On Farm Food Safety Program
Sparks Egg Farms is certified by multiple regulatory agencies. These certifying agencies provide the benefit of their expertise and objective, third party insights to ensure that our operation continues to run smoothly and free of risk.
Free Range Egg Program is certified from HACCP, BRC, SPCA
HACCP: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point
HACCP is an internationally recognized, comprehensive management and food safety enhancement system, controlled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, that addresses food safety through analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards. It governs every process within our operation at Sparks Egg Farms, from raw material production, procurement and handling, to plant design, process design, training, equipment and equipment maintenance, manufacturing, allergen control, storage, distribution and consumption of the finished product. Training is also a very large component of the HACCP program, conducted ongoingly.
HACCP supports risk management by identifying critical control points at every level in an operation and from this a set of measurable critical limits are established. A clear decision tree is established that identifies what action is to be taken under every circumstance when limits are exceeded. Monitoring procedures are defined to include monitoring activities, where and how data is recorded, and what to do with the information collected. Trend analysis helps us to evolve and modify our procedures.
We have never had to place a recall on product, but if there is ever a need we have a comprehensive contingency plan in place. Our tracking program allows us to immediately identify what eggs were in process at each stage of manufacturing within our facility at any given time of day. We can also trace eggs to the date and place they were delivered from in case the problem originated with the producer, so we can quickly isolate any and all affected product and track it to current location. Drills are routinely run to make sure that everyone is knowledgeable on procedures.
Both internal and external audits are regularly conducted to ensure compliance with procedures and assess performance overall.
Sparks Egg Farms has been certified by and operating under the HACCP system since 2000.
BRC: British Retailer Consortium
In 1998 the British Retail Consortium developed and introduced the BRC Food Technical Standard to be used to evaluate the manufacturers of retailer brand food products. This standard is now being adopted by retailers in Canada.
The BRC Food Technical Standard is designed to assist retailers and brand owners to produce food products of consistent safety and quality. In many aspects this program resembles the HACCP system, however at Sparks we have a separate team in place to manage and implement this program.
The BRC’s Compliance Team has robust performance monitoring assessment tools to help ensure that Certification Bodies carry out BRC audits to the highest possible standard. An established and transparent complaints procedure helps ensure that all customer referrals are investigated and followed up.
Sparks Egg Farms has been certified by and operating under the BRC system since 2011.
Start Clean-Stay Clean™
The Start Clean-Stay Clean™ certification program, designed and controlled by the Egg Farmers of Canada, is an on-farm food safety program based on HACCP principles. HACCP is a program that helps operators to determine risks within a production or processing facility and to adopt ways to reduce those risks.
Under the Start Clean-Stay Clean program, regulated egg farms are inspected by Egg Farmers of Canada. Reports are provided to farm owners and the appropriate provincial egg boards. In the event problems are found, Egg Farmers of Canada follows up to ensure they are corrected.
Biosecurity is a major focus of Start Clean-Stay Clean. The program ensures that participants maintain a restricted area to control the potential entry of food-born pathogens. For example, it defines that clothes and footwear be changed and the bottoms of shoes or boots disinfected prior to entering the restricted area. Controls must be in place to prevent access to rodents, flies and wild birds as they can carry disease. Dust and manure samples are taken from the barn by inspectors and sent to labs where they are tested for Salmonella enteritidis. If this form of salmonella is found in the samples, eggs from that barn are immediately sent to breaking plants as a precautionary measure. Breaking plants break the eggs and pasteurize the contents to kill any salmonella enteritidis which could be present.
The Severson Free Run Barn is certified under the Start Clean-Stay Clean program.
SPCA: Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The Free Range program for Sparks Egg Farms is SPCA Certified.
The SPCA Certified program is an independent animal welfare certification system. SPCA Certified products come from farms which are annually assessed to SPCA Certified farm animal welfare standards and operation policies by independent inspectors.
The SPCA Certified program includes:
- Annual and random farm inspections by third party, professional validators
- Independent, expert review panel determines farm certification status
- Formulation of standards by specialists in animal welfare and behaviour
Each species-specific standard is developed by an expert panel of animal welfare scientists, veterinarians, and farmers, based on the internationally recognized Five Freedoms of animal welfare. The standards are dynamic, scientific, and evidence-based, addressing key farm animal welfare concerns that consumers want answered.
In SPCA Certified facilities, environments are designed to promote comfort and healthy social interaction of animals. Additionally, they are not fed antibiotics, ionophores or hormones for growth enhancement.
SPCA Certified standards exceed the generally accepted practices for raising farm animals in Canada.
The Canada Organic Regime
An organic product is an agricultural product that has been certified as organic. A product can be certified if it is produced using the methods outlined by the Canadian Organic Standards.
The Canada Organic Regime is the Government of Canada's response to requests by the organic sector and consumers to develop a regulated system for organic agricultural products. The goal of the Canada Organic Regime is to protect consumers against misleading or deceptive labelling practices and reduce consumer confusion about the definition of organic.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for monitoring and enforcement of these regulations. Products that make an organic claim must be certified by a Certification Body that has been accredited by CFIA.
Only certified products with organic content that is greater than or equal to 95% may be labelled as: "Organic" or bear the Canada Organic logo.
CSI: Center for Systems Integration
CSI is accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as a CB under the Canada Organic Regime and certifies for the equivalency to the National Organic Program (NOP), European Union (EU) and Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) organic requirements.
CSI defines ‘organic product’ as a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of a specific organic standard. The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole.
The purpose of organic certification is to ensure that the conventions of organic agricultural systems stipulated by national standards are being practiced not only by producers, but also by all the people who handle and process organic food on its journey to the final consumer. Therefore organic food handlers, processors and retailers adhere to standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural products.
A Word from our Poultry Specialist
Ken Severson is the Nutrition and Poultry Specialist for Sparks Egg Farms. Ken takes care to make sure the hens and pullets are fed a balanced diet, and to safeguard their health and welfare.
The 4 Pillars
At Sparks Egg Farms we respect 4 important pillars of responsibility.
Read more on 4 Pillars
Our new facility in Westlock, Alberta, is a proud example of our strong commitment to sustainability.