Poultry reexamination program
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.
On this page
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Scope
- 3 Nomenclature
- 4 Definition of defects
- 5 Description of defects
- 6 Examination methods
- 7 Defect criteria for poultry carcasses and parts
- 8 Sampling plans for poultry carcasses and parts
- 9 Records
- 10 Examples
The purpose of the Canadian poultry reexamination program is to provide guidance on standards and methods to be used when determining the acceptability of poultry carcasses and parts. This standard may be used for the evaluation of an establishment's quality control program and reexamination of shipments of domestic poultry products. This document describes criteria to meet the requirements of sections 125, 145 and 146 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR).
This standard applies to fresh or frozen poultry carcasses and parts including young and mature chicken, turkey and quail. The chicken standards also apply to duck and goose or any poultry species not listed here.
Product names are as per common usage in Canada and in accordance with the guidance on "Cutting and labelling of poultry parts".
4 Definition of defects
The poultry carcass defects are considered as minor, major or critical depending on the associated safety risk. The specific defect definitions and their defect classification are defined in the "Defect criteria for poultry carcasses and parts".
5 Description of defects
The defects found in poultry carcasses or parts are classified as decomposition, unwholesomeness or workmanship related. The severity and / or extent of the associated defect will classify it as critical, major or minor as explained in "Defect criteria for poultry carcasses and parts" section. Carcasses and parts are considered defective when one or more of these conditions are encountered.
A poultry carcass or part is classified as decomposed when any part of the carcass is affected by an off-condition identified by:
Persistent and distinct off-odours in a poultry carcass or parts such as: fruity, vegetable, musty, sour, sour milk-like, faecal, ammonia or putrid smelling.
Distinct green colour in a poultry carcass or part.
Moist and sticky gelatinous-like carcass or part.
Note: Some slaughter methods (slack scald and ritual slaughter) may leave wholesome carcasses that are slightly sticky to the touch. This is not characterized as slime for the purpose of these standards.
A carcass or part is considered defective if there is any evidence that it is affected by any pathology as defined in the ‘Disposition manual' (under development).
A sample unit is classified as critical and rejected when any of the following conditions are found:
- the presence of any material which has not been derived from poultry and which poses a threat to human health (such as glass, etc.) or
- distinct and persistent odour of any material which has not been derived from poultry and which poses a threat to human health (such as solvents, fuel oil, etc.)
A carcass or part is considered defective if any bile, ingesta or non-critical extraneous material is present. Faecal material results in rejection of the lot.
A sample unit is considered defective when any of the following conditions are found:
- dehydration (freezer burn) where more than 10% of the surface area is affected
- overscalded, dark coloured carcass and inadequate bleeding
Those defects which are present as a result of poor workmanship and should have been previously removed:
- dressing / processing / trimming defects such as the presence of parts of the viscera, feathers or bruises
- bones in boneless poultry parts
6 Examination methods
- Acceptance number (Ac)
- The maximum number of defective units in the sample permitting the lot to be accepted because the requirements of this standard have been met.
- The removal of individual product pieces affected with defects.
- Defective unit
- A defective unit is a sample unit whose subsample exceeds the allowable number of defects as stated in the "Defect criteria for poultry carcasses and parts".
- The visual examination of a subsample of poultry carcasses or parts for the presence of defects.
- Lot size (N)
- The number of containers (boxes/totes or combos) similar in size, type and style which have been processed under identical conditions. Specifically, the lot size may be the number of containers (boxes/totes or combos) from a specified production period, or from an incoming or outgoing shipment.
- Sample size (n)
- The number of sample units comprising the total sample drawn from the lot.
- Sample unit
- The individual container (box/tote or combo) that is examined as a separate unit.
- A representative portion of the contents of the sample unit withdrawn for the purpose of inspection.
The methodology described in this section outlines a procedure for the examination of poultry carcasses and parts. The examination is of products of a defined lot (N), in the fresh or tempered state for decomposition, wholesomeness and workmanship related defects.
6.3 Presentation/staging of the lot
The establishment presents the lot so that:
- each unit in the lot has an equal chance of being selected for the sample
- the lot is distributed uniformly to facilitate the verification of the lot size
- the main panel of each shipping container is plainly visible
- its placement allows adequate space for sample selection and visual examination of the lot for transportation damage
- presents the lot in same manner when requested by an inspector while ensuring that its placement ensures the safety of the inspector
6.4 Examination procedure
The operator thoroughly examines all carcasses and parts as specified under section 6.5.2, "Poultry carcasses packaged in boxes or totes", or 6.5.3 "Poultry carcasses or parts packaged in bulk combos", and:
- all defects from the lot are recorded, removed, and identified with the carcass, part and sample unit, from which they were found
- if the lot is accepted, all defects found in inspected product are discarded
- poultry carcasses or parts found free of defects upon examination are returned to the lot
6.5.1 Sampling of lots for sensory examination
The sampling of lots for the sensory examination of the product should be in accordance with the Codex Alimentarius "Sampling plan for prepackaged foods" as follows.
