Chapter 9 - Emergency Situations
9.2 Contingency Planning

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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.

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