Verified Beef Production (VBP) is a national on-farm food safety program which evolved from Quality Starts Here. It is based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, with workshops to help producers through the verification process, from Standard Operating Procedures to on-farm assessments.
In order to participate, producers are encouraged to contact their Provincial Delivery Agent. They will then be taken through a 2h workshop (which can now be completed online), with the choice to implement SOPs and apply for VBP certification. The process involves strict record-keeping, with the audits beginning only after cow/calf producers have six months of records under their belts and feedlots have three. The audit itself takes half a day, and requires a monetary commitment from the producer. Those who pass the audit are given a VBP registration confirmation, recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and can market their beef as VBP-certified.
Funding is available to producers who participate in the VBP program, offering financial assistance to everything from equipment upgrades to the on-farm audit. And, now, with a biosecurity component, some provinces are offering funding towards veterinary consultations around biosecurity.
In order to hear about the process, and the new component, we caught up with Coy Schellenberg, provincial coordinator, Sask Verified Beef Production (VBP) Program at Agribition.