The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) released the National Voluntary Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard for the Grains and Oilseeds Industry on March 1, 2013. This voluntary Standard was developed in partnership with the CFIA and the provincial governments, Canada Grains Council, Grain Growers of Canada, Canadian Grains Commission and the Canadian Canola Growers Association.

Similar to the recently released National Standard for Biosecurity in the Canadian dairy industry (see our blog post at http://www.millerthomson.com/en/blog/the-food-web-canadian-agribusiness-and-food/new-canadian-national-standard-for), the Grains and Oilseeds Standard is focused on entry of pests to the farm, movement of pests within the farm, exit of pests from the farm, and the management process generally.

In preparing the Standard, the CFIA and its stakeholders conducted an extensive literature review as well as a “gap analysis” of existing farm-level programs to identify current knowledge and best practices. The Standard then identifies goals, objectives and measurable targets for all farmers from small-scale to large-scale establishments.

The Standard is currently a voluntary tool that farmers can use to build and/or improve existing farm-level biosecurity programs. It includes a self-assessment tool for producers to assess their current practices on biosecurity and identify areas for improvement in their biosecurity management plan for their farm.

While the National Standard presently set out best practices and not binding standards, we expect that provincial boards may adopt and enforce these standards in the years to come. The National Standards will certainly provide persuasive guidance to administrative tribunals and courts dealing with biosecurity issues. While the Standard has been released as a voluntary tool for farmers, farmers should become familiar with the Standard and ensure that they have taken steps to address the issues described.

The National Standard can be found on the CFIA website at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/plant-protection/biosecurity/biosecurity-standard/national-voluntary-farm-level-biosecurity-standard/eng/1354649087792/1355168633095