Chain of Custody

The tracking of beef from Certified Sustainable farms and ranches through the supply chain

To build consumer confidence in Canadian beef, it is critical to show that beef has been raised sustainably at all points in the supply chain. The Chain of Custody Requirements contain the administrative and technical requirements for tracking cattle and beef through the supply chain, and provide applicable claims about beef sourced from Certified Operations. 

The Framework allows for different ways to source beef through the supply chain. Three internationally-recognized chain of custody models for sourcing beef from CRSB Certified Operations are allowed.

Identity Preservation

Where the source of beef is segregated and can be linked to original CRSB Certified farm or ranch where cattle were raised. To use the Certification Mark and make this type of product-related claim, 100% of the beef must meet this requirement.

 Identity Preservation FINAL


Where beef from CRSB-Certified Operations is kept separate from beef NOT from CRSB-certified operations. To use the Certification Mark and make this type of product-related claim, 100% of the beef must meet this requirement.

Segregation FINAL q

Mass Balance

Where physical mixing or blending of beef from CRSB-Certified farms and ranches and from non-certified operations is allowed during processing; volumes of beef are documented and controlled. Claims are allowable where a portion of the company or brand’s beef volume is CRSB certified, provided that a minimum of 30% of the beef volume meeting the CRSB Certified criteria. Beef marketing with this system must use the MASS BALANCE Certification Mark.

Mass Balance FINAL

The Chain of Custody Requirements outline the requirements for sourcing beef from CRSB Certified Sustainable farms and ranches at every step of the supply chain, and the applicable claims according to section 2.3.3 of the CRSB Communications, Claims and Labelling Guidelines.

To participate in a supply chain marketing beef that is certified to the CRSB standards, be sure that your certification data is being shared within a data management system for your supply chain.


Identifying whether you need a Chain of Custody Audit

As a beef producer, if you market your beef directly to consumers, think about how you interact with your supply chain.

consumer callout badge 1Certified Sustainable Beef Producers

As a Certified Operation for beef production, ensure your cattle are marketed to Certified Operations at the next stage in the supply chain by clearly communicating your certification status at time of sale.  Remember, in order to reap the rewards (such as through the Cargill Beef Sustainability Program) and for the beef to qualify for a claim, cattle must be traced from CRSB Certified farms and ranches at every point in the supply chain.


  • If marketing cattle through an auction live sale or online, provide your valid CRSB certificate, and ask for your sustainability certification status to be promoted
  • Check out the listing of Certified Operations at, which can be searched by location and operation type to connect with the next point in the supply chain
  • Watch for caution sales dedicated to certified sustainable or VBP+ cattle in your area

*To promote your farm or ranch as a Certified Operation, you DO NOT need a Chain of Custody Audit 

consumer icon v2Certified Sustainable Beef Producers marketing directly to consumers

If you market beef directly to consumers, such as through farm gate sales, farmers' markets or a branded beef program, you may wish to use the CRSB Certification Mark with a product claim to demonstrate the sustainability of the beef coming from your farm or ranch.  

If you are interested in marketing your beef directly to consumers (with a beef-related claim on-pack), ensure that the abattoir you use is certified to the Sustainable Beef Processing Standard.

*To sell beef with a product-related claim and the CRSB Certified logo, your supply chain must also be audited to the Chain of Custody Requirements.

Review the full Chain of Custody Requirements here.

Contact us to discuss the best options for your supply chain.