Chapter 9 - Emergency Situations

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Annex

9.1 Introduction

The CFIA has adopted the Government of Canada's definition of an emergency: "A present or imminent event that requires prompt coordination of actions concerning persons or property to protect the health, safety or welfare of people, or to limit damage to property or the environment." (CFIA Emergency Response Plan)

The CFIA has the lead role in responding to food safety, animal health and plant health emergencies or any other emergency that falls within its mandate.

Emergency response is based on four pillars: prevention, preparation, response and recovery. Prevention (mitigation) in this context would involve measures to preclude a disease or condition from entering the country, and thus includes import controls and bio-security. Preparation involves developing contingency or response plans, training staff and exercising the plans. Response, when the event actually happens, is intended to control and limit the damage. While primarily the role of the emergency response team, the Veterinarian or Inspector in Charge may in fact be on the team, and their immediate actions can have a significant impact on the ability to get control of the situation. Recovery would be a multi-agency effort to return the agricultural community back to a pre-outbreak condition. The focus of this chapter will be preparation and initial response.

In a registered establishment, one might encounter various urgent situations including animal diseases (domestic, foreign, zoonotic), food borne diseases, chemical contamination, leaks or spills, structural damage, floods or fires etc. Natural or accidental disasters are not within the scope of the program concern, and will be dealt with through the normal emergency response channels. The role of Meat Programs of the CFIA in these situations would be primarily related to the safety of the food products and the welfare of the animals in the establishment. Food recalls are the responsibility of the operator and of the Office of Food Safety and Recall. (For more information see Section 9.6 of this chapter, Chapter 3 and also Food Recalls: Make a Plan and Action It! Manufacturers' Guide.

Since the slaughterhouse may well be where a foreign animal disease (FAD) is first detected, the primary focus of this chapter is to guide the operator, the veterinarians and inspectors through procedures to prepare for and to immediately respond to a FAD. The Health of Animals Regulations defines "disease" as "any reportable disease or other serious epizootic disease to which an animal or germplasm is susceptible and which can be transmitted by the animal or germplasm."

The Health of Animals Act sets out the duties and prohibitions in relation to reportable diseases. It must be remembered that as soon as the presence of a reportable disease is suspected or has been confirmed, the District Veterinarian (Animal Health) must be contacted as soon as possible. Subsections 5(1) and (2) of the Health of Animals Act read as follows:

  • 5. (1) A person who owns or has the possession, care or control of an animal shall notify the nearest veterinary inspector of the presence of a reportable disease or toxic substance, or any fact indicating its presence, in or around the animal, immediately after the person becomes aware of the presence or fact.
  • (2) Immediately after a person who is a veterinarian, or who analyses animal specimens, suspects that an animal is affected or contaminated by a reportable disease or toxic substance, the person shall so notify a veterinary inspector.

The Health of Animals Act and its related regulations confer on the designated inspectors and veterinarians the powers that they need to carry out all the specified actions. Please refer to section 22, section 35, section 38, section 48, and section 55 of the Health of Animals Act as well as section 104 and section 108 of the Health of Animals Regulations for additional information on the duties and prohibitions in relation to reportable diseases.

The reportable diseases and immediately notifiable diseases lists can be found in section 9.4.

9.2 Contingency Planning

Each slaughter establishment operator and every Veterinarian in Charge (VIC) must develop and maintain a written contingency plan for FAD. Although they must each have their own contingency plan, these plans must be developed in collaboration as there are responsibilities for each party that must be covered for a successful response.

The plans must be reviewed annually by the CFIA and plant management and updated as required. It is strongly recommended that a portion of or the complete contingency plan be exercised annually, with documentation and post-exercise assessment / review.

Not all FADs are likely to enter Canada, nor would they all pose a major economic or animal health threat. The guidelines in section 9.2 and section 9.3 apply to the following diseases:

Section 9.5 deals with special requirements for other specific reportable diseases.

Emergency Response Teams may be mobilized to respond to high risk submission of FADs (the response phase) but there will be a critical time from the first recognition when rational action taken by the VIC and operator could effectively mitigate the consequences of a FAD outbreak. These guidelines cover the first 24 hours or until the emergency response team is activated.

The elements to be included in the contingency plans are as follows:

9.2.1 Contact List

The contact list of the CFIA and federally registered establishments should include after-hours emergency contact numbers, home, and cell phone numbers.

The CFIA contact list should include the following people: the Regional Veterinary Officer, operational supervisor or Inspection Manager, local Animal Health district veterinarian, Area Program Managers (Animal Health and Meat), the Veterinary Program Specialists in Animal Health and Meat Hygiene, especially the Foreign Animal Disease Program Specialists, the Program Specialist (Poultry or Red Meat), the emergency coordinator, the Regional Director and the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) Diagnostic Co-ordinator. It should include contact details of the nearby CFIA Veterinarians trained in FAD recognition by the NCFAD.

Contacts in the federal establishment must include the plant manager and the various relevant department heads, including shipping and live animal receiving, slaughter and processing, industry associations, and firms with whom they deal with regularly, such as suppliers, trucking, rendering and waste companies. As well, the local law enforcement agency and fire department should be included on the emergency contact list.

Please note that while this is a comprehensive list including all the people who will be involved, the initial communication and notification should be made as per the Animal Health Functional plan (i.e. Area FAD specialist/Area MH specialist and Inspection Manager (IM)/Regional Veterinary Officer (RVO)) as described in section 9.3.3.1.

9.2.2 Site Plan and Map of Facility

The site plan will indicate all entrances to and exits from the establishment. The floor plan should demonstrate the process flow of the establishment, from the arrival of live animals to the shipment of finished product and waste with specific reference to higher risk areas. The objectives of bio-containment are:

  1. to determine where to establish control points for the entry and exit of vehicles, equipment, animals and people from the establishment, and
  2. to control the movement within the establishment from areas most exposed to the animals potentially infected with the disease-causing agent to areas, if any, which could be considered clean (free of the infectious agent).

The floor plan should outline in detail all movement patterns within the plant including:

  • product movement (edible, inedible, garbage/waste);
  • vehicle movement;
  • plant staff movement (both usual and occasional);
  • CFIA staff movement (both usual and occasional);
  • visitor movement;
  • contractor movement;
  • cleaners movement; and
  • maintenance workers movement.

The plan should look at what degree of overlap (common use areas and common foot traffic) between different areas of the plant and should also outline in detail what kind of regular biocontainment is in place in the plant and the effectiveness.

The plant management shall identify in the contingency plan defined areas in the plant for specific category staff (e.g. kill/evisceration floor staff, processing staff) to assemble and exit that will ensure no cross contamination.

9.2.3 Outline of System to Trace Livestock and Products

It is necessary to be able to trace every animal back to the farm of origin, and all outputs, both edible and inedible, to their final destination. Livestock identification and/or poultry flock sheets must be readily available for the previous month and current production. The operator must ensure that all animals delivered can be traced back through every intermediate place to the premises of origin. As well the vehicles used to transport animals to the plant, and their operators, must be identified and records be maintained. Within the plant it is necessary to maintain identification of the carcasses from the farm as long as possible through further processing to finished products using the plant tracing and recall system. The entire lot or batch which contains the affected carcasses may be detained depending on the risk determination. Records for movement of inedible and condemned material must also be maintained, along with information on the conveyances that are used (i.e. operators, contact numbers) and their final destinations.

9.2.4 Cleaning and Disinfection

The contingency plan will list the equipment on the premises which could be used for cleaning and disinfection purposes, as well as listing all cleaning chemicals and disinfectants that the establishment uses. The operator should also have access to a stock of a disinfectant known to be effective against the relevant pathogens that may be included on the Reference Listing of Accepted Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-Food Chemical Products (such as Virkon®) for use in case of a FAD situation.

It is no longer mandatory to register non-food chemicals. The existing reference listing will continue to be accessible on the CFIA website but will no longer be updated. Please refer to Chapter 3.6, Pre-Requisite Programs for the requirements for acceptable non-food chemical products.

The plan should describe how the abattoir will be cleaned and disinfected specifying the ability to clean various areas, the level of exposure, and the disposal of contaminated biological materials. The additional clean-up and disinfection procedures which would be required of the operator, including allowing for sufficient contact time of the disinfectant (i.e. cleaning and disinfecting) before reinitiating operations, or accepting additional live animals, should be described. Procedures should be documented for cleaning and disinfecting vehicles, particularly crates, and live transport trucks on-site. These procedures should be developed by the operator and provided to the veterinarian for review and approval. The level of cleaning and disinfection required will depend on the risk determination.

