CRSB announces updates to the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework

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Following a scheduled five-year review of the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework, the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) has announced a few changes and updates to the program.

The Certified Sustainable Beef Framework is a voluntary, outcome-based certification program for beef sustainability in Canada. It was developed by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef in 2017. Through the framework, the CRSB certifies farms, ranches, and processing facilities in five different areas of sustainability: Natural Resources, People & Community, Animal Health & Welfare, Food, and Efficiency & Innovation.

As part of the scheduled review, all components of the framework were reviewed by a committee representing the whole beef supply chain, with input from stakeholders, subject matter experts, and through public consultation.

The CRSB program was benchmarked against 17 other programs, 10 of which operate in Canada, a spokesperson says. Recommendations were incorporated into the program review. There are three areas that will be updated now that the review is complete. They are:

  • Beef production and processing standards:
    An in-depth review of each indicator in both standards (beef production and beef processing) was completed in 2022, followed by a 60-day public consultation. Changes to the standards focused on strengthening indicators through monitoring and demonstrating progress, keeping in mind economic and technological realities top adoption, and indicators that align with the Canadian beef industry’s 2030 goals.
  • Chain of custody requirements:
    The Chain of Custody Requirements were updated to enable consistency in implementation and improve transparency of live-cattle movement across all CRSB Certified supply chains. Producers can now search the CRSB Certified status of an RFID tag (yes or no) on the Canadian Livestock Tracking System. Participating Operators must keep records (which must include evidence derived directly from a CRSB approved live-cattle chain of custody verifier) demonstrating that cattle have moved through the applicable CRSB Certified Operations using RFID with age verification and only beef from these animals shall be eligible to carry a CRSB claim. As of October 2023, the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) is providing the tracking of live cattle for the program (outside Quebec).
  • Claims:
    Consumer focus groups and research were conducted and claims were evaluated and updated to reflect what resonated best with consumers. Claim statements were streamlined for consistency across users of the framework; reference to standards and the CRSB are now included in claim statements for better clarity and transparency.

All other aspects of the program were also reviewed; Assurance Protocols and Requirements for program delivery agents such as Certification Bodies were updated to reflect the changes, CRSB says.

“Continuous improvement is at the core of the CRSB’s mission, and this update sets us up for continued progress to support beef farmers and supply chain participants to build trust in the sustainability of Canadian beef,” says Kristine Tapley, chair of CRSB’s Framework Committee, Manitoba beef farmer and Agriculture & Food Sustainability Lead at Ducks Unlimited Canada. “I appreciate the immense commitment of the committee of volunteers that contributed their time, expertise and energy to this review and update, and to CRSB staff for their dedication.”

For more details, there is a framework progress report on page 17 and 18 of the CRSB’s annual report or find more on the program’s website at crsbcertified.ca.

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