The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) today launched its Certified Sustainable Beef Framework (and a new website) at the group’s annual meeting in Edmonton today.
The Framework centres around the five Global Principles of Sustainable Beef: natural resources; people and community; animal health and welfare; food; and efficiency and innovation.
“We know that consumers want to know more about where their food comes from and how it was raised, and that Canadian farmers and ranchers want to better communicate with them,” says Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, chair of the CRSB and a beef producer from Cochrane, AB. “The Framework is one tool that will enable stronger communication between these two parties while at the same time recognizing and advancing sustainable agricultural operations in Canada.”
There are four main components to the framework, as listed on the website:
- The Standards: including the Sustainable Beef Production Standard and the Sustainable Beef Processing Standard.
- Assurance Protocols: guidance and requirements for the certification process.
- Chain of Custody Requirements: technical and administrative requirements for tracking beef and claims about beef sourced from certified operations.
- Sustainability Claims: guidance on how to communicate about Certified Sustainable Beef.
Certification requirements for beef producers range from monitoring and managing riparian areas and wetlands to treating workers without discrimination. For processors, requirements range from managing water to quickly addressing sick, injured or otherwise compromised animals.
The process to certify is voluntary, says Copithorne-Barnes, and it “enables producers and processors to demonstrate the sustainability of their operations while at the same time supporting the retail and food service industry in their sustainable beef sourcing efforts.”
Beef producers and processors interested in taking part in the certification will contact Certification Bodies approved by the CRSB (that process is expected to begin in the new year). In the meantime, the CRSB suggests preparing for the audit process by learning about the Framework, and reviewing their resource database.