The contingency plan of the slaughter plant must take into account the handling of the effluents on-site.

9.2.5 Disposal of Condemned Carcasses, Wastes and Animal By-Products

The contingency plan will list the regular means of disposing of condemned and inedible carcasses and by-products, waste materials, animal food, feed, and bedding, if necessary. This should include who, where, when and how. Alternate methods, locations etc., for disposal of products and by-products which may be contaminated or infective must be identified and documented.

In the low risk scenario the disposal of inedibles and waste may occur normally. In the high risk case of a suspected FAD, this material will be held on site until a diagnosis is established or ruled out. The CFIA would determine the modalities of disposal if a positive diagnosis to a FAD is obtained.

9.2.6 Training Material for the Recognition of FAD

Procedures must be in place to train the inspectors, veterinarians and plant employees who perform ante-mortem inspection or screening to recognize and respond to exceptional circumstances such as the FADs to which the animals slaughtered in the establishment are susceptible. Appropriate training material, such as photographs of animals displaying the typical clinical signs and lesions, should be made available at the plant level and these should be provided to the veterinarians and inspectors, as well as to plant employees who work with the live animals.

Training materials (photographs, videos, internet sites) for the post-mortem identification of FADs should be available to the veterinarian(s) and inspectors, and reviewed on a regular basis. (See Chapter 1, section 1.3.3.)

9.2.7 Sample Collection, Packaging and Submission

The plan must describe which samples are required for each disease, how samples will be collected, packaged and shipped, to which laboratory, as well as any specialized material and / or media required. Shipping procedures must be documented to ensure timely shipping (i.e. deadline for the courier). Sample collection, packing and shipping can be performed either by the VIC or by the District Veterinarian depending on the training, staffing, knowledge and availability. The contingency planning will be an opportunity for the District Veterinarian and the VIC to determine the options for sample collection and submission and decide what works best. The CFIA abattoir staff may / will be supplied with the appropriate transport media and shipping containers, and must be trained in the Laboratory Sample Tracking system submission and must know which laboratories are designated to perform the appropriate analyses if they are responsible for shipping samples. For more information please refer to the Animal Health Test and Analysis Performed in the CFIA and CFIA Accredited Laboratories - (Internal access only). Also refer to the hazard specific plans or consult with the FAD program specialist for details of sampling. The person ultimately responsible for shipping the samples must have a current Transport of Dangerous Goods certification.

9.2.8 Communication and Contingency Plans for the Suspension of Slaughter

There are many reasons other than a FAD why an abattoir might have to suspend their slaughter operations, for example: a major mechanical breakdown (i.e. of scald tank, de-hairer, and freezers), chemical spills, and fire. If slaughter is stopped, then it is imperative to stop additional animals from arriving at the plant, as there will soon be significant welfare problems (i.e. over-crowding, inappropriate feeding, watering and bedding for long stays). For this reason, the plant operator must work with industry to develop both a communication plan, to inform producers to not ship animals, and a contingency plan, to deal with those animals that are already on their way to the abattoir. This could involve making plans with other abattoirs in the area, to receive each others' designated animals, should problems arise, or the identification of empty barns that could take in animals for a period of time, until slaughter can resume.

In the event of a suspect FAD, the CFIA will provide the plant operator with prepared messages to help communicate to plant staff, producers, transporters and others who may be impacted by the situation. Such messages are developed in advance of FAD emergencies, as part of the Agency's risk communications planning. Messages are adjusted based on the specific situation. (For sample messages, please see Annex E.)

9.2.9 Activities While Awaiting Laboratory Diagnosis

In a high risk scenario, while awaiting confirmation of diagnosis from the laboratory, the operator and CFIA staff have an opportunity to begin the tracing activities (for example, transport vehicles) and must ensure that movement of potentially infective material, products, or people having a link with the slaughter plant is controlled. The plan should outline how the trace-in and trace-out can be undertaken.

In a low risk scenario, the plant will continue processing once the suspect animals and product have been segregated (see section 9.3.1.1) Tracing activities will also be quickly initiated in order to identify the farm of origin. Also see section 9.3.3 and section 9.3.4.

9.2.10 Bio-security/Bio-containment and Personal Protective Equipment

Bio-security/Bio-containment include all the measures that the operator and CFIA staff must take to avoid spreading the infectious agent to other susceptible animals. As well as control of incoming or outgoing vehicles, animals and equipment, the entire establishment will be divided into zones based on potential exposure to the infectious agent, with controls on the movement of vehicles, equipment, animals, product and people. Employees will be required to take appropriate measures to prevent them from acting as a mechanical vector and spreading the disease.

For the safety and health of the inspection staff and plant employees, provisions must also be made to equip them with, and train them to use, the personal protective equipment appropriate to the zoonotic potential of the diseases in the species of animals killed in the abattoir, such as gloves, respirators, and goggles. See Annex B and Annex C of this chapter for the list of equipment.

9.2.11 Signatures

The contingency plans, when finalized, are to be dated and signed by both the CFIA inspection and plant management as a formal acknowledgment of their mutual responsibilities.

9.2.12 Role of the Veterinarian in Charge (VIC)

The VIC in collaboration with District Veterinarian will develop and submit a FAD contingency plan for federal abattoirs to the Regional Veterinary Officer and FAD Program Specialist, and is responsible for updating the plan. The VIC must ensure that the inspection staff is familiar with and trained in relevant aspects of the contingency plan, and are able to recognize the FADs that could affect the species they work with.

Immediately after first suspicion or recognition the VIC or alternate will be responsible for coordinating the following actions:

  1. Clinical exam of suspect animals: performing a detailed examination of the suspect animals and/or carcasses and tissues to determine the possibility of a FAD. It is important to give a detailed pathological description of the lesions observed and to quantify the number of animals exhibiting the various clinical signs. The clinical exam of suspect animals should be done by, or in consultation with, a FAD diagnostician (a CFIA veterinarian trained in FAD recognition by the NCFAD in Winnipeg) and will include a post-mortem examination if any suspect animals are dead or ordered destroyed;
  2. Risk determination: consulting with the Area FAD specialist to determine the level of risk that the animals may be infected with a FAD that will lead to specific response activities on site and in the vicinity. (Digital photos can be sent to specialists to help in the determination.);
  3. Initial notification: initiating notification of those on the contact list (section 9.3.3.1): Area MH or FAD specialist; Inspection manager; Plant management and the District veterinarian and / or the Regional Veterinary Officer (RVO). (Also see the Emergency Response Part 6 of the Animal Health Functional Plan/AHFP) - (Internal access only);
  4. Biocontainment measures: instituting the required controls to limit the possibility of dissemination of the suspected disease through the movement of people, animals, products, vehicles and equipment into or out of the establishment (section 9.3.3.2). The required controls will depend on the established level of risk;
  5. Sampling: collecting the appropriate (type and number) diagnostic samples (section 9.3.3.4);
  6. Packaging, shipment of diagnostic samples and notification: Animal Health staff may assist in packaging and shipping the diagnostic specimens;
  7. Traceback and Epidemiological questionnaire: collecting basic information on the source or origin of the affected animals including the name of farm, address and phone number and completing part A 1.2 of the Premises Investigation Questionnaire (Annex D) and quickly transferring this information to the District Veterinarian of the farm of origin and to the Area FAD specialist (section 9.3.3.3). Preliminary traceback must also be initiated by the operator in order to identify and locate the vehicle(s) which transported the suspect animals;
  8. Segregation and detention: of product and segregation / disposal of inedible products;
  9. Cleaning and disinfection: supervising the required cleaning and disinfection to allow the resumption of slaughter activities The activities will depend on the established level of risk and the time of detection of the FAD. (sections 9.3.3.5, 9.3.1.1 and 9.3.1.2)

The CFIA veterinarians must also ensure that all animals, both suspects and normal, are properly handled and cared for in a humane way.

9.2.13 Role of the Operator

The operator will develop a FAD contingency plan. The operator must see that plant staff are familiar with the plan and ensure that the appropriate employees are trained to recognize the diseases of concern. If there are zoonotic diseases, the operator will have personal protective equipment available, and train their staff in its proper use. The operator must also make proactive arrangements for disposal of contaminated materials.

Once developed, the contingency plan must be submitted to the VIC for review. The operator must perform a regular in-plant simulation in conjunction with the local inspection staff. Based on the results of the simulation, adjustments should be made to ensure that the plan is effective.

