In Quebec, grain-fed cattle farming is governed by a mandatory on-farm certification program : the Quebec Certified Grain-Fed Veal program. It integrates all the requirements of the Verified Veal program, the Canadian On-Farm Food Safety Program for veal production, as well as additional criteria for the selection of young calves, calf-rearing sites, animal welfare and feeding of grain-fed calves. The program contains a total of almost 80 criteria.
To guarantee the impartiality of the certification process, control of compliance with the program is entrusted to external auditors. These auditors verify compliance with each of the criteria based on a cycle that involves external, internal and random audits.
The producers’ commitment to the certification program is broader-based than simply obtaining a certificate: it involves adherence to a certification of origin and a quality concept that commits grain-fed veal producers to respond to market and consumer expectations.
Since April 2004, grain-fed calves produced in Quebec do not receive growth hormones. This very strict requirement is prescribed in the producers’ specifications. Health Canada also oversees its application through the inspection service of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.