Specified Risk Material - Requirements for Canadian Cattle Producers

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On July 12, 2007, enhanced animal health safeguards came into effect to help eliminate bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, from Canada. Certain cattle tissues capable of transmitting BSE, known as specified risk material (SRM), are banned from all animal feeds, pet foods and fertilizers. There are also requirements for Canadian cattle producers who handle, transport or dispose of cattle remains.

What are SRM?

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.

SRM are not permitted in food for humans.

SRM Transportation Requirements

Note: Permit Requirements

Cattle deadstock of all ages containing SRM are also considered SRM.

Cattle deadstock and raw SRM remaining on a farm's premises are not subject to any specific Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requirements. On-farm disposal methods must respect municipal and provincial/territorial regulations. All material, including any composted cattle remains, must stay on the premises.

A permit issued by the CFIA is required to move SRM in any form, including cattle deadstock, from a farm's premises. As well, a visible stripe must be applied down the backs of carcasses containing SRM, and raw SRM must be dyed.

A CFIA permit is also required to transport edible carcasses containing SRM for cutting or processing. Carcasses of cattle older than 30 months of age must be stained with a meat dye to mark the spinal cord or vertebral column. Eviscerated carcasses of cattle younger than 30 months of age that no longer contain the intestine are considered free of SRM and, therefore, are not subject to CFIA transportation requirements.

Records of all SRM and deadstock movement must be kept for 10 years.

This information must identify:

  • the name and address of the transporter;
  • the date of movement;
  • the name of the dye used;
  • Canadian Cattle Identification Agency or Agri-Traçabilité Québec tag numbers;
  • the combined weight of SRM and carcasses considered SRM, as well as the number of carcasses; and
  • the destination.

Feeds and Livestock Feeding

The feed ban continues to apply. Most proteins derived from mammals remain banned from feed for ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats and deer. These proteins, which are known as prohibited material, may be fed to chickens, pigs, horses and other non-ruminant livestock species. Packages of feed containing prohibited material carry the following warning statement:

"Feeding this product to cattle, sheep, deer or other ruminants is illegal and is subject to fines or other punishments under the Health of Animals Act."

All feeds containing prohibited material must be free of SRM. Livestock producers should purchase only feeds identified by retailers or manufacturers as free of SRM.

Producers must keep records of feed and feed ingredient purchases for two years that include:

  • the supplier's name and address
  • the date of purchase; and
  • the amount purchased.
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