Upon notification by the inspection staff of suspicion of a FAD, the operator must activate the plan, in order to preclude the possible spread of the disease. This may, depending on risk, include notification of the contacts, restricting entry and exit of people and products from the establishment, tracing the origin of the suspect animals and the transport vehicles, locating product from the same source, assisting in sample collection, cleaning and disinfecting, and proper segregation of products or disposal of inedible and waste products. The operator must also support and follow any additional controls instituted by CFIA personnel, as per their contingency plan.

9.3 Response

9.3.1 Risk Determination: Low Risk versus High Risk

Response activities at the registered establishment will depend on whether this is deemed a low or high risk situation. In low risk situations, the response activities and impacts are minimal. In high risk situations, the response activities are extensive, which includes ordering movement restrictions on any vehicles entering or exiting the registered establishment. The Veterinarian in Charge (VIC) will consult with the Area FAD Program Specialist as to whether the situation is to be considered a Low Risk or a High Risk of being a FAD. Digital photographs should be sent to the Area MH or FAD Program Specialists to aid in determination of the level of risk. In case of a prolonged delay in being able to contact the AH FAD or the Area MH Program Specialist, there should be a secondary contact designated by the FAD Program Specialist that the VIC can contact in the short term.

Support of CFIA activities from plant management will be required during the risk determination phase. This is an important decision phase as the outcome may lead to extensive collaborative response efforts. (Refer to the diagram of the sequence of events in Annex F and Annex G of this chapter).

For poultry, risk determination will be based on the severity and nature of the clinical signs, and lesions observed in the suspect animals, the total number and the percentage of animals in the lot that are affected, the history as indicated in the flock sheet when available, post-mortem examinations when required and the mortality rate.

For livestock, risk determination will be based on a complete physical examination by the VIC / FAD diagnostician of the affected animals, the severity and nature of the clinical signs, and lesions observed in the suspect animals, necropsy results, and any available history.

When the above mentioned criteria have been reviewed by the VIC and Area MH or FAD Program Specialists and fit with a known FAD, the situation will be deemed High Risk. If not, the situation will be deemed Low Risk.

In order to follow up and support the risk determination associated within the abattoir, the contact information for the farm of origin must be forwarded quickly to the Local District veterinarian, via the Part A 1.2 of the Premises Investigation Questionnaire (PIQ). This will initiate a premises investigation to the farm of origin. The farm of origin will be contacted by the local District Veterinarian and Part A of the PIQ filled out. If the VIC does not know who the Local District Veterinarian associated with the farm of origin is, the FAD specialist or the Meat Hygiene Program Specialist can assist the VIC in identifying the right person to contact.

The answers to the following questions must be available so as to assist the Area MH or FAD Program Specialist with the risk determination at the abattoir:

  • Are the clinical signs typical of the disease you suspect?
  • Are a number of animals in the lot affected? What percent of the lot is affected? What is the morbidity?
  • What is the mortality rate? What is the number of dead on arrival?
  • Can you explain the mortality by extenuating circumstances such as weather, transport time or distance?
  • Does the flock sheet support an illness in the flock and/or high mortality?
  • Does the truck driver have any additional information?

As a general principle, when one animal or carcass is suspected of being infected with a FAD, all animals or carcasses from the same farm source or supplier must be detained and isolated until an investigation can be carried out.

Management must be informed of all limitations on plant operations which will be necessary, and their cooperation required. It should be emphasized that the restrictions early on in the control period are designed to minimize the financial impact on the establishment as well as the Canadian livestock industry in its entirety. Failing to implement appropriate measures could result in a widely disseminated foreign animal disease with much higher economic impacts for the plant and industry as a whole.

If the disease has zoonotic potential, then staff must don the appropriate personal protective equipment.

9.3.1.1 Low Risk

If a situation is deemed low risk, the following actions will be taken:

  • If the lesions are observed at the ante-mortem, the suspect animals are segregated and sampled while non suspect animals are sent to the kill floor. If possible, the suspect animals should be slaughtered at the end of the shift. The carcasses originating from the suspect animals showing clinical signs at ante-mortem (section 9.3.2.1) or lesions at post-mortem (section 9.3.2.2) will be detained and further samples taken. All non-suspect carcasses from the same lot will undergo normal processing.
  • If the lesions on the suspect animals are observed on the slaughter or evisceration floor, the suspect carcasses on which lesions are observed at post-mortem will be closely examined, detained and then samples will be collected. The final disposition of the detained product originating from the suspect animal will be decided based on the testing results and the confirmed diagnosis. All non-suspect carcasses from the same lot will undergo normal processing. All remaining animals from the same lot at ante-mortem will be closely examined.
  • Sampling: samples are to be sent to the appropriate laboratory as "Confirmatory Negative". Animal Health staff may assist with packaging, shipment, submission into the Laboratory Sample Tracking System (LSTS) and notification.
  • Tracebacks: the farm of origin information will be quickly transferred via the PIQ, Part A 1.2 to the district veterinarian for a follow up on the premises.
  • Segregation: all product from the suspect animals and carcasses will be detained until diagnostic results are known. All non suspect animals will be processed normally. The disposal of inedibles and waste may occur normally.
  • No specific biocontainment measures of staff and vehicles will be applied on site.
  • When the situation is deemed low risk, no cleaning and disinfection of specific areas are required on site during the slaughter shift but specific cleaning and disinfecting procedures for the exposed slaughter areas could be required during the plant cleaning shift (i.e.: specific disinfectant required, extra measures in the ante-mortem area, etc.).

Other than the time required to undertake the risk determination phase, the plant will be allowed to continue operations.

9.3.1.2 High Risk

If a situation is deemed high risk the following actions will be taken, keeping in mind the appropriate bio-containment measures:

  • If the lesions are observed at the ante-mortem, the suspect animals are segregated and sampled while non suspect animals are sent to the kill floor. If possible, the suspect animals should be slaughtered at the end of the shift. The carcasses originating from the suspect animals showing clinical signs at ante-mortem or lesions at post-mortem will be detained and further samples taken. All carcasses and products originating from suspect animals and animals of the same origin will be detained. The final disposition of the detained product will be decided based on the testing results and the confirmed diagnosis. Appropriate bio-containment measures will be taken. No cleaning and disinfection will be required during the slaughter shift if the non-suspect animals are slaughtered before the suspect ones. A complete cleaning and disinfection of all exposed areas including ante-mortem, approved by the CFIA, will be required on site before the resumption of operation.
  • If the lesions on the suspect animals are observed on the kill floor, the suspect carcasses on which lesions are observed will be closely examined, detained, including products and samples will be collected. It is important to identify all animals and/or carcasses from the same origin. After ensuring that slaughter staff has any required personal protective equipment, the slaughter would be allowed to resume processing these animals. Processing would occur at a slow enough speed to allow increased inspection and the collection of samples and quantification (number of carcasses affected) of significant pathological lesions. All carcasses and products originating from suspect animals and animals of the same origin will be detained. The final disposition of the detained product will be decided based on the testing results and the confirmed diagnosis. All remaining animals from the same origin at ante-mortem will be closely examined and all animals from that origin will be moved to the kill floor for immediate slaughter. A complete cleaning and disinfection of the exposed slaughter floor will be required before resuming the slaughter of the awaiting non suspect animals. A repeat of complete cleaning and disinfection of all exposed areas including ante-mortem, approved by the CFIA, will be required on site before the resumption of operation.
  • Sampling: samples are to be sent to the appropriate laboratory as "High Risk". Animal Health staff may assist with packaging, shipment, submission into the LSTS and notification.
  • Tracebacks: the farm of origin information will be quickly transferred via the PIQ Part A 1.2 to the district veterinarian for a follow up on the premises. The CFIA staff at the slaughter plant, in collaboration with the operator, will also initiate other trace-back activities such as locating the vehicle responsible for the transport of the suspect animals and obtaining their daily schedule.
  • Segregation / disposal: the product will be detained until diagnostic results are known. Inedible products and waste will be segregated on site and will not be authorized to leave the slaughter plant and be disposed of until the diagnosis is confirmed.
  • The plant will be declared an "Infected Place" (CFIA/ACIA 4204, See Module 15 of the Common Procedures Manual) - (Internal access only). There will be no further animals admitted to the plant, and when all animals on site have been slaughtered, all slaughter operations will cease until the Declaration of an Infected Place has been released. No products, by-products, waste materials, vehicles or people will be allowed to leave the premises without adequate cleaning and disinfecting.
  • The plant will not be allowed to resume operation until the Declaration of the Infected Place has been lifted.

