Certified B.C. Beef | Cattle must be born, raised and processed in British Columbia to display special label
CRESTON, B.C. — Beef lovers in British Columbia could soon buy a home grown product.
A special logo, Certified B.C. Beef, could be available online to restaurants and grocers through a program developed by the B.C. Association of Abattoirs and B.C. Cattle Feeders Association.
The two groups own the brand, said Gillian Watt, who represents the slaughter plants.
She said the program is an opportunity for B.C. consumers who want to buy 100 percent local to know where their beef came from and how it was raised.
“They are really looking for honest beef,” Watt said at the annual meeting of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, which was held in Creston May 22-24.
Each member of the value chain must be licensed for the logo to appear on the product. The beef must be born, raised and processed in B.C. and each carcass must be assessed. The AA grade for grain finished and A for grass fed will be acceptable.
Plans are also underway to offer other B.C. produced meat, such as pork, lamb and some poultry.
Besides a website, the group plans to launch a B.C. Beef phone app, which will direct consumers to stores and restaurants carrying 100 percent B.C. meat. Fifteen abattoirs have been certified.
Cattle and carcasses will be tracked using the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency ear tag.
Some funding came from a ranching task force grant.
BCCA manager Kevin Boon said the association was also working on a home grown product but ran into snags earlier this year.
It was working with a retailer to replace its organic line with B.C. beef.
Producers were ready to join, but the deal stumbled when it came time to find a federal plant to handle 200 head per week.
The retail chain is a national entity and needs to have meat that came from a federally inspected facility.
“Federal plants were not flexible enough to segregate the cattle numbers we need,” said Boon.
However, the association is dealing with another approved plant and could launch the product next February or March.
Ontario has a certified corn fed beef program that struggled when it started in 2001, said Dan Darling, a Canadian Cattlemen’s Association vice-president from Ontario.
The common problem with branded programs is the ability to fill orders on a consistent basis, he added.
“Once you get the stores to buy your product, you have to have supply or they will stop buying and they won’t come back,” he said.
A recent report from the George Morris Centre in Guelph, Ont., found that the program raised the profile of Ontario produced beef and is now viewed as a successful branding program across Canada.
It is also making participants more money.
The report said the program is generating as much as $26 per head in added revenue for cattle producers.