To the deer industry, quality includes animal welfare, animal health, food safety, identification, traceability and environmental issues.
To the deer industry, "quality" is core to its approach and philosophy in the production of its deer products. Quality also underpins product marketing programmes.
Not restricted solely to product quality, the industry takes a broad definition of quality to encompass animal welfare, animal health, food safety, identification and traceability and environmental issues. In other words, the concerns that the industry’s international customers hold in their minds and seek reassurance and information about and its social responsibility to New Zealanders.
That’s why the deer industry’s quality programme’s aims are to provide its customers, worldwide, with an assurance that its products always meet their requirements and to play a positive role in New Zealand economic and social development.
At the same time, experience has shown that consistently meeting those needs also helps improve productivity (and therefore returns) on the farm. So it’s a win/win result.
Venison processors agree to audits to confirm they are operating in manner that ensures the best quality meat.
Venison Processors Technical Committee (VPTC)
Venison Industry Agreed Standards are set by the VPTC which meets regularly to address issues of importance to the venison processing sector.
Specific roles of the VPTC are to:
- Discuss regulatory issues on common interest.
- Provide feedback to Deer Industry New Zealand to assist them in developing and implementing the Industry Strategy.
- Discuss technical and QA issues affecting processing and develop solutions.
- Identify technical, market access, regulatory and customer issues requiring further research or other action.
- Co-operate with the wider Industry (farmers, transporters and procurement agents) on issues affecting the development of the various sector Quality Assurance programmes.
To find out more about the VPTC contact the DINZ offices on 04 473 4500
The national standard for deer farming agreed by venison processing companies has been published as the DeerQA On-Farm Industry Agreed Standards. Individual venison processing companies will contract for delivery with individual farming operations under their own Quality Assurance and Auditing Programme, which will audit to the Industry Agreed Standard. Neither Deer Industry New Zealand nor DeerQA are operating an auditing programme. Farmers will have to contact their venison processing company to confirm the process for compliance with the quality assurance programme.
Farmers with deer can also be compliant with deer industry quality assurance requirements by being part of the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme administered by Assure Quality. For information about RMPP NZFAP, click here >>
The DEERQA On-Farm Industry Agreed Standard is recognized as equivalent to the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme. Farmers will not have to undergo duplicate audits.
The DeerQA On-Farm Industry Agreed Standard covers the following aspects of deer farming:
- Animal Health Welfare and Production
- Velvet Antler
- Indoor Facilities, Feed Pads or Indoor/Outdoor Facilities
The Industry Agreed Standard provides operating standards that farmers must adhere to in order to be approved, with Qualifiers describing how the standard is to be met, as well as recommendations that farmers should adhere to.
Here is an example of a standard:
1.1 Deer Sheds/Yards
Deer sheds and yards must be designed, constructed and maintained to minimise the risk to animals and humans, providing safe humane confinement and handling. Water must be available to stock if yarded for more than 6hrs.
To ensure animal safety, protrusions that may cause damage (e.g. gate hinges, gudgeons, gate catches, bolts, nails, wire-knots, tie downs) shall be cut flush where practicable or modified to prevent damage to deer.
To ensure animal safety, gaps that may cause injury shall be filled or modified to prevent damage to deer.
Outside yard surfaces shall be constructed in such a manner and of such material as to minimise the presence of mud or dust and ensure safe footing at all times.
Deer shed floor surfaces shall be constructed of material which must:
(i) ensure secure footing;
(ii) ensure safety and freedom from injury for both the deer and handler;
(iii) ensure the presence of mud and dust is minimised;
(iv) ensure adequate drainage.
There shall be sufficient ventilation and light to ensure the safety and wellbeing of deer and handler. Walls and gates are to be of substantial construction which prevents injury to deer.
Confinement - Deer sheds/yards shall be constructed so as to safely contain and permit ease of movement of deer.
In high use work areas it is recommended that a permanent cleanable surface is provided.
For fallow the use of netting in confined yards is not recommended.
Deer Industry New Zealand operates a national training and verification scheme to ensure deer transporters are trained and certified on how to handle and transport deer correctly.
The transportation of deer is a vital link in the overall “pasture to plate” concept. Assurances covering transport have to be given and met in order to satisfy the requirements of importing countries. Transport requirements from many of the industry's importing countries have become increasingly complex and are highly likely to impact on the way we go about transporting deer in the future.
DeerQA Transport Quality Assurance Programme
To become accredited to the DeerQA Transport Quality Assurance Programme, transport operators must meet three basic requirements:
- Have all deer crates certified to the DeerQA Transport Standards.
- Have all deer truck drivers attend and be approved through the industry training course.
- Have a documented procedure manual describing how their deer transport business operates available for audit.
To find out more detailed information about Transport QA, click here >>
The following companies have agreed to be subject to independent audit to confirm that hot carcass weights are being recorded based on the industry agreed Standard Carcass Trim, and these processor recorded weights for levy collection align with processor recorded weights for supplier payment.
Name of Venison Marketing Company:
- Duncan New Zealand Ltd
- Silver Fern Farms Ltd
- Alliance Group Ltd
- Mountain River Processors
- Firstlight Foods
The Carcass Trim Audit does not cover individual company carcass grading systems. Processors remain free to assess the value of the carcass based on factors such as fat cover, conformation or any other quality criteria, and pay for the venison accordingly; however, these should be explained to suppliers.
It does not cover individual payment to suppliers. The system does not guarantee that the money an individual farmer receives is the correct amount for the animals delivered to the processor.
While DINZ takes care to ensure those plants accredited under the Deer Industry New Zealand Carcass Trim Compliant verification programme use the Industry Agreed Standard Carcass Trim for making payments to producers, any persons relying on DINZ’s accreditation do so at their own risk and DINZ accepts no liability whatsoever for any resulting loss (whether direct or indirect).
Information on Quality assurance on your deer farm is available in a convenient DINZ Deer Fact sheet (August 2017). Download your own copy here >>
To download Useful Questions & Answers regarding the Hygiene Requirements, Cold Chain Management, Transport, Traceability and Auditing of the New Measures for Handling Velvet May 2017, click here >>
The development of the DeerQA On-Farm Industry Agreed Standard was funded by the Passion2Profit Primary Growth Partnership.