9.3.2 Time of Detection of a FAD

9.3.2.1 Detection During Ante-mortem Examination

Ante-mortem is clearly the optimal time to detect a disease, as the symptoms of many FADs would be most evident in the live animal. This will also allow for the segregation of all the animals from the same source, for in depth ante-mortem examination, for sample collection from the live animals which has to be done keeping animal welfare in mind. The decision to euthanise the animal for sampling must be taken in consultation with a FAD specialist. The suspect animals should be held for separate slaughter, preferably at the end of the kill, to avoid cross contamination, and for detailed post-mortem examination and sampling. This may also lessen the contamination of the kill and evisceration floors thus affecting the required control actions such as bio-containment and cleaning and disinfection, if needed.

9.3.2.2 Detection During Post-mortem Examination

If the disease is detected during post-mortem inspection, all carcasses of the same origin must be closely examined for the presence of lesions. It may be required to stop the line in order to permit the examination of the carcasses and sample collection on those showing lesions. The required control actions such as biocontainment and cleaning and disinfection will differ somewhat due to the potential for contamination of a larger surface such as of the ante-mortem area, the kill floor, the evisceration area, and possibly even the post-slaughter storage areas (i.e. chillers, freezers). Refer to section 9.3.1.1 and section 9.3.1.2 for detailed response activities.

9.3.3 Initial Response - Communication, Control and Quarantine, Traceback, Samples, Cleaning and Disinfection, Disposal, Record of Activities

9.3.3.1 Notification/Communication

After risk determination, the VIC will immediately explain the concerns about a potential FAD, and the required actions, to plant management.

Using the list of contacts (from the contingency plan), the VIC has to inform both Operations and Programs. The contacts who have already been involved in the risk determination will begin to mobilize the network of responders, and start the flow of information (e.g. FAD specialist and Inspection manager can contact District Veterinarian and RVO respectively). This will help the VIC to focus on performing and co-ordinating the activities within the slaughter establishment.

The operator will contact the respective departments, the employees, the suppliers, the truckers, and possibly the customers as the situation unfolds. If necessary, the operator will also contact producers and industry associations to update them as the situation unfolds. (See sample message in Annex E of this chapter.)

For further information see the Emergency Response Part 6 of the Animal Health Functional Plan (AHFP) - (Internal access only).

9.3.3.2 Movement Control

Early control of the movement of animals, products, equipment and people is the key to preventing the spread of a disease. In the high risk situation, the entire establishment is to be declared an infected place by issuing form CFIA/ACIA 4204. In both high and low risk scenarios all suspect animals and carcasses showing lesions are held. In a high risk scenario, products originating from animals present in the same lot as suspect animals or carcasses showing lesions will also be held.

Low Risk: The suspect animals and carcasses showing lesions will be identified and segregated. This product should be placed in a separate cooler or separate area of the cooler under detention.

High Risk: All suspected and known contact animals and products from the same lot or source are to be identified. This product should be placed in a separate cooler or separate area of the cooler under detention.

In High Risk situations, the CFIA will suspend the movement of all animals, products and vehicles to and from the premises pending lifting of the Declaration of Infected Place. The movements on and off the premises will only be allowed through CFIA License (CFIA/ACIA 1509). The declaration of infected place will be lifted after receiving negative results from NCFAD and/or advice from the Program Specialists or Manager.

The CFIA should supervise the arrival and departure of all personnel. If departures are absolutely necessary, any personnel having contacted suspected animals, carcasses or portions should shower and, either change or disinfect clothing. Boots, shoes and vehicles should be cleaned before allowing people to leave the establishment. Departing personnel should be advised to stay away from susceptible species until the situation is resolved. Unavoidable arrivals should not be permitted contact with any suspicious or contact animals or products.

No inedible product, waste, animal food, bedding, feed, garbage, etc. can leave the premises unless the disposal poses no risk of disseminating the disease. In high risk situations, this material will be held on site until a diagnosis is established or ruled out.

9.3.3.3 Traceback

The VIC can assist in the subsequent investigation of the suspect case by beginning to accumulate the following information:

  • origin of suspect animals;
  • transportation used to bring suspects to the slaughterhouse;
  • all transportation vehicles having left the slaughter plant which may have had direct or indirect contact with suspect animals and their transportation vehicle/s (e.g. shared waiting period, common unloading docks). This includes all transportation vehicles having left the slaughter plant since the unloading of suspect animals;
  • the route and any other stops, and the present location of vehicle(s); and
  • time of arrival of suspects and the disposition of animals, products and plant waste (including inedible material) from that point.

9.3.3.4 Sampling

According to the disease specific standard operating procedures, hazard specific plan, and with guidance from Program Specialists, the harvesting of tissue specimens will begin. This will be the responsibility of the VIC, possibly with the help of the District Veterinarian according to the contingency plan. Either one may be asked to help with either the collection or the shipping. Samples obtained from live animals must be collected in a manner keeping in mind the welfare of the animal. In specific situations this might require that the animal showing lesions must be euthanised in order to collect the appropriate samples. The decision to euthanise or order the destruction should be taken in consultation with the FAD Program Specialist. Sample submission to the laboratory will be under the direction of the Area FAD specialist or in consultation with the Laboratory diagnostic co-ordinator. Packaging and shipping of samples will be performed by someone with a current Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) certification. Specimens from a suspected case of FAD must not be shipped without proper notification.

9.3.3.5 Cleaning and Disinfection

The operator should commence clean-up and disinfection measures as outlined in the contingency plan, (see section 9.2.4) under the supervision of the inspection staff who will rely on the advice of the Program Specialists. The activities will depend on the established level of risk (see sections 9.3.1.1 and 9.3.1.2) and the time of detection of the FAD.

9.3.3.6 Disposal

The normal routine for disposing of inedible and condemned material, including animal food, garbage, feathers, bedding, etc. may present a risk of spreading the disease and until the disease status is determined, the inspectors are to ensure that none of the above leaves the establishment unless the disposal is acceptable for the disease suspected.

As in the contingency plan, the operator is to verify whether the usual disposal methods are acceptable, whether a company providing disposal services would accept the material and be able to process or contain it in a manner that does not risk spread, and have alternatives which are acceptable for contaminated on infective material.

9.3.3.7 Record of Activities

Both the VIC and the operator should keep a record of all their activities, contacts, telephone calls, and decisions from start to finish of the situation. This is critical for any review and analysis of the response.

9.3.4 Awaiting Confirmation of Laboratory Diagnosis

The next critical span of time will come after the initial response and will be that period between the submission of specimens and confirmation of diagnosis. During this time frame, important activities such as tracing, segregation of products and by-products, cleaning and disinfection and movement control will continue.

The slaughter plant will resume normal activity once the Declaration of an Infected Place has been released. The Declaration of an Infected Place will be lifted after receiving negative results from NCFAD and/or advice from the Program Specialists or Manager. The decision to release the Declaration of an Infected Place will be based on the assessment of the risk associated with the slaughter plant that it is no longer identified as being a source of spread of the disease.

9.3.5 Confirmation of Diagnosis

A high risk determination or a confirmed diagnosis will mobilise the Animal Health Response Team (AHRT). The VIC will be expected to provide a written record of all actions they take and directions to this team about all establishment processes and procedures. Other directions concerning the activities of the Veterinarian in Charge and his staff during this period will come from the Incident Commander or the AHRT (See AHFP Chapter 6 - (Internal access only) for activities following High Risk submission.) Instructions regarding the resumption of normal operations will be received from the Incident Commander or the delegate.

9.3.6 The Role of the Abattoir in the Event an Outbreak Was Detected Somewhere Else

The abattoir may well be involved in various other aspects of the FAD emergency response such as being a traced premise receiving infected animals, depopulating animals within an area, testing animals, or in the storage of meat. Direction would come through operational channels after consultation with program staff.

9.4 Reportable and Immediately Notifiable Diseases

Reportable diseases are listed in the Reportable Diseases Regulations and are usually of significant importance to human or animal health or to the Canadian economy. Animal owners, veterinarians and laboratories are required to immediately report the presence of an animal that is contaminated or suspected of being contaminated with one of these diseases to a CFIA district veterinarian. Control or eradication measures will be applied immediately.

Immediately notifiable diseases are listed in the Health of Animals Regulations and are mainly diseases exotic to Canada for which there are no control or eradication programs; however, this category does include some rare indigenous diseases. Any laboratory that diagnoses one of these diseases must immediately notify the CFIA, and provide detailed information on the source/origin of the affected animal(s).

The CFIA can undertake control measures for such diseases when notified of their presence in Canada. A herd or flock of origin may be required to be certified as being free from these diseases in order to meet import requirements of trading partners.

Only laboratories are required to contact the CFIA regarding the suspicion or diagnosis of one of these diseases. Information must be forwarded by e-mail to the Animal Disease Surveillance Unit.

