Specified Risk Material - Head Hides (Face Plates) from Cattle Slaughtered in Canadian Abattoirs

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The enhanced ruminant feed ban regulations, which came into effect on July 12, 2007, are intended to further mitigate risks posed by the potential cross-contamination of ruminant feeds with prohibited proteins by completely removing specified risk material (SRM) that may contain BSE infectivity from animal feed, pet food and fertilizer.

SRM are defined as:

the skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia (nerves attached to the brain), eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia (nerves attached to the spinal cord) of cattle aged 30 months or older; and the distal ileum (portion of the small intestine) of cattle of all ages.

Industry has asked for clarification in regards to acceptable uses for head hides in regard to specified risk material.

Under thirty months of age (UTM) animals stunned by a penetrating device

Head hides (face plates) of UTM animals are not considered SRM as any brain tissue extruded from UTM animals is not SRM. Therefore, head hides can be directed to a routine (non-SRM) inedible stream provided they are not contaminated with brain material or any other SRM from over thirty months of age (OTM) animals.

OTM animals that are stunned by non-penetrating methods

When the slaughter of cattle involves the use of an approved non-penetrating stunning device, for example electric stunning and/or ritual slaughter, the head hides may be directed to a routine (non-SRM) inedible stream provided they are not contaminated with brain material or other SRM.

OTM animals stunned by a penetrating device

In those instances where the slaughter of cattle involves the use of a penetrating stunning device there is potential for brain material to leak from the stun hole and to contaminate the surrounding head hide. In OTM cattle this brain material constitutes an SRM; however, provided the potential contamination has been addressed by a method(s) approved by the CFIA, the head hide can be directed to a routine (non-SRM) inedible stream.

Suitable methods addressing the potential for head hides to become contaminated include, but are not necessarily limited to, trimming, washing, scraping and/or vacuuming the head hide, to remove grossly visible brain material. The leakage of brain material from the stun hole must be prevented with CFIA approved methods such as the application of edible grease, tampons or other equivalent devices.

In the absence of an approved procedure(s) to address the potential for the head hide of OTM cattle to become contaminated with brain material, the head hide derived from OTM cattle stunned by a penetrating device shall be delivered to the SRM disposal stream.

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