Chapter 17 - Ante and Post-mortem Procedures, Dispositions, Monitoring and Controls - Meat Species, Ostriches, Rheas and Emus
17.4 Maintaining Identity of the Animal

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This section explains key elements of animal identification from their reception at the slaughter establishment to the disposition of their carcass and parts.

Every operator shall develop, implement and maintain a control program to ensure that the identity of every animal is maintained from its reception at the slaughter establishment up to the disposition of the derived carcass and parts following completion of post mortem inspection procedures.

17.4.1 Mandatory Identification for Cattle, Bison and Sheep

For cattle, bison, and sheep, it is a requirement under the Animal Identification provisions of the Health of Animals Regulations (subsection 177(1) of Part XV) that the operator of a slaughter establishment shall not receive, or cause the reception of, an animal that does not bear an approved tag, i.e. a tag as recognized under the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) and Agri-traçabilité Québec (ATQ). If an animal loses its approved tag on the way to the abattoir for slaughter, it is not necessary to apply a new approved tag provided that adequate information is maintained and documented by the operator to enable traceability. When an animal bearing an approved tag is slaughtered at an abattoir, the operator shall maintain the ability to identify the animal's carcass until the carcass is approved for consumption or condemned.

The CCIA/ATQ ear tag shall be removed and placed into a clean plastic bag which is attached to the fore shank of the carcass following hide removal. Alternative identification procedures may be approved by the Veterinarian in Charge. These procedures shall assure with equal confidence that the identity of the carcass and all its parts is maintained until their final disposition.

If a bison or a bovine bearing an approved tag is slaughtered at the abattoir or otherwise dies at an abattoir, the operator shall report the death of the animal and the number of the approved tag to the administrator of a national identification program for animals within 30 days after death (paragraph 184 (3) c) of Part XV of Health of Animals Regulations).

Records for the identity of slaughtered cattle shall also be maintained for a period of 2 years if an operator chooses to use birth date documentation to determine the age of the animals (refer to Appendix D of this chapter).

17.4.2 Correlating the Information from Ante-Mortem to Post-Mortem Inspection

Good control through effective communication between the operator, ante-mortem inspectors and post-mortem inspectors is essential. The CFIA verifies via CFIA/ACIA 1438 or an equivalent in-house form that animals presented for slaughter have received and passed an ante-mortem examination and an ante-mortem inspection. Further controls are necessary in the case of animals that were "held" after ante-mortem inspection. Carcasses of such animals must receive veterinary inspection.

As applicable, the inspector shall frequently check that all heads are properly identified with a system acceptable to the Veterinarian in Charge to maintain carcass-head identity.

Synchronization and correlation between carcass, harvested blood, head and other carcass parts shall be maintained until completion of inspection.

The operator must provide adequate facilities for viscera retention which is required by the veterinarian for carcass evaluation.

17.4.3 Control over Held Animals and Their Carcass

It is imperative that all suspects be properly identified throughout the slaughter process, i.e., from the yards or live animal receiving room to the final post-mortem inspection station. To achieve this, every operator shall develop, implement and maintain an efficient control program.

Adequate cleaning and disinfection is required in all cases where the slaughter of a suspect animal may have caused contamination of the facility and equipment.

Once the suspect animal is slaughtered, CFIA/ACIA 1464 tags are to be used for the purpose of identification of carcasses and their parts which require further inspection. These tags shall be used to identify the carcass, edible blood, head, feet and viscera, as necessary. Alternative identification procedures may be approved by the Veterinarian in Charge. These procedures shall assure with equal confidence that the identity of the carcass and all its parts is maintained until their final disposition is known.

Condemned meat products shall be identified by using a condemned tag CFIA/ACIA 1429) or another system approved by the Veterinarian in Charge. The condemned material shall be disposed of as soon as possible. When a carcass is condemned, no part of that carcass shall be approved for human food, including those previously harvested (blood, head, offal, etc.) When a carcass or its parts are condemned, they are to remain under the inspector's supervision until disposed of in the prescribed manner. Condemned material shall be handled in such a way as to avoid contamination of other meat products.

17.4.4 Use of Operator/Veterinary Held Rails

A carcass requiring a veterinary evaluation shall be identified with a "held" tag or any other alternate identification system developed by the operator and approved by the Veterinarian in Charge.

A carcass identified by a CFIA inspector with a visible pathological condition that does not pose a significant food safety risk or a carcass requiring only trimming due to dressing defects or bruises shall not be directed to the veterinary rail. Such carcasses shall be sent to the Operator Held rail and trimmed by the operator. The operator must develop an appropriate identification system in consultation with the Veterinarian in Charge to ensure carcasses are directed to the appropriate rail.

Refer to section 17.7.2.1 for more information on the veterinary and operators held rails.

17.4.5 Control and Removal of Identification Implants from Carcasses

The operator is responsible for determining whether a carcass contains an identification implant such as a microchip. Each implant must be removed from the carcass during dressing procedures and properly disposed to ensure it will not enter into the human food chain or the animal feeds chain.

Unless authorized by a CFIA inspector on a case by case basis, any carcass suspected to contain an identification implant shall not be presented to the CFIA for post mortem inspection until the implant has been removed from the carcass.

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