E-mail: notification@inspection.gc.ca
Fax: 1-450-768-0064 (attention: notification)

9.5 Guidelines for Dealing With Other Reportable Diseases in Registered Slaughter Establishments

The detection of any reportable disease must be reported to the appropriate Area Animal Health Program Specialist. Effective action can be taken by the Veterinarian in Charge for the following diseases while awaiting the arrival of assistance from the District Veterinarian and/or Area Animal Health Program Specialist. A suspicion of any of the following reportable diseases at the slaughterhouse should initiate action commensurate with the disease suspected as follows:

9.5.2 Anthrax

9.5.2.1 General

The presence of Anthrax in the slaughterhouse abattoir is cause for alarm because of the human health implications, the extreme resistance of the sporulated form of the etiological agent (Bacillus anthracis), and the virulence of the disease to livestock. Anthrax is an infectious febrile disease caused by Bacillus anthracis. In its most common form it is a septicaemia, characterized mainly by its rapidly fatal course. Remember that spores are formed within a few hours if the carcass is opened and Bacillus anthracis is exposed to air. If the carcass is not opened, the oxygen supply is insufficient for spore formation and the vegetative organisms are killed within a few days by the putrefactive process. Vegetative forms of the causative micro-organism are no more resistant than most other bacteria and are therefore much easier to destroy.

It is advised that the VIC consults with slaughter plant management, local public health authorities and the District Veterinarian in order to develop a contingency plan to deal with the potential occurrence of zoonotic diseases (e.g., Rabies, Anthrax etc.) at the facility.

9.5.2.2 Detection During Ante-mortem

In the event of a suspicion of Anthrax on ante-mortem inspection, the animal[s] must be held in isolation and the District Veterinarian notified immediately. The animal[s] will be held until released by an Animal Health veterinarian. In the event of a clinical diagnosis of Anthrax at ante-mortem inspection, the District Veterinarian will take or give direction for the collection of appropriate samples for confirmation in the CFIA's Centre of Expertise for Anthrax-Lethbridge Laboratory. A trace-back investigation will be initiated by the District Veterinarian, and pertinent information regarding movement(s), ownership, transportation, etc. may be requested.

The suspect carcass must not be eviscerated but condemned immediately and must be wrapped in a strong sheet of plastic, large enough to encase the whole carcass. The wrapped suspect carcass may be removed from the premises to a suitable place where it will be disposed of as directed in the Anthrax section of the MOP under the supervision of a CFIA inspector. Any movement of the suspect carcass from the slaughter establishment must meet TDG regulations and be performed by TDG certified person using appropriate documentation in consultation with the District Veterinarian. Again, precautionary measures must be taken to avoid distribution of the infective agent.

No animal in a lot in which Anthrax has been found on ante-mortem inspection shall be presented for slaughter until it has been determined by ante-mortem inspection and /or other ancillary tests that no other animal in the lot is infected. Each registered slaughtering establishment, because of size, method of operation, design of slaughtering facilities, speed of rail, etc., will have basic differences in operational procedures. Those control measures which apply in one plant may not apply in another, however, general principles of control must apply. Therefore, it will be necessary for each plant to have its own specific procedures if an animal suspected of having Anthrax is received at the plant and / or the carcass reaches the killing floor. These procedures may be reviewed and approved by the VIC in consultation with the District Veterinarian and the Area Animal Health Program specialist.

9.5.2.3 Detection During Slaughter

9.5.2.3.1 Ruminants (Cattle, Bison, Sheep, Goats) and Horses

  • In the event that Anthrax is suspected on the kill floor, all operations must cease. All parts of an affected carcass including the hide, horns, hooves, hair, viscera and contents, and blood must be condemned. All tissues from an infected carcass should, if they can be identified, be collected and placed in plastic bags. Blood may be handled through the usual blood cooking and drying process. The plastic bags containing the infected tissue shall be removed from the plant for appropriate disposal under the supervision of a CFIA inspector.
  • Any other carcass or parts that may have been contaminated with Anthrax material through possible contact with contaminated equipment must be condemned and disposed of under the strict supervision of an inspector.
  • That portion of the establishment that has been contaminated with Anthrax infected material, shall be cleaned and disinfected immediately with an approved disinfectant such as 5% solution of sodium hydroxide or commercial lye. A solution of sodium hypochlorite (bleach) containing approximately 0.5% (5,000 ppm) of available chlorine may be used. The solution shall be freshly prepared. Water at 82°C will destroy vegetative organisms. The VIC should consult the District Veterinarian for guidance and assistance as required.

9.5.2.3.2 Swine

The same procedures as for cattle should be followed. In addition the scalding tank, if contaminated, should be brought to a boil before being drained and disinfected following draining.

9.5.2.3.3 Pens and Areas of Possible Contamination

The pens and all possible areas of the stockyards and cattle cars or trucks that may have been contaminated shall be cleaned and disinfected under the CFIA supervision. The VIC should consult the District Veterinarian for guidance and assistance as required.

9.5.2.4 Human Contact

All persons who have accidentally handled Anthrax infected material shall immediately be subjected to a personal decontamination. A full shower should be taken, paying particular attention to head, arms and hands, washing thoroughly with liquid soap and hot water. It is necessary that these steps be taken immediately after discovery of exposure, before the vegetative Anthrax organisms have time to form spores. In the cleaning, a pick or other suitable appliance should be used to ensure the removal of all the contaminating material from under and around the fingernails. This process of cleaning is more effective when it is performed in repeated cycles of lathering and rinsing rather that in spending the same amount of time in scrubbing with a single lather. After the hands and arms have been thoroughly rinsed free of soap, they may be immersed for about one minute in a solution of organic iodine, Dettol, Lysol or other acceptable agents followed by a potable water rinse. A complete change of clothes should be made with the possibly contaminated garments being bagged for separate laundering. As a precautionary measure, all persons exposed to Anthrax infection should promptly report the development of any suspicious condition (sore or carbuncle) or respiratory symptoms, to a physician.

9.5.3 Bluetongue

Only non-US serotypes of Bluetongue remain reportable. US serotypes are immediately notifiable. The transmission of this disease requires insect vectors - biologically by Culicoides spp., and mechanically by the sheep ked (Melophagus ovinus). It is an infectious noncontagious disease, thus there is little that can be done at the slaughterhouse to prevent onward spread. Clinically affected carcasses should be condemned and exposed animals in the yards should be slaughtered in order to limit the contact of Culicoides or infected sheep keds to live animals. The virus is susceptible to a 3% solution of sodium hydroxide but special disinfection measures are not warranted.

9.5.4 Brucellosis

Brucellosis has been eradicated from Canada except for geographically restricted wildlife reservoirs in northern Canada. It is therefore unlikely that animals affected with brucellosis will be presented to an abattoir except for those animals licensed to slaughter as serological reactors or their contacts. Because of the serious consequences of human infection, precautions should be taken. Animals presented for slaughter as Reactors to a Brucellosis test must be documented and may require sampling using personal protective equipment. Preferred tissues for culture are those of the reticulo-endothelial system (i.e. head, mammary and genital lymph nodes and spleen), the late pregnant or early post parturient uterus (caruncle or dam portion of the placental cotyledon), and the udder. All samples should be cooled immediately after they are collected, and transported to the laboratory the same day. If same day delivery of chilled tissues is not possible, the tissues should be frozen and sent in a manner that ensures thawing will not occur.

9.5.5 Cysticercosis

The human health implication of bovine and porcine cysticercosis makes its detection in and elimination from meats essential. Ovine cysticercosis is not a human health risk. As with any reportable disease, you must report the occurrence.

9.5.5.1 Bovine and Ovine Cysticercosis

The larval form of the human tapeworm Taenia saginata is found in the connective tissue separating skeletal muscle fibre bundles and in the cardiac lymphatic spaces of the bovine. The cysts of Taenia ovis are similarly distributed in sheep and goats. Contrary to previously published reports, there are no sites of predilection for the cysts in a carcass, especially in lightly infected animals. Meat inspection procedures are designed, however, to find the cysts in areas in which they commonly occur and which can be examined with a minimum of carcass mutilation. For more information see Chapter 5, section on parasites.

9.5.5.2 Porcine Cysticercosis

Since auto-infestation of infested humans with cysts of T. solium in other than muscle tissues is possible, all swine carcasses with any evidence of Cysticercus cellulosae must be condemned. For more information see Chapter 5, section on parasites.

