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Operational procedure: Procedure for suspending and lifting the suspension of an authorization to conduct a post-mortem program

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements are being phased in over the following 12 to 30 months. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

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1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspection staff with guidance on the procedures for suspending a post-mortem program pursuant to section 161 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) as well as the procedure for lifting the suspension in accordance with section 164 of the SFCR.

This document is intended to be used in conjunction with other guidance documents as referenced in Section 3.0.

2.0 Authorities

3.0 Reference documents

4.0 Definitions

Unless specified below, definitions are located in:

Post-Mortem Program(s)
In this document Post-Mortem Program(s) is used when a statement applies to both Post-Mortem Examination Program and Post-Mortem Defect Management Program together.

5.0 Acronyms

Acronyms are spelled out the first time they are used in this document and are consolidated in the Food business line acronyms list.

6.0 Operational Guideline

Section 161 of the SFCR gives the Minister the authority to suspend an authorization to conduct a Post-Mortem Program. The Minister delegates this authority to a position title (Delegated Authority (DA)). Refer to CFIA Letters of Delegation and Designation to determine the DA for SFCR 161.

6.1 Inspection report

Pursuant to subsection 162 (1)(a) of the SFCR, before the DA may suspend an authorization to conduct a Post-Mortem Program, the licence holder must have been provided with an inspection report setting out the non-compliance that gives the grounds to suspend the authorization and must have been given time to correct the non-compliance in order to avoid the suspension. This inspection report will be in the form of an Inspection Report – Corrective Action Request (IR-CAR).

When a suspension of the authorisation to conduct a Post-Mortem Program is initiated immediately after inspection due to the Minister being of the opinion that a risk of injury to human health may result (SFCR 161(c) and 163), the licence holder must be notified by issuing an IR-CAR. The IR-CAR must set out the grounds for the suspension which will include the non-compliance and information related to the risk of injury to human health. In this case, the licence holder is not given a period within which corrective action must be taken to avoid the suspension of the authorization. Control actions to mitigate any risk associated with implicated products may be taken simultaneously.

6.2 Follow-up inspection

The CFIA performs follow-up inspection activities after the due date for implementation of corrective actions in response to the IR-CAR. Table 1 lists the possible scenarios and the recommended action:

Table 1: Recommended actions for follow-up to an IR-CAR
(Also refer to Operational Guidance – Compliance Verification System)
Observations Recommended action
Corrective actions address the non-compliance identified in the IR-CAR, no new non-compliance is observed Close the IR-CAR
Corrective actions address the non-compliance identified in the IR-CAR, new non-compliance, unrelated to the IR-CAR, is also observed Close the IR-CAR, issue a new IR-CAR for the new non-compliance
Corrective actions do not address the non-compliance identified in the IR-CAR IR-CAR was issued for non-compliance to requirements that apply to Post-Mortem Program only Consider suspension of Post-Mortem Program
Corrective actions do not address the non-compliance identified in the IR-CAR IR-CAR issued for non-compliance to requirements that apply to both Post-Mortem Program and other programs / areas. Consider suspension of licence

As a general rule, the CFIA should consider suspending the authorization of the Post-Mortem Program where the non-compliance is related to a provision of the SFCA or SFCR that is linked to the Post-Mortem Program (i.e. regulatory, Incorporation by Reference (IBR) or Preventive Control Plan (PCP) (training, lighting, equipment etc.) requirement for Post-Mortem Programs). When the non-compliance is related to a provision of the SFCA or SFCR that are not linked to Post-Mortem Program or is linked to both Post-Mortem Program and other programs or areas of the establishment, then the CFIA should consider suspending the licence. For example, if the licence holder is unable to comply with the lighting requirement related to the Post-Mortem Program stations as well as other areas of the establishment, suspension of licence should be considered. If the licence holder is unable to comply with lighting requirements for Post-Mortem Program stations only, then suspension of Post-Mortem Program should be considered.

Once the CFIA determines that the licence holder has failed to implement corrective actions to meet the requirements of the Post-Mortem Program, then the CFIA will also review all relevant facts and consider all available enforcement options prior to initiating a recommendation to the DA to suspend the authorization to conduct a post-mortem program. Refer to the Operational guideline – Food regulatory response guidelines for additional guidance. Determine if a letter of non-compliance issued to the licence holder or a meeting with the licence holder could be effective means to obtain compliance. These will be listed on the recommendation form in the next section.

6.3 Prepare recommendation to suspend the authorization to conduct Post-Mortem Program

If suspension of the authorization to conduct a Post-Mortem Program is the enforcement option that will be pursued then:

  1. Complete a "Recommendation for a Post-Mortem Program" Form (refer to Appendix 1). Include all information required on the form.
    Table 2: Guide for selecting the section of SFCR contravened
    Non-compliance SFCR section
    All non-compliances with Post-Mortem Program requirements except for b and c below 161(a)
    Non-compliance with SFCR 149(2), 149(3), 150(1), 150(2) 161(b)
    Risk of injury to human health 161(c)
  2. Check off the recommendation to suspend a Post-Mortem Examination Program or to suspend a Post-Mortem Defect management Program

Submit the form and all supporting documents and information to your Veterinarian with Supervisory Authority for review and approval.

