Ontario Chicken Farmers Follow a Mandatory Raised by a Canadian Farmer On-Farm Food Safety Program
The Raised by a Canadian Farmer On-Farm Food Safety Program (OFFSP) is a comprehensive national program that regulates, promotes and enforces the production of safe poultry at the farm level. The program was introduced in 1998 by the Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) and rolled out provincially in subsequent years. Chicken Farmers of Ontario, the largest chicken marketing Board in Canada, made the program mandatory for all quota holding chicken farmers in Ontario in 2005.
In 2009, OFFSP was updated to reflect mandatory biosecurity requirements developed by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to prevent and manage disease. OFFSP emphasizes animal health, cleanliness and safety throughout each step of the production cycle and helps farmers address issues of food safety hazards and disease prevention. OFFSP serves as the chicken farmers’ assurance that the birds have been produced in accordance with the strictest mandatory requirements. All CFO farmer-members receive annual audits which they must pass to be OFFSP certified, which is a requirement to grow Ontario chicken.
The OFFSP manual is a living document that continues to be assessed and improved through enhancements released in 2003, 2005, 2009, 2014, and most recently 2021. The most recent changes to the manual include harmonization with current regulations, clarification of existing requirements, increased flexibility for washing, disinfection and downtime, and reduced duplication.
The most recent updates to the OFFSP manual are further explained in the following video:
Farmers adhere to OFFSP through comprehensive flock management which includes records administration, yearly audits, testing of water, advanced biosecurity and stringent animal care. Mandatory OFFSP measures are enforced by allocation reduction and/or monetary penalties. Farmers in non-compliance could also lose their license to hold quota.
By working together to improve the management of risk at the farm level, CFO and its farmer-members are helping to strengthen Canada’s food safety system and Ontario chicken farmers will continue to lead the adoption of enhanced food safety and biosecurity standards.