9.5.6 Pullorum Disease

Pullorum disease is an infectious poultry disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella pullorum. This disease occurs only rarely in Canada and mainly in chicks and turkey poults in small farm flocks. The etiologic agent, S. pullorum is susceptible to most disinfectants. While infected eggs are the primary vehicle for transmission, fomites may be involved and plant workers should disinfect equipment and rinse hands and arms in a disinfectant solution.

9.5.7 Fowl Typhoid

Fowl typhoid is an infectious poultry disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella gallinarum. Mechanical dissemination of the etiologic agent S. gallinarum is possible although egg transmission is the primary means of spread.

Therefore, a good disinfection routine for workers contacting infected birds is essential especially if they will be contacting live birds. Care should also be taken that wild birds do not have the opportunity to contact carcasses or offal from infected birds.

9.5.8 Rabies

A suspect rabies case will most likely present as a neurological case exhibiting abnormal behaviour which may include ataxia, vocalizing, aggression or unresponsiveness, etc. However, there are no specific pathognomonic signs specific to rabies, and other neurological causes must be considered, e.g., Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). Quick action at the slaughterhouse is necessary to limit human contact with suspect rabid animals. Typically, animals presenting with neurological signs are condemned at ante-mortem.

Contact of yard personnel with rabies suspect must be avoided. The VIC should contact the District Veterinarian for consultation and assistance regarding the case. All contact animals should be detained and not slaughtered until directed by the District Veterinarian. Warning signs should be applied to the "held pen". Names of those individuals who may have contacted the suspicious animals should be collected. The VIC is responsible for the CFIA staff, where as plant management is responsible for plant staff. Although a low risk, any person having concern regarding any contact with a suspect rabid animal is advised to consult a physician.

It is advised that the VIC consults with slaughter plant management, local public health authorities and the District Veterinarian in order develop a contingency plan to deal with the potential occurrence of zoonotic diseases (e.g., Rabies, Anthrax etc.) at the facility.

Rabies must be considered in any animal (ruminant, porcine and equine) presenting with neurological signs. Further consultation/investigation with the Animal Health District veterinarian will help determine the risk of rabies. In ruminant species, when rabies and TSE testing are both indicated, rabies testing will be tested first and if negative for rabies, the sample will be then tested for TSEs. The District Veterinarian should be consulted for guidance and possible assistance in the submission of a ruminant sample to be tested for rabies, and TSE when indicated. The Rabies Manual of Procedures, Module 3 (Internal only) should also be consulted. Currently, all rabies suspect carcass must remain on site until negative test results are available. For ruminants see also the section on Prions in Chapter 5 of the MOP.

9.5.9 Trichinosis

In the unlikely event that trichina are uncovered through trichinoscopic or muscle digestion examination at the abattoir, the infested carcass shall be put under detention and condemned after laboratory confirmation of the infestation. The Program Specialist or Manager must be informed of the origin of trichina-infested hogs. Any further action regarding investigation and depopulation of the herd of origin is carried out by the Terrestrial Animal Health Division. Hogs presented for slaughter from an infested herd must be held and laboratory-tested for trichina infestation. See Chapter 5, section on parasites for further information on Trichinella.

9.5.10 Tuberculosis

See also Chapter 5, Annex D. It is not necessary to report suspected cases of porcine tuberculosis to the Terrestrial Animal Health Division unless carcass condemnation is involved, nor is it necessary to report tuberculosis in poultry. In cases where swine carcasses are condemned for granulomatous lymphadenitis, typical lesions shall be sent for examination.

However, our meat inspection system plays a very important role in the eradication program for bovine tuberculosis. All granulomas or grossly similar lesions, namely single or multiple lesions possibly consistent with granulomas (tuberculosis-like lesions), affecting any of the thoracic tissues, especially lymph nodes, or found in any tissue elsewhere in the bovine carcass (including single mesenteric lesions) must be forwarded for laboratory analysis. It is imperative that all forms of identification associated with carcasses bearing these lesions be recorded to facilitate herd tracebacks. Even if a number of herds or feedlots need to be investigated, the effort is considered to be important. Specimens should be submitted in the tuberculosis specimen submission kits provided to inspectors at beef slaughter plants.

Herd tracebacks will be conducted by Animal Health on all histopathology-positive lesions. The inspection staff submitting such lesions will be informed of the results of the investigation.

9.5.11 Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), Scrapie, and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

These three diseases are all classed as TSE. TSEs are believed to be caused by a conformational change to the normal protein particles called prions. Animals affected by TSEs experience progressive degeneration of the nervous system as the normal prion protein is transformed to the abnormal isoform. Thus the diseases are marked by a long incubation period, and are inevitably fatal.

Cattle with BSE may display changes in temperament, such as nervousness or aggression, abnormal posture, incoordination and difficulty in rising, decreased milk production, or loss of body weight despite continued appetite. Given the lengthy incubation period, BSE would most likely be found in older dairy cattle.

Scrapie usually manifests in sheep between two and five years of age. Most of the symptoms involve the nervous system. Early on, animals may display a change in their behaviour, becoming either aggressive or apprehensive. Owners often notice that sheep with scrapie seem disoriented and do not remain with the flock when it is herded. Later on, infected animals may start grinding their teeth, nibbling with their lips, or biting at their feet and limbs. Affected animals often seem itchy, and will scratch against objects and rub their wool off. They may also develop an unusual "bunny hopping" or high-stepping gait. Affected animals often lose weight and may appear in poor condition. Animals with scrapie can appear normal when standing quietly, but when stimulated or startled they may begin to tremble or appear to be having a seizure.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a disease of cervids, both wild and domestic. Affected animals are poor doers, lose weight and go down.

All animals showing central nervous system signs require careful veterinary examination. TSEs should be considered among the rule-outs and appropriate samples taken (the obex from the brain stem). Samples for BSE and CWD must be forwarded to the lab with clear indication that the carcass is being held pending test results (unless condemned for other reasons). All carcasses and edible parts of carcasses must be detained pending the receipt of CWD or BSE lab results. Sampling an edible carcass for scrapie does not necessitate the holding of a carcass. Samples for scrapie, even from edible carcasses, can be held frozen and sent to CFIA labs in periodic batches (e.g. monthly) to reduce associated courier costs.

Carcasses found positive for CWD or Scrapie may be buried, incinerated or disposed of as SRM. Carcasses sampled for BSE and found positive must be buried or incinerated. (For further information see Chapter 17, Annex D as well as the section on Prions in Chapter 5 of the MOP).

9.6 Food Borne Disease Emergencies - Recalls

Plant management must have a recall plan as part of the HACCP system. Recalls are coordinated through the Office of Food Safety and Recall (OFSR) which was created to coordinate food emergency response with CFIA staff across Canada and external partners. Timely and effective response to food safety emergencies is the priority of the OFSR.

Information required by the OFSR includes:

  • a detailed description of the nature of the problem;
  • the name, brand, size, lot code(s) affected;
  • details of complaints received and any reported illnesses;
  • the distribution of the product - local or national;
  • when the product was distributed (specific dates);
  • label(s) of the product(s) which may be recalled;
  • the total quantity of product produced and distributed;
  • the name of the firm's contact with the CFIA; and
  • the name and telephone number(s) for the firm's after-hours contact.

The area recall coordinator is the initial contact for suspicions of food borne diseases and for recalls due to mislabelling or contamination. The OFSR may initiate contact with Health Canada who is responsible for performing a health risk assessment.

See also Chapter 3 of the MOP, Section 3.10, Recall Procedures, Distribution Records and Complaints.

9.7 Bio-terrorism or Tampering

The food chain is a possible target for a bio-terrorist attack. This could be by introduction of an animal or plant disease or by chemical, biological, physical or radiological contamination of food or water.

Upon suspicion of a bio-terrorist or other food tampering situation, staff must bring the situation to the immediate attention of program specialists, the Regional Veterinary Officer or the Inspection Manager, and/or the security officer. Final responsibility for handling of the suspicious product(s) or material(s) rests with police officials or those equipped and trained to deal with hazardous materials.

Operators of food establishments are encouraged to review their current procedures and controls in light of the potential for tampering or criminal or terrorist actions and make appropriate improvements.

There are seven areas that relate to the individual components of a food establishment operation that should be reviewed and implemented by plant management:

  • management of food security;
  • physical security;
  • employees;
  • computer systems;
  • raw materials;
  • packaging, operations; and
  • finished products.

9.7.1 Management of Food Security

This entails assigning responsibility for security to qualified individual(s), encouraging all staff to be alert to any signs of tampering with product or equipment, other unusual situations, or areas that may be vulnerable to tampering, and alerting identified management about any unusual findings. Conduct a review of company procedures and facilities, shipping and distribution systems to identify vulnerable areas and outline control measures for each of these.

