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Specified Risk Material - Requirements for Slaughtering Cattle and Processing Beef

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

What are SRM?

SRM are defined as:

Note: Permit Requirements

Carcasses of condemned cattle and cattle deadstock, of any age, containing SRM must be treated as SRM. Any inedible material that is mixed with SRM, such as floor waste or recovered solids from waste water, must also be treated as SRM.

Requirements for Federally Registered Abattoirs and Red Meat Processors

Removing SRM

Under existing legislation, SRM removal from all cattle slaughtered for human consumption has been required since 2003. This requirement is not changing.

Collecting, Identifying and Containing SRM

All SRM must be collected in a designated section of the inedible products area.

All SRM must be stained as follows:

Stained SRM must be placed in a dedicated container that is clearly marked as "SRM".

Transportation of SRM

SRM, including carcasses containing SRM, may only be transported from an abattoir or processing establishment by a person or company possessing a CFIA permit. All recipients of SRM, for any purpose, must also possess a CFIA permit.

Recording SRM

Abattoirs and processing establishments must keep daily records that include:

These records must be retained for 10 years.

Requirements for Non-federally Registered Abattoirs and Red Meat Processors

Removing SRM

Under existing legislation, SRM must be removed from all cattle slaughtered for human consumption.

The remaining requirements vary depending on whether or not SRM is being moved from the premises for destruction or containment purposes.

Offsite SRM destruction or containment

The following requirements apply if SRM or carcasses considered SRM are being moved from an abattoir to any offsite location, including rendering plants, land fills or  incinerators.  

Collecting, Identifying and Containing SRM

All SRM must be stained as follows:

Stained SRM must be placed in a dedicated container that is clearly marked as "specified risk material."

If SRM is not segregated from other inedible materials, all inedible materials mixed with SRM, must be dyed and collected in a dedicated container that is clearly marked as "specified risk material."

Recording SRM

Establishments must keep daily records that include:

These records must be retained for 10 years.

Movement of SRM

SRM, including carcasses containing SRM, being moved from an abattoir or processing establishment may only be transported by a person or company possessing the required CFIA permit.

Destruction or Permanent Containment of SRM

SRM  being moved offsite for any reason may only be sent to a person or company possessing the required CFIA permit.

Onsite SRM destruction or containment

The following requirements only apply if SRM or carcasses considered SRM and all inedible material from all animal species are being disposed of on the premises.

Collecting, Identifying and Containing SRM

No requirement

Recording SRM

Establishments must keep daily records that include:

These records must be retained for 10 years.

Movement of SRM

All inedible materials from all species-including SRM, carcasses considered SRM and composted SRM-must permanently remain on the establishment's premises.

Destruction or Permanent Containment of SRM

All inedible material from all species, including SRM and carcasses considered SRM, must be permanently contained on the premises of the establishment.

Containment options, such as burial, must comply with provincial and municipal standards and requirements.

Where allowed by provincial and municipal requirements, inedible materials may be composted to reduce waste volume. However, no composted material may leave the premises without a CFIA permit to transport SRM.

Requirements for Moving Edible Carcasses for Further Processing

In certain circumstances, a partial or whole cattle carcass may be moved to a separate location for further processing. During this process, some SRM may remain in the carcass until processing is completed. The following requirements address this specific situation.

Collecting, Identifying, Containing and Recording Removed SRM from Edible Carcasses

The requirements for SRM removed from edible carcasses are the same as those for non-federally registered abattoirs and processors.

Identifying SRM contained in edible carcasses

Animals younger than 30 months of age

If the distal ileum or entire intestinal tract has been removed, the carcass or partial carcass no longer contains SRM and can move without staining or a permit.

Animals older than 30 months of age

The vertebral column of carcass sides and quarters must be stained with edible ink. For whole carcasses, a stripe of ink must be placed down the spine, from neck to tail.

Movement of Edible Carcasses Containing SRM

Anyone moving an edible carcass or partial carcass containing SRM must first obtain a CFIA permit. The CFIA will review permits on a case-by-case basis to ensure that adequate steps are taken to contain SRM during transportation. The processing location receiving the carcasses or partial carcasses containing SRM must have a CFIA permit.

Destruction or Permanent Containment of SRM

The requirements for SRM removed from edible carcasses at the processing location are the same as those listed for non-federally registered abattoirs and processors.

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