Specified Risk Material - Contamination of Floor Waste and Waste Water Materials

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The volumes of waste material generated on both the kill floor and in the processing room or cut/bone room have been identified by industry as the areas generating much of the additional unanticipated costs associated with the implementation of the enhanced feed ban requirements. This is particularly the case for those plants that are primarily killing fed cattle where the limited, but routine occurrence of over the thirty months of age (OTM) animals has resulted in most, if not all of, the floor waste and waste water materials being handled as Specified Risk Material (SRM).

In identifying options for consideration a guiding principal for those areas where SRM are removed or handled is that:

  • where the SRM is effectively contained within a set of tissues without any opportunity for direct contact or exposure; for example, the dorsal root ganglia within the OTM vertebral column, or
  • where any potential BSE infectivity is effectively contained within an organ, for example, BSE infectivity associated with lymphoid tissue (Peyer's patches) within the wall of the distal ileum and not the material within the lumen

1. For distal ileum and OTM vertebral columns

In slaughter establishments, since the distal ileum is removed in its entirety, any BSE infectivity would be effectively contained within it. As a result, even if the distal ileum was accidentally dropped onto the floor it would not pose any risk of contaminating other floor waste or waste water or being tracked elsewhere on the kill floor. Provided these SRM are picked up and placed into the designated SRM container, the floor waste and waste water, with which they came into contact, will not be considered SRM.

In processing room or cut/bone facilities: The same rationale applies to an OTM vertebral column that may be accidentally dropped onto the floor. By the time the carcass is ready for processing at these facilities, all SRM apart from the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) have been removed. The DRG are contained within the vertebral column and do not pose any risk of cross contamination through direct exposure. As a result, provided that the OTM vertebral column (SRM) is placed into designated SRM bins as soon as it is removed or if it has accidentally dropped onto the floor, and provided segregation is maintained from all other materials, there should be no need to treat floor waste or waste water materials as SRM in those areas where these types of SRM are removed and handled.

2. Saw dust from OTM vertebral columns handling - for beef cutting and boning facilities/rooms

By the time the OTM carcass is ready for processing, all SRM apart from the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) have been removed. The spinal cord has already been removed, and the DRG contained within the vertebral column do not pose any risk of cross contamination.

In normal processing operations, two to three transverse cuts are made through the OTM vertebral column to facilitate subsequent handling of beef carcasses. There is a negligible likelihood that the saw dust resulting from this operation would contain SRM (DRG). The opportunities for these SRM to contaminate other materials including floor waste and waste water would be negligible. Therefore, there should be no need to treat as SRM the floor waste or waste water mixed with the saw dust from OTM vertebral column transverse cuts.

The waste water generated within processing rooms (cut/bone operations) does not need to be filtered through 4 mm aperture due to the negligible risk of contamination within this area. However, overall plant design and municipal regulations will dictate the disposal options.

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