Management should immediately investigate all information about suspicious activity, and should provide an appropriate level of supervision to all employees, including cleaning and maintenance staff, contract workers, data entry and computer support staff, and especially new employees.

9.7.2 Physical Facility

Visitors, truck drivers and service staff must be controlled and access to food handling and storage areas must be restricted.

The perimeter of the establishment should be controlled with fencing or other appropriate deterrent, and doors and windows must be secure.

All access to the establishment should be restricted to authorized personnel, and hazardous chemicals must be stored away from food handling areas and must be locked.

9.7.3 Employees

A system for screening employees, especially new employees, should be instituted. Management must know who is and who should be on premises, and where they should be located.

All new employees should be provided with food security training, and a system of positive identification and recognition is desirable.

Access should be limited so employees enter only those areas necessary for their job functions, personal items (e.g., lunch containers, purses) must not be brought into food handling areas, and management should watch for suspicious behaviour by employees or by outside workers.

9.7.4 Computer Systems

Restrict access to computer process control systems and critical data systems to those with appropriate clearance.

9.7.5 Raw Materials and Packaging

The operator must use only known, appropriately licensed or approved sources for all ingredients, compressed gas, packaging, and labels, and inspect all incoming materials, and must have the ability to trace back all input materials. These requirements are all part of the HACCP Prerequisite Program.

9.7.6 Operations

Ensure the security of access to the sources of water and air, use tamper evident connectors and valves, and arrange periodic inspections. Develop procedures to ensure the integrity and security of manufacturing equipment.

9.7.7 Finished Products

Keep track of finished products and investigate missing or extra stock or other irregularities. Develop procedures and anti-tampering measures that will ensure the security and integrity of products once they are produced and shipped to retail.

9.8 Generic Policy for the Movement of Poultry and Poultry Products Processed in a Federally Registered Establishment Within the Confines of an Identified Area: Consequence of an Outbreak of Notifiable Avian Influenza (NAI) as Defined by the World Organization for Animal Health (e.g., H5/H7)

9.8.1 Background

In an international poultry disease control context, NAI viruses are defined by the OIE, whose definitions have been adopted by the CFIA as follows:

NAI is an infection of poultry caused by any Influenza Type A virus of the H5 or H7 subtypes, or by any AI virus with an intravenous pathogenicity index (IVPI) greater than 1.2 or killing at least 75 percent of the inoculated chickens. NAI viruses can be divided into highly pathogenic notifiable avian influenza (HPNAI) viruses and low pathogenicity notifiable avian influenza (LPNAI) viruses.

HPNAI viruses have an IVPI in six-week-old chickens greater than 1.2 or, as an alternative, cause at least 75% mortality in four- to eight-week-old chickens infected intravenously. H5 and H7 viruses that do not have an IVPI greater than 1.2, or that cause less than 75% mortality in an intravenous lethality test, should be sequenced to determine whether multiple basic amino acids are present at the cleavage site of the HA. If the amino acid motif is similar to that observed for other tested HPNAI viruses, the isolate should be considered to be HPNAI.

LPNAI viruses are all Influenza Type A viruses of the H5 and H7 subtypes that are not HPNAI. In Canada, NAI includes both HPAI and LPAI subtypes, H5 and H7 and is reportable as per the Reportable Disease Regulations.

The minimum criteria for identifying NAI-infected flocks is detecting H5 or H7 subtypes, as determined by RRT-PCR, though the disease control activities related to the case definition may evolve in the course of an outbreak.

As a consequence of the diagnosis of NAI in any region of Canada, the disease control measures that will be implemented will impact the movement of poultry and poultry products produced in the affected province.

Various trading partners will impose restrictions on exports of Canadian poultry products and more specifically from any province in which a diagnosis of NAI has occurred.

Registered processing establishments within such province will be allowed to continue to operate according to an established protocol that meets Animal Health, Meat Hygiene and Egg Program requirements to segregate and control the movement of poultry and poultry products, as well as trading partners' requirements.

For information on emergency equipment and supplies required to be on hand at poultry abattoirs please refer to Annex B.

9.8.2 Diagnosis of HPAI Virus in Domestic Poultry

Please refer to NAI HSP Section 3 (Authorities and Principles of Control) and Section 4 (Procedures and Rationale for NAI Response) - (Internal access only) for detailed information.

  • An Infected Zone is established around the infected premises. The outer limit of the region will be a minimum of 3 km from the infected place. The maximum distance is based on density and proximity of other poultry operations and natural environmental features such as roads or rivers. All premises within that region will be quarantined and movement of all flocks and products within the 3 km region will be affected.
  • A Restricted Zone beyond the Infected Zone is established, that extends approximately 7 km around from the Infected Zone. The outer limit of this zone will be approximately 10 km from the infected premises. The exact distance will be determined by density and proximity of other poultry and natural environmental features such as roads, mountains, rivers, etc.
  • A Control Area (CA), established by the Minister, is a large, defined geographical area that encompasses any and all Infected and Restricted Zones surrounded by a Security Zone.
  • All commercial birds and products still on farm (including eggs) within 1 km of the infected premise will be ordered destroyed on-site. Surveillance will occur in all the zones. Samples of live birds will be submitted from those flocks to an approved laboratory for diagnostic testing. Commercial birds are defined as poultry raised under the Canadian supply manage system (quota) or raised for the purpose of selling their products or by-products for financial gain outside the quota system. Poultry raised on a premise with 300 or more domestic birds, even if there is no commercial activity, will be considered as commercial when it comes to disease control activities. Non-commercial poultry includes poultry either kept as pets, including show birds and rare breeds, and poultry raised only for the owner's own consumption or use.
  • Restrictions on the remaining flocks in the 3 km Infected Zone may be modified after obtaining a negative result to a statistically valid sampling from poultry on each premise, 21 days after the detection of the virus in the infected premises.
  • Live birds will not be allowed to move out of the CA while it is in effect.
  • Once negative testing is confirmed, the healthy birds and/or eggs from healthy birds (with supportive negative tests for NAI) from the remainder of the flocks in the 3 km zone will be allowed, under CFIA issued general permits for flocks in the Security Zone and specific permits for flocks with supportive negative tests in the Restricted Zone, to proceed to slaughter and/or egg grading stations and/or processed egg plants and/or hatcheries within the CA.
  • Healthy birds and/or eggs from healthy birds from within the CA (excluding the Infected Zone) will be allowed, under CFIA issued general permit for flocks in the Security Zone and specific permits for flocks with supportive negative tests in the Restricted Zone, to proceed to slaughter and/or egg grading stations and/or processed egg plants and/or hatcheries within the CA.
  • Live birds and/or eggs from outside the CA, will be allowed, under CFIA issued general permits, to move into the CA and proceed to slaughter and/or egg grading stations and/or processed egg plants and/or hatcheries within the CA and/or to a production barn. The birds assume the status of the Zone and are subjected to all testing requirements of the zone for further movement of birds/product.
  • Healthy live birds and/or egg products from healthy birds from flocks in the Restricted Zone require supportive negative testing and specific permits to be allowed to be transported to slaughter facilities within the Security Region. If approved, they will be considered safe for human consumption as per Health Canada guidelines.
  • Healthy live birds and/or eggs from healthy birds from flocks in the Security Zone will be processed and inspected within the Security Zone through normal procedures. If approved, they will be considered safe for human consumption as per Health Canada guidelines. A CFIA issued general permit is required to move the poultry products out of the CA.
  • General Permits are issued from CFIA Headquarters, and give overall permission to move specific products into, within and out of the CA and specific birds within the CA. For instance a general permit will be required for the movement of slaughter birds within the Security Zone to a slaughter plant within the Security Zone. Also a general permit will be issued to allow poultry products produced within the Security Zone to be shipped to registered establishments and retail outside of the CA. The general permit does not accompany each shipment but should be on file in the producing and/or storage registered establishment within the CA.
  • Export of poultry meat products and/or eggs from birds originating from a CA (including fully cooked and/or pasteurized eggs) or processed in the CA is at the commercial risk of the exporter.
  • Meat products from healthy birds and/or eggs from birds originating from a CA can be shipped and allowed entry into other registered abattoirs or processing establishments within Canada (under CFIA general permits) provided the identity and origin of fresh/frozen poultry product and/or eggs is maintained throughout the process and the product is segregated to ensure that poultry products originating from this plant meet the requirements of importing countries. See export market access below at 9.8.4.
  • Meat products processed prior to the identification of HPNAI from birds originating from flocks within the potential CA either in an abattoir or within a storage can be shipped and allowed entry into other registered abattoirs or processing establishments (under CFIA general permits) provided the identity and origin of fresh/frozen poultry product and/or eggs is maintained and there is segregation of this product (i.e. can be distinguished from other Canadian products) throughout the process to ensure that poultry products originating from these products meet the requirements of importing countries. (See export market access and marking requirements in sections 9.8.4 and 9.8.5 and an example of the identification mark in Annex A.)

