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Dressing procedures and preparation of edible parts

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements may apply in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

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Introduction

A complete preventive control plan will include control programs that demonstrate how all the outcomes in this document will be met. Prior to implementation, these control programs, and any amendments to these, should be shared with CFIA for their examination.

This document describes procedures to meet the requirements of section 145 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) as well as dressing procedures that are considered best practices to minimize contamination of the final meat product. Elements of the Standards to identify a meat product as edible must also be met.

Dressing procedures for red meat species

Principles

No dressing procedure shall begin if there is any potential return to or signs of, a return to consciousness.

Carcasses should be dressed after being suspended by the hind legs. Dressing on a bed system is not recommended considering that there are great challenges to overcome in order to meet the outcomes below.

Procedures, including sticking and bleeding, are conducted in a hygienic manner with measures to avoid contamination, including, but not limited to:

Zero tolerance for contamination requires that any fecal, ingesta or milk contamination that occurs during dressing be marked for removal and subsequently removed, by trimming, steam vacuuming etc, as applicable, prior to the final carcass wash. Please consult Controls on Contamination for further details on meeting this outcome.

Equipment should be cleaned and sanitized if it comes into contact with contamination (or parts that by nature can be considered contaminated/inedible), pathological defects or any biological, chemical or physical hazards. Particular care in this matter should be taken for the following:

Dedicated equipment/tools may be necessary (e.g. boots and apron for workers on moving table top, dedicated tools for contact with SRM). Cleaning and sanitizing protocols should also reflect the microbial risk associated with organic build up.

Once the carcass has been approved, any residual bone dust and blood must be removed prior to refrigeration, a final inside and outside carcass wash being the recommended means to achieve this.

Specific dressing procedures for red meat species

Full dressing

Bovine and cervid dressing
Ovine and caprine dressing
Equine dressing
Dressing of ostrich, rheas, emus
Dressing of swine: hide-off
Dressing of swine: hide-on

Partial dressing

Partial dressing must be approved by CFIA. It is always subject to the feasibility of conducting the post-mortem evaluation as intended, according to the Post-mortem evaluation procedures document. Accordingly some partial dressing procedures may not be allowed, eg. hide-on for veal.

Because of special nature of partial dressing, added scrutiny is required to ensure that the outcomes described in the introduction above are met.

Procedures in this section describe the best practices that have been recognised by CFIA, but do not preclude any routine procedures that are otherwise described in the full dressing section above.

BBQ hogs (market hogs or younger)
Hide-on hair-off goats
Hide-on hair-on in ovine and caprine

Dressing procedures for poultry and rabbits

Principles

No dressing procedure shall begin if there is any potential or signs of a return to consciousness. The stick wound or bleeding area surface must be removed.

Carcass contamination from dirty hands, knives, hair and pelts during pelt removal must be avoided. Procedures, including sticking and bleeding, are conducted in a hygienic manner with measures to avoid contamination, including, but not limited to,

Zero tolerance for contamination requires that no fecal contamination be found prior to the final carcass wash. This is possible by ensuring proper adjustment of the evisceration equipment and proper detection of contamination on-line. Accidental contamination may also be removed by implementing procedures described in the Off-line and On-line Reprocessing and Reconditioning Procedures document.

Equipment should be cleaned and sanitized if it comes into contact with contamination (or parts that by nature can be considered contaminated/inedible), pathological defect or any biological, chemical or physical hazard.

Final carcass wash, inside and outside, is to be used to clean the carcass and improve microbiological quality prior to refrigeration.

To ensure your PCP is complete, please also consult Additional poultry and rabbit dressing, evisceration floor procedures.

Specific dressing procedures for poultry and rabbits

Full dressing for poultry

Partial dressing for poultry - head and feet-on poultry carcasses

Full dressing for rabbits

Partial dressing for rabbits - head-on rabbit carcasses

Preparation of edible parts

The following describes how parts need to be prepared in order to identify them as edible. They must be free from pathological lesions (lesions–parasites, tumours, abscesses…) and contamination. They must only come from approved carcasses; parts that are collected in a bulk container will all be condemned when any of the associated carcasses is condemned.

The practices below provide interpretation of requirements described in subsection 125(2) of the SFCR, as well as the best practices to provide a safe, edible meat product. Alternate practices (including harvesting of parts not mentioned within) will need to be demonstrated as meeting the outcome of harvesting a safe food product, including as necessary, scientific risk assessments (e.g. harvesting of equine kidneys).

A complete preventive control plan will include control programs that demonstrate how all the applicable outcomes in this section will be met.

