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What we heard report – Canada Gazette Part I consultation on the proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations – Hatcheries and Supply Flocks

Introduction

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) proposed Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) – Hatcheries and Supply Flocks are part of a multi-year initiative to respond to industry changes.

The proposed amendments would repeal the Hatchery Regulations and the Hatchery Exclusion Regulations and combine all requirements into the HAR along with HAR's section 79 and Schedule VI – Serological Test Schedule for Primary Breeding Flocks.

The proposed regulatory changes will target hatcheries that produce products that ultimately end up in the human food chain (meat, table eggs, and balut). They will also expand the scope of disease testing requirements to include zoonotic Salmonella, and have the flexibility to add other diseases if a situation arises that requires such action.

Furthermore, the proposed regulations will use the following modern regulatory tools:

This report summarizes the feedback received during the 6.5 month comment period (March 14 to September 30, 2020) that followed the pre-publication of the proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations – Hatcheries and Supply Flocks in Canada Gazette, Part I (CG I). Respondents' views don't reflect those of the CFIA, or of the Government of Canada.

Consultation overview

Who we heard from

The CFIA received 72 submissions outlining questions and proposed adjustments to the regulatory text during the CG I comment period. The responses arrived via:

The submissions come from:

What we heard

Below is a high-level summary of the comments. Overall, the proposed amendments and their underlying principles received strong support from respondents, which included:

Elements well supported

Elements not well supported

Elements that require clarification or adjustment to the regulatory text

There were 4 areas of the proposed regulations that received multiple comments:

  1. In order to move from prescriptive regulations to outcome-based regulations, the concept of PCP used in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations was introduced into the proposed regulatory amendments. This approach enables each producer to identify the unique risks that threaten their operation and to devise mitigation measures that may also be unique to their operation to address each of these risks. The proposed regulations require that all hatcheries practice safe sourcing of live animals or eggs by obtaining them from supply flocks that also have a PCP. Questions were received about how the hatchery operators were to ensure the health status of the supply flocks of their animals / eggs, especially when they were importing them.
  2. The proposed regulations incorporate by reference the NFACC Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens, and Turkeys. The proposed regulations cover hatcheries of all species of birds hatched for food consumption like chickens, turkeys, waterfowl, and game birds. The comments stated that, while incorporation of this code into the regulations was supported in general, some groups did not think that it was appropriate for the code to be applied to species other than chickens and turkeys, which were the target commodities in the code and whose industry groups participated in the development of this specific code. The organization that oversees the development of the code – the NFACC - shared this concern, although their position towards incorporating this document in the regulations was neutral (as opposed to active support as mentioned in the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement). 1 province also stated concerns with the regulations referencing welfare standards on farms, since these were already enforced through provincial regulations.
  3. Several comments pertained to SE. These included why other Salmonella serotypes (for example Salmonella Typhimurium) that can cause human illness were not included in the CFIA's Canadian Hatchery and Supply Flock Testing Standard. Concern was also expressed over any restrictions that would come into play with the hatchery operator continuing to source eggs from a known SE-positive supply flock.
  4. Multiple comments were received about a new technology that enables broiler barns to receive from hatcheries partially incubated eggs and complete the hatching in the barn. Respondents were unanimous in their request to redefine the activities required of a hatchery operator in the proposed amendments, so that broiler barns using this technology would not be regulated as hatcheries.

Individual concerns that will be researched prior to finalizing the wording of the regulatory amendment

Next steps

The CFIA thanks everyone who participated in the consultation process. We'll consider all input as we work to update the Health of Animals Regulations – Hatcheries and Supply Flocks. The CFIA anticipates publishing the final amendments in the Canada Gazette, Part II in the fall of 2021.

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