6.4 Review and approval of recommendation to suspend an authorization to conduct a Post-Mortem Program

The Veterinarian with Supervisory Authority reviews the case and verifies that the grounds for suspension of the authorization to conduct a Post-Mortem Program have been met and that the recommendation is consistent with the Operational guideline – Food regulatory response guidelines. The Veterinarian with Supervisory Authority signs the form and submits the package to the Inspection Manager (IM) for review and approval.

The IM also follows the same process as the supervisor. In addition, the IM consults with the Regional Veterinary Officer (RVO). After consulting with the RVO, the IM submits the package to the DA for final approval.

The DA will again follow the same process as the supervisor and the IM. Once the DA has made a final decision, the DA will complete the form, sign it and return it to the IM. The IM will communicate this decision to all the required CFIA personnel, including the inspector(s) involved in the case.

At any point during the process, the supervisor, the IM or DA may consult with the Operational Guidance and Expertise (OGE) Division to confirm whether grounds for suspension of authorization to conduct Post-Mortem Program exist or may consult with various groups, for example, Management Oversight Body, File Triage Committee, or Management Review Team that are in place in the area / region to facilitate consistency in the enforcement response.

6.5 Written Notice

If the DA decides to suspend the licence holder’s authorization to conduct a Post-Mortem Program, use the appropriate template in Appendix 1 to draft the written notice of suspension.

The Region / Area may assign the inspector who made the recommendation to suspend the authorization or personnel other than the inspector to draft this written notice. Once completed, the draft notice is sent to the DA for signature. The DA signs it if the information is satisfactory to the DA.

6.6 Notify the licence holder

Mail the original notice signed by the DA to the licence holder by registered mail or courier or hand deliver to the regulated party. If delivered by registered mail or courier, follow up with the licence holder to ensure they received the notice and understand it.

Details surrounding when the notice was sent, delivered and received should be recorded and included in the file for future reference.

6.7 During suspension of authorization to conduct Post-Mortem Program

6.7.1 If the licence holder continues to conduct Post-Mortem Program while it is suspended, the inspector may consider initiating the procedure for suspension of licence (refer to the Operational Procedure - Procedure for suspending and reinstating a food licence). In addition, the inspector should consult the Standard Regulatory Response Process (SRRP) in order to determine if the file should be referred to Area Enforcement and Investigation Services (EIS) for evaluation and possible investigation. Note: the procedure for suspending a licence starts with issuing another written report (IR-CAR).

6.7.2 While authorization to conduct Post-Mortem Program is suspended, slaughter may continue under traditional post mortem inspection. Once the licence holder informs CFIA of intention to operate under traditional inspection, CFIA will provide inspectors trained in conducting traditional post-mortem inspection as soon as possible for the hours in the approved Work Shift Document (WSD). If additional shifts are required, the regulated party will submit an amendment to the WSD. Providing traditional post-mortem inspection services and CFIA acceptance of additional shift(s) will be subject to availability of CFIA staff trained in traditional post-mortem inspection, availability of inspection stations that meet ergonomic standards and updated licence holder PCP and associated training.

6.8 Lifting the Suspension of an Authorization to conduct a Post-Mortem Program

Suspension of authorization to conduct a Post-Mortem Program remains in effect until the DA determines that corrective actions have been taken. To help inform the DA, the inspector assesses the regulated party's response to the suspension based on the guidance in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Determining next steps following suspension of a Post-Mortem Program
Observations Recommended action
Corrective action not taken Suspension of Post-Mortem Program continues
Corrective action taken Lift suspension of Post-Mortem Program
Corrective action not effective
  • If determined during suspension, suspension of Post-Mortem Program continues
  • If found after lifting suspension, issue another IR-CAR

The processes of recommending, review of recommendation, DA approval, licence holder notification and file maintenance during lifting suspension of authorization to conduct a Post-Mortem Program will be the same as in sections 6.3 to 6.6 above with the following exceptions:

6.9 File maintenance

Maintain copies of the signed notices and forms in file at a location selected by the DA for ten years.

The DA office or delegate will enter the details of the enforcement action in the relevant data capture system (to be determined).

7.0 Appendices

Appendix 1 – Form and notice templates (internal access only - RDIMS 11405010)

  1. "Recommendation for a Post-Mortem Program" Form
  2. "Notice of Suspension of the authorization to conduct (SELECT ONE: Post-Mortem Examination Program or Post-Mortem Defect Management Program) – Section 161 SFCR" template
  3. "Notice of Suspension of the authorization to conduct (SELECT ONE: Post-Mortem Examination Program or Post-Mortem Defect Management Program) Due to Risk of Injury to Human Health – Section 161 SFCR" template
  4. "Notice that Suspension of the Authorization to conduct a Post-Mortem Program is Lifted" template

For general inquiries related to this Operational Guidance Document, please follow established communication channels, including submitting an electronic Request for Action Form (e-RAF).

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