Please refer to Appendix M of the Notifiable Avian Influenza Hazard Specific Plan - (Internal access only) for the detailed requirements for the movement of poultry and poultry products within, out of, and in-transit through the CA during a NAI outbreak.

9.8.3 Diagnosis of Low Pathogenicity H5/H7 Avian Influenza Virus in Domestic Poultry

Please refer to NAI HSP Section 3 (Authorities and Principles of Control) and Section 4 (Procedures and Rationale for NAI Response) - (Internal access only) for detailed information.

  • Infected premises will be placed under quarantine and depopulated on-site.
  • An Infected Region may be or may not be established around infected premises depending on the epidemiological circumstances of the Avian Influenza outbreak. The size of the area considered potentially infected will vary from 1 km to 3 km, and will be determined by Animal Health. All commercial poultry premises within the area identified by Animal Health will be placed under quarantine. All premises linked epidemiologically to an infected premise will also be placed under quarantine.
  • There would not be a CA declared by the Minister unless there is evidence that the disease infection is wide spread.
  • Healthy birds and/or eggs (with supportive negative tests) within the Infected Region will be allowed, under CFIA licenses, to proceed to processing plants, egg grading stations, processed egg plants or hatcheries inside or outside the Infected Region.

Please refer to Appendix M of the Notifiable Avian Influenza Hazard Specific Plan - (Internal access only) for the detailed requirements for the movement of poultry and poultry products within, out of, and in transit through the CA during a NAI outbreak.

9.8.4 Export Market Access

The federally registered establishments wishing to export must meet export requirements based on the prevailing import requirements set by the importing countries. In addition to previous statements in section 9.8 see the items below:

  • Importing countries may change their requirements at any time. It is the responsibility of the exporter to ensure the importing country will accept the product. If a country has officially imposed restrictions, no export will be allowed even at commercial risk. Shipments during the initial days of the outbreak may be in jeopardy if the country subsequently imposes restrictions. Unless otherwise specified product produced before the diagnosis of highly pathogenic AI and or H5/H7 is no longer eligible for export.
  • If an exporting establishment buys fresh/frozen poultry products originating from a control (HP) or quarantined premises (LP) these products must be identifiable at all times (i.e. can be distinguished from other Canadian products, see marking requirements below and example in Annex A) to assure traceability so that importing countries' requirements can be met where restrictions apply. In order to meet conditions to permit export certification of poultry products originating only from outside an identified region/area, the operator of the manufacturing establishment must maintain a list of all incoming products (including the origin and slaughter date/ processing of the poultry products, and the origin and production dates of the eggs or processed egg). They must also have written and implemented (as required) segregation procedures for poultry products originating from a CA (HP) or quarantined premises (LP) to the satisfaction of the CFIA VIC (or signing officer) and/or IIC. The establishment segregation program shall detail how incoming birds or implicated poultry products from the implicated area or quarantined farms will be identified and segregated, how segregation will be achieved and maintained through the slaughter, chilling, cutting, packaging, storage, and shipping process steps. The written program shall also detail who will be responsible to monitor this process as it occurs to ensure it is followed and where monitoring will be recorded in an auditable fashion. Deviation procedures are to be developed in the written program and in the event product segregation is not achieved this must be documented. In cases where protocols may lead to discussions of effectiveness of segregation, validation evidence showing complete segregation shall be submitted to the VIC/IIC so that they may make informed decisions on the acceptability of the segregation program. A list of quarantined or implicated premises will be provided confidentially to the VICs of federal slaughter establishments that may slaughter implicated birds to verify that the birds did move under license and that importing countries' requirements are met. The traceability mechanism must be documented by the operator and be auditable. The segregation program must be applicable to the restrictions of each country to which the establishment exports (either directly or indirectly).
  • If a poultry product originating from a CA (HP) or quarantined premise (LP) is processed in a registered processing establishment outside these regions, the origin of the product has to be maintained. Also, it must be appropriately labelled so that the product can be distinguished from other Canadian product (see the sample marking requirement below and example in Annex A)). If this product is shipped to another registered establishment for further processing, the origin of the product has to be maintained to assure traceability and it must be appropriately labelled so that the product can be distinguished from other Canadian product (see marking requirement below and example in Annex A). Raw (non fully cooked) finished products must be identified and stored in a manner to enable poultry products that are from a CA or quarantined premise to be easily distinguished from other Canadian product (see the sample marking requirement below (9.8.5) and example in Annex A).
  • Even after importing countries have lifted their ban on Canada or on an identified Canadian region, the aforementioned marking and traceability requirements will continue to apply to all applicable raw poultry products produced during the period the implicated virus may have been active up until the official request for declaration of freedom of AI to the OIE.
  • Enhanced export oversight will be provided by the CFIA during the period of time that marking and control of implicated product are in place. CFIA inspectors will provide direct oversight of every export load assembly process in establishments that handle or store implicated product.
  • Note regarding trans-docking: federal products moving into or across a non-federally registered dock or movements not under CFIA seal such as a rail car or non sealed truck will not be eligible for export to countries with that restriction if the load moves into or through an area of Canada that is subject to marking requirements.
  • Canada is considered free of a disease once OIE requirements have been met.

9.8.5 Marking Requirements

  • To facilitate the work of all parties involved, an identification mark has been agreed upon to identify poultry products from a CA or quarantined premises. The identification mark will be applied to raw (non fully cooked) poultry products (see sample in Annex A) and shall appear on the shipping container, in the case of bulk products, or on the main panel of the shipping container in the case of packaged products. The mark shall be applied upon the diagnosis of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza to all poultry products produced within the potential CA or on poultry products from the identified area in the case of the diagnosis of low pathogenic Avian Influenza. Marking shall apply to raw poultry product produced during the period 21 days prior to the determined date of infection of the initial premise until 90 days after cleaning and disinfection procedures have been completed on the last infected premise assuming surveillance monitoring of the poultry industry for AI was also completed.
  • Marking does not apply to poultry product shipped directly out of the federal establishment system into the domestic retail stream. Implicated product located in federal cold storage is subject to segregation and inventory control procedures, but does not require marking unless it is moved to another federal establishment. The size of the mark should be of at least 5 cm (sides of the triangle) and a two letter code identifying the CA shall be at least 2.5 cm tall and appear within the triangle. Stamps or permanently affixed stickers are to be supplied and used by registered cold storages and producing establishments. Operators of establishments where poultry products from a CA or identified area are processed or stored, are responsible for developing marking procedures and using the aforementioned identification mark, to the satisfaction of the CFIA, to ensure that all meat products derived from poultry products from a CA (HP) or identified area (LP) are identified as required.
  • As a control measure at a receiving establishment or registered storage, written confirmation from the operator of the supplying establishment or registered storage, endorsed by the resident CFIA inspector to the effect that the marking is conducted in a satisfactory manner, should be retained on file and made available on request. Meat product packaged in store level packaging for retail sale or packaged for the hotels, restaurants and institutions (HRI) trade on the Canadian market do not require the marking described above. Master cartons containing retail or HRI packaged products must be marked.
  • Product segregation and inventory tracking requirements apply to implicated product in federal storage.
  • Registered establishments within the identified area (CA or a province) in case of diagnosis of high pathogenic or low pathogenic Avian influenza will apply the mark to all poultry products as described above until 90 days have passed after cleaning and disinfection and recovery of the free status as per OIE guidelines.

After the recovery of the free status as per OIE guidelines, if the importing countries have not lifted the restrictions originating from the previous diagnosis of Avian Influenza in Canada; above mentioned registered establishment from previously identified area(s) must develop alternate control programs for segregation and tracking of the poultry products or continue with the existing marking requirements. These alternate control programs shall be approved by the VIC/IIC of the establishment after consultation with the Area Export Specialist. Similar control programs must be developed and implemented at the receiving establishments receiving poultry products as well. The VIC/IIC of the shipping establishment need to confirm the implementation of an alternate control program at the receiving establishment before product is shipped.

The export verification system shall ensure that poultry products produced in these establishments will not be inadvertently exported (directly or indirectly) to the countries with continued restrictions originating from previous diagnosis of Avian Influenza in Canada.

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