Why Traceability?

Demonstrating world-class practices

Traceability enables Canadian dairy farmers to collectively demonstrate the responsible stewardship of their dairy animals and the environment. It provides consumer confidence in the excellent standards and practices of Canadian dairy farmers to produce the highest quality milk and dairy products.

Watch the videos below to hear from farmers about the advantages of traceability.

Trust through traceability
Producer Dylan Stewardson talks about assurances provided by traceability

Food Safety and Consumer Confidence

Consumers want to know more about where their food comes and how it’s produced. Canadian dairy farmers work to offer superior quality products while preventing and reducing food safety hazards and risks on their farms. Traceability demonstrates to consumers the commitment of the dairy industry to produce high quality products and provide animals with excellent care.

Consumer confidence with traceability
Producer Ben Loewith discusses why traceability is important for his farm

The Health of Animals Regulations and Food Products Act ensure that dairy foods intended for human consumption can be traced from the consumer’s plate all the way back to the farm of origin. The regulatory measures set the standards of animal identification, tag application, movement, and the obligations of all those involved. It also supports Canada’s outstanding world-class reputation through the following:

  • Quality standards applied throughout Canada’s production and processing chain.
  • Biosecurity standards, protocols and strategies designed to protect animal resources.
  • Control systems protecting the health and well-being of livestock.
  • National eradication for serious cattle diseases.
  • Assurance programs such as proAction®, a state-of-the art national framework involving milk quality, food safety, livestock traceability, animal care, biosecurity and environmental sustainability.

Right now, in Canada:
100% of all on-farm milk tanks and milk trucks are sampled for milk quality, 99.9% of all milk is picked up at the farm every second day, 95% of all licensed dairy farms have been inspected in the past two years and 70% have a farm plan designed specifically to improve environmental conditions on the farm.

*Source: Dairy Farmers of Canada – proAction®

Economic Advantages

The estimated negative economic effect of an animal disease outbreaks is staggering. Costs include lost sales, lost profits, lost consumer demand and market access, as well as costs related to disease control. Many industries are impacted including terminal sites, the processing sector, distribution networks, tourism, and the restaurant industry.

A traceability system demonstrates source verification of animals and food supply networks and strengthens the reputation of the Canadian dairy sector. World-class regulated agricultural practices and the robust information technology of DairyTrace supports the livelihood of producers and processors when exporting to countries with high import standards.

Building credibility with traceability
Producer Gerrit Damsteegt talks about how traceability protects the dairy value chain

By following the path of an agricultural product, the route it took, its exact location and the contacts it has had with other products, we have the potential to avoid heavy losses if a large-scale cull of animals is needed or destruction of products becomes necessary.

Emergency Preparedness

Knowing where livestock are located provides valuable information to respond to animal disease outbreaks and food safety issues. This allows for a swift and accurate response in the event of a crisis.

Although certain diseases cannot be transmitted to humans, they can cause irreparable damage to existing livestock. Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), scrapie and mad cow disease all contribute to the consumer’s loss of confidence in the animal-based foods they eat.

Peace of Mind with Traceability
Chris McLaren talks about the role of traceability in preventing and containing disease.

DairyTrace – one system with many advantages

Public Health

Traceability makes it possible to react quickly when food safety is compromised. From ice cream and yogurt to butter and whipped cream, DairyTrace works to safeguard our food supply chain and address consumer concerns during a market disruption.

Animal Health

We depend on healthy livestock and it is feasible to contain the spread of disease and track sources of contamination and contagion in animals with a reliable traceability system. Rapidly identifying affected sites and animals can prevent disease propagation.


Traceability and crisis management are essential to the economic health of the Canadian dairy industry. Using unique technology, the data collected from DairyTrace can prepare us for challenging times, help protect our economy, as well as strengthen the reputation of the Canadian dairy sector and its products, at home and around the world.

Market Access

Traceability offers a competitive advantage to our local and global marketplace. By knowing where animals come from, where they are going, when and where they are bought and sold, and where they die, secures business continuity and supply chain credibility.


Traceability is one of the six modules of proAction®, a program that enables Canadian dairy farmers to collectively demonstrate responsible stewardship of their dairy animals and the environment to sustainably produce high-quality, safe, and nutritious food for consumers.


Looking to the future, traceability has the potential to offer other opportunities that not only feed our world safely, but bring sustainability to the next level. Consumers, farmers, animals and the livelihoods of Canadian families depend on proactive thinking for solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.