6.5.2 Poultry carcasses or parts packaged in boxes or totes
- the sample unit consists of a box or tote
- calculate the number of boxes or totes in the lot (N)
- using the label weight to determine the net weight of a box or tote, pick out the number of boxes / totes required under the sampling plan selected from tables 8.1 or 8.2 according to the average net weight of the boxes or totes
- the sampling plans dictate the minimum sample size (n) to be taken. The samples are chosen at random as explained in the random sampling procedure. If necessary, more than the minimum sample size specified may be taken, provided that it corresponds to a sampling level from table 8.1 or 8.2
- the sample unit is sufficiently tempered to permit a thorough examination
- from each sample unit, choose a representative subsample consisting of at least 10% of the product
- in each subsample, examine the carcasses or parts for defects and, if present, assign them as Critical, Major or Minor, as defined in Section 7, "Defect criteria for poultry carcasses and parts". Any critical defect found will result in the rejection of the lot. The presence of at least one (1) major defect or any two (2) minor defects in a subsample will result in that corresponding sample unit being considered defective
- using the acceptance (Ac) number corresponding to the level of the sampling plan selected, determine the acceptability of the lot based on the number of defective sample units. If this number is less than or equal to the acceptance number, the lot is accepted; otherwise, the lot is deemed to fail
- if a lot fails using the appropriate sample plan due to workmanship related conditions only, the lot may be culled and reworked depending on the defect. The lot is then re-inspected using the same sampling plan previously used
6.5.3 Poultry carcasses or parts packaged in bulk combos
- as per table 8.3, a maximum of 13 combos are to be randomly sampled from the lot (a full combo is approximately 1000 kg). If the lot consists of less than 13 combos, then each combo is inspected
- the bulk combo is tempered sufficiently to permit an examination of a representative sample
- take a representative 50 kg subsampleFootnote 1 from each selected combo
- in each combo, examine the carcasses or parts for defects and if present assign them as Critical, Major or Minor as defined in Section 7 "Defect criteria for poultry carcasses and parts". Any critical defect found will result in the rejection of the lot. The presence of at least five (5) Major defects, any ten (10) Minor defects, or any combination of Minor and Major defects totalling ten (10) in any subsample, will result in that corresponding combo being considered defective
- using the acceptance (Ac) number corresponding to the number of combos in the lot, determine the acceptability of the lot based on the number of defective sample units. If this number is less than or equal to the acceptance number, the lot is accepted; otherwise, the lot is deemed to fail
- if a lot fails due to workmanship related conditions, the lot may be culled and reworked depending on the defect. The lot is then re-inspected by repeating the above steps
7 Defect criteria for poultry carcasses and parts
|Odours||Persistent and distinct off-odours in a poultry carcass.||Critical|
|Colour||Distinct green colour in a poultry carcass.||Critical|
|Slime||Moist and sticky gelatinous-like carcass surface.
Note: Some slaughter methods (slack scald and ritual slaughter) may leave wholesome carcasses that are slightly sticky to the touch. This should not be characterized as slime for the purpose of this program.
Foreign material > 2 mm (internal and external). For example: Glass, wood, metal, etc.
Distinct and persistent odour of any material which has not been derived from poultry and which poses a threat to human health (such as solvents, fuel oil, etc.)
|Foreign material||Foreign material covering an area > 25 mm in the largest dimension. For example:
|Foreign material||Foreign material covering an area > 5 mm and ≤ 25 mm in the largest dimension. For example:
|Faeces||Any identifiable stain and/or material determined to be from the lower gastrointestinal tract.||Critical|
|Pathology||Any evidence of pathological lesions such as cellulitis, salpingitis, tumours, airsacculitis or peritonitis, synovitis/tenosynovitis/arthritis||5 Major defects|
|Scabs or inflammatory tissue||
Aggregate scabs covering an area measuring a minimum of:
or inflamed tissue including Dorsal Myopathy measuring:
Do not consider scars or healed tissue.
|Other defects||Dehydration (freezer burn) where more than 10% of the surface area is affected;
Overscalded, dark coloured carcass and inadequate bleeds
Blood clumps or clots in the superficial subcutaneous tissue that cannot be washed out after slitting and the bruise extends into the deeper layers covering a minimum area:
Do not count as a bruise if also associated with a compound fracture.
