VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Last Friday, Canadian Member of Parliament Wai Young announced a Government of Canada investment of more than $276,000 (US$278,500) to establish the BC Carcass Tracking and Quality Information System.

"This database will enable continuous improvement of product quality and profitability of the beef sector through enhanced traceability," Young said.

Led by the BC Cattlemen's Association in partnership with the BC Association of Abattoirs, the BC Carcass Tracking and Quality Information System is a collaborative project. It will involve developing software that is designed to enable industry to better track, analyze and improve products by allowing for quick input and retrieval of information through a shared database. Project partners include representatives from the BC Beef Industry Development Council, the BC Cattle Feeders Association, Thompson Rivers University, Net Shift Media, and the Small Scale Food Processors Association.

Standards consistency is expected to increase market access and market value of BC produced and processed red meats and bolster consumer confidence in Canada's food-safety system. In the future, the project could allow adapting the tracking and quality information system for the lamb, pork and buffalo sectors.

"This project signifies industry and government coming together to establish one of the important links the beef industry needs to not only share information and knowledge through the production chain, but also to have the information available for the consumer who wants to be informed about the product he is purchasing," said Kevin Boon, general manager of the BC Cattlemen's Association. "It is our intention to develop a system that can be utilized in every province across Canada and fulfill our mandate for full traceability while creating a system of value for the producer and the entire value chain."

Funding for this project is being provided by the Government of Canada's $163-million (US$164.5 million) Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program, which is designed to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. In British Columbia, CAAP is delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation. Additional support for this project is being provided by the BC Cattlemen's Association.