Policy Regarding Incidental Over Thirty Month Cattle Stunning and Contamination with Specified Risk Material in Slaughter of Under Thirty Month Cattle

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The blood collected from cattle is used in the production of calf milk replacers. Young animals are known to be the most susceptible to the transmission of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE), requiring the lowest exposure dose and the animals most likely to acquire disease post-exposure.

The CFIA position for the stun gun and head cross contamination after an "incidental" Over thrity Month (OTM) animal, is that there is potential for SRM designated tissues, in this case Central Nervous System (CNS) material from the OTM animal, to be mechanically transferred to the adjacent Under Thiry Month (UTM) carcass(es). This occurrence renders the skull of the adjacent UTM carcasses effectively SRM and in this context the position of CFIA is that the next adjacent two (2) carcass heads be designated as SRM to mitigate the risk that inedible by-products become contaminated with SRM designated tissues.

True age verification prior to stunning solves many problems before they arise. Should an OTM animal be found after the stun/stick/shackling procedure in a lot of cattle designated as UTM, any and all blood collected by current open methods of collection without proper controls in place to prevent cross contamination would be considered contaminated with SRM and must be disposed of as such.

OIE Considerations

By not adequately segregating animals, the health status of the Canadian herd could be seriously compromised, as could our access to export markets and our continued maintenance of OIE classification of Canada as a controlled risk country for BSE.

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