Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) has issued a revision to the Canadian Quality Milk (CQM) program’s Workbook and Reference Manual. The new version is dated September 2015, which replaces the June 2010 version.
The CQM program is transitioning to the Food Safety component of proAction®, DFC’s quality assurance program, so the new book is titled “Food Safety.” The new Food Safety manual was published on October 1, 2015. Please refer to the Notice of Change for a summary of the new requirements, revisions to existing requirements, and additional clarifications and information.
The new version has two requirements that I would like to highlight for veterinarians, with one in particular that DFC would like to ask veterinarians for their help with assisting farmers in meeting.
1) Cattle Health Declaration: this is a new record requirement that farmers will be asking their herd health veterinarian for help with. DFC, on behalf of all Canadian dairy farmers, would like to ask Canadian dairy veterinarians for their assistance in helping farmers with this.
The requirement is: Question 20: Do you have a Cattle Health Declaration signed by your veterinarian annually and the most recent version kept on file?
Rationale: The National Dairy Code, Section 31, states that no producer shall sell or offer for sale milk that is obtained from an animal that shows evidence or visible signs of disease transmissible to humans by milk or that adversely affects the quality or flavour of the milk.
The intent of the Cattle Health Declaration is to satisfy the export requirement from foreign countries to demonstrate that milk used in exported products is sourced from healthy animals. An annual herd health inspection conducted by a veterinarian is the minimum requirement.
A veterinarian should look for evidence or visible signs in the herd for a disease that is transmissible to humans by milk or that adversely affects the quality or flavor of the milk. If the milk is considered acceptable by the provincial regulatory body, the veterinarian should be able to sign the Declaration.
All Canadian producers are required to obtain the Declaration because milk is co-mingled in Canada and milk destined for export products is not segregated.
The Cattle Health Declaration does not include animal welfare. It is specific to animal health.
Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) introduced a Cattle Health and Veterinary Medicine Use Declaration into regulation in 2013; therefore, veterinarians in Ontario should be familiar with it, and farmers in Ontario should already meet this requirement. For the rest of Canada, however, the requirement will be new. DFO’s Declaration includes veterinary medicine use, while DFC’s Declaration does not. However, the text related to animal health is the same in both of them.
Details: The Cattle Health Declaration is in the Workbook, but a copy is attached to this notice. DFO consulted with the veterinary community on the text in their declaration and they permitted DFC to use the same text. In addition, DFC consulted with veterinary community at the national level to ensure the language was acceptable.
Frequency: Farmers are required to update the Declaration annually.
2) Record 8: Veterinary Directions for Extra-label Drug Use: DFC has changed Record 8 from a “Sample Veterinary Prescription” to “Veterinary Directions for Extra-label Drug Use.” We understand that a prescription has a legal definition, which did not fit the intent of the CQM requirement appropriately. The revision to written “directions” is designed to better reflect the intent of the requirement to have farmers follow veterinary directions whenever they use drugs in an extra-label manner to avoid drug residues in milk and meat.
DFC again consulted with the veterinary community to improve Record 8. We received many excellent suggestions and incorporated them as best we could.
Record 8 is a template and fulfills all of the requirements. Veterinarians can use more detailed “Directions for use” but the information on Record 8 is the minimum requirement.
Additional changes and improvements to the Food Safety manual are outlined in the Notice of Change. Please also visit DFC’s proAction website at www.dairyfarmers.org/proaction for more information or to download the book.
Implementation: Farmers have a six-month transition period, starting October 1, 2015, to learn about the requirements and implement them on their farms. From April 1, 2016 and on, all validations and self-declarations will contain the new requirements, and farmers will have to meet the requirements in order to retain their registration status.
We hope that veterinarians across Canada will find the Cattle Health Declaration a reasonable request from farmers, and we look forward to your continued assistance in helping farmers strive for continuous improvement with food safety on farm.
Finally, DFC would like to sincerely thank veterinarians for all of their contributions and assistance with the evolution and implementation of the CQM program so far.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-224-8001. Please feel free to forward this email to your members. Thank you!