  1. Hearts – all species are eligible.
    The pericardium will be removed.
    The following criteria apply to all species except rabbits and bird;
    • The heart will be cut open or inverted to ensure all blood clots are removed.
    • All of the aorta and other major blood vessels are removed, leaving at most the 2 cm from their origin on the external surface of the heart.
    • The os cordis, if applicable, is removed.
    After washing, hearts will be drained and refrigerated.
  2. Liver – all species are eligible, except equine and wild game animal (because of heavy metal content, e.g. Cadmium)
    • The gall bladder is removed without release of bile on edible product, before washing and chilling (it may be harvested separately).
    • For ruminants, the hepatic ducts are incised longitudinally to ensure absence of parasites (flukes).
    • Any liver with major pathological defects is to be rejected (parasites, tumors, abscesses). Livers with minor scar lesions (i.e. milk spots, parasitic scar lesions) need not be rejected if the product can be deemed/rendered acceptable to the consumer.
  3. Gizzard – all bird species are eligible, as applicable
    • Gizzard will be separated from viscera, opened and the contents and lining removed, before washing and chilling. Contaminated fat on the outside surface of gizzards shall be removed.
  4. Urinary bladder – all species are eligible, as applicable
    Any bladder harvested for edible purposes must be:
    • Emptied
    • Rinsed until visibly clean

      Note: as per 125(2)(d) of the SFCR, a bladder may only be included in a prepared meat product if it has been prepared as a casing.

    • Preparation of casings: in addition to the steps above, the mucosa must be removed, the bladder inverted, placed in brine for 12 hours and subsequently rinsed. Please refer to the document Microbial controls to ensure that any refining products used are acceptable.
    Edible status can be achieved in a separate establishment but control programs will need to address preservation of the product (ie. refrigeration, salting) and control over the product (labelling "for further preparation only" is required).
  5. Gastro-intestinal tract –distal ileum of all bovines is prohibited, otherwise all species eligible. Any portion of the GI tract harvested for edible purposes is to be
    • Emptied
    • Rinsed until the water dripping from the product runs clean
    • Trimmed of any contamination or pathological lesion

      Note: as per 125(2)(d) of the SFCR, an intestine may only be included in a prepared meat product if it has been prepared as a casing.

    • Preparation of casings: In addition to the steps above, the mucosa must be removed from the portion of the gastro-intestinal tract. Please refer to the document Microbial controls to ensure that any refining products used are acceptable.
    Edible status can be achieved in a separate establishment but control programs will need to address preservation of the product (i.e. refrigeration, salting) and control over the product (labelling "for further preparation only" is required).
  6. Lungs/trachea – all species are eligible.
    The trachea and the main bronchi are to be split to ensure no presence of parasites or contamination (including scald water). The trachea will be washed.
  7. Spleens – all species are eligible, as applicable
  8. Feet – all species are eligible.
  9. Brains/whole heads – bovine over thirty month are prohibited, otherwise all species are eligible
  10. Head meats – all species are eligible, as applicable
    • The tongue, the cheek meat, the head meat, the snout or the lips can be harvested.
    • Tonsils (e.g. Lingual) will be removed.
    • The thyroid gland and laryngeal muscles are to be removed.
    • Salivary glands and mucous membranes are to be removed, although the diffuse portion of parotid gland may remain attached in swine.
    • Deboning on hook or rack is recommended.
  11. Kidneys – all species are eligible, except equine, ostrich, emu, rhea, wild game animal (because of heavy metal content, eg Cadmium)
  12. Uteri –all species are eligible except wild game animal (because of risk of Brucella).
    Only uteri from mammals that have never been pregnant can be identified as edible.
  13. Testicles and pizzle – all species are eligible, except wild game animal (because of risk of Brucella).
    The associated draining lymph nodes will be examined.
  14. Fatty tissue – all species are eligible
  15. Tails – all species are eligible , as applicable
  16. Weasand/oesophagus meat – all species are eligible, as applicable
    The oesophagus is to be harvested by cutting through its musculature distally adjacent to the rumen/stomach without cutting into the mucosal lumen of these organs. The oesophagus is then pulled away from the rumen/stomach.
  17. Blood – all species are eligible, except birds and rabbits
    • Blood is harvested using a closed container connected directly to a cannula or a hollow knife.
    • The blood will be defribrinated by use of sanitized mechanical means (use of hands is unacceptable) or using an approved anti-coagulant to avoid the formation of clots.
  18. Mammary glands/udder – all species are eligible (as applicable), except wild game animal (because of risk of Brucella).
    Only mammary glands of animals that have never been pregnant can be identified as edible.
  19. Thymus – all species are eligible, as applicable
  20. Mechanically separated meat (MSM) or finely textured meat (FTM) – The use of the vertebral column of over thirty month cattle is prohibited, otherwise all species are eligible
    • If used in the preparation of MSM or FTM, the vertebral column of all eligible species must be free of spinal cord.
    • Kidneys must be removed from poultry carcasses prior to use in MSM or FTM.
    • Partially dressed poultry carcasses must have oil gland removed prior to use for MSM or FTM.
  21. Eyes – bovine over thirty month are prohibited, otherwise all species are eligible
  22. Pancreas – all species are eligible
  23. Spinal cord – bovine over thirty month are prohibited, otherwise all species are eligible
  24. Salivary glands – all species are eligible, as applicable
  25. Ova – all bird species are eligible
  26. Poultry necks – all species are eligible.
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