tracked back to which farm it was born on? Do you think that this was a required and good step in order for our Canadian farmers to keep in pace with what is required to keep and grow our export markets? Are you a small farm? How do you feel about the goverment having Premise identification in regards to your critters and greens?

I have mixed feelings on this one, a) I find it very big brother b) I don’t like the idea of not being able to send critters born on your farm for your own use without having to go though the process of tags, however I do see the flip side, how would you ever prove? that you only want to eat that lamb yourself and not sell it. So I get the point of everyone needing to follow the same rules, c) I support our farmers and do think that they should have every right to export and compete on the world stage, but do we small farms, who only sell at farm gate sales need to jump the same hoops as the big boys that are selling out of country?

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2 Responses to Food Traceability

  1. http://www.anh-europe.org/campaigns/codex#Wider_impacts
    “The system has few winners — the main ones being the transnational corporations being directly involved in the global production and trade of food and the pharmaceutical industry that profits from the increasing chronic disease burden that results.”

    How this effect us little guys is unknown, and it doesn’t make me feel good when greed is at the wheel driving this.

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