|Bruises||A black, blue, or green bruise, 5 to 13 mm in the greatest dimension.||Minor|
|Lungs||Any lung portion measuring:
|Spleen and gall bladder||Whole spleen and/or gall bladder||Major|
|Spleen and gall bladder||Part of a spleen and/or gall bladder||Minor|
|Trachea||Identifiable trachea portion > 5 mm.||Minor|
|Oil gland||Whole gland or fragment of an oil gland > 5 mm.||Minor|
|Breast blister (Fowl, Turkey and Quail only)||Untrimmed or partially trimmed nodule on the keel bone (yellow/red/green material) in an area measuring:
|Compound fracture||Bone fracture (e.g. leg or wing, but not wing tip) that has caused an opening through the skin.||Minor|
|Mutilation||Lacerated muscle and skin caused by equipment/procedures occurring in areas prior to the evisceration room covering a minimum area measuring:
|Bursa of Fabricius||Bursa of Fabricius or portion > 5 mm.||Minor|
|Gastrointestinal tract||Any combination of the following parts > 5 mm: intestine, caecum, cloaca (with mucosa tissue).||5 Major defects|
|Gastrointestinal tract||Any combination of the following organs > 5 mm: oesophagus, crop, proventriculus and gizzard.||Minor|
The complete tibio-tarsal joint (both condyles) is covered to the point where the cartilaginous tissue becomes the bone. As a guideline:
Note: The cartilaginous portion may vary depending on the size of the carcass.
|Kidneys or testes/ovaries||Any Kidneys or testes/ovaries portion except in
Note: Presence of kidneys will not be considered a defect when licence holder chooses to label product "May Contain Kidneys" or "Peut contenir les reins".
|Reproductive organs||Reproductive organs in spent fowl.
|Bones||In the case of boneless poultry parts:
Any bone > 1 cm.
|Bones||Any identified bone 3 mm to 1 cm.||Minor|
|Feathers or pinfeathers||A minimum of:
|Hair||Each incidence of 26 hairs ≥ 6 mm per sub-sample counts as one defect.||Minor|
|Heads||Heads on dressed carcasses not designated as "head and feet attached".||Major|
8 Sampling plans for poultry carcasses and parts
8.1 For sample units under 4.5 kg
|Level||Lot size (N)||Sample size (n)||Acceptance Number (Ac)|
|1||2400 or less||13||2|
|2||2,401 to 15,000||21||3|
|3||15,001 to 24,000||29||4|
|4||24,001 to 42,000||48||6|
|5||42,001 to 72,000||84||9|
8.2 For sample units 4.5 kg or greater
|Level||Lot size (N)||Sample size (n)||Acceptance Number (Ac)|
|1||600 or less||13||2|
|2||601 to 2,000||21||3|
|3||2,001 to 7,200||29||4|
|4||7,201 to 15,000||48||6|
|5||15,001 to 24,000||84||9|
8.3 If the sample unit is a combo
|Level||Lot size (N)||Sample size (n)||Acceptance Number (Ac)|
|1||2 or less||all||0|
|2||3 to 8||all||1|
|3||9 to 12||all||2|
|4||13 or Greater||13||2|
An example of the Poultry reexamination worksheet is available in guidance on Poultry Data Collection forms (under development).
10.1 Poultry carcasses or parts packaged in boxes or totes
17,990 kg of whole chicken carcasses packed in 18 kg boxes.
- the number of boxes in the lot is 1000
- net weight of a box is 18 kg; therefore, use the level 2 sampling plan found in 1.8.2
- this sampling plan states that for a lot of 1000 boxes, the sample size is to be 21 boxes
- choose the 21 boxes randomly from the lot
- the 21 boxes must be thawed sufficiently to permit inspection
- choose a representative 10% subsample from each box; that is 1.8 kg of the product or the smallest number of carcasses aggregately weighing 1.8 kg
- in each subsample, examine the carcass(es) for defects and assign them as Critical, Major or Minor as defined in the "Defect criteria for poultry carcasses and parts" section of this document
Suppose the inspection reveals the following defects:
Box 3 - 1 Major
Box 8 - 1 Minor
Box 12 - 1 Minor
Box 15 - 1 Major and 2 Minor
Box 20 - 2 Minor
- in this case, boxes 3, 15 and 20 are considered defective, since they contained at least either a major defect, two minor defects or both in their subsamples
- based on the acceptance (Ac) number of 3, this lot would be accepted since 3 defective sample units are permissible in the randomly selected sample of 21 boxes
If, a larger sample size should be selected from this lot, then a random sample of 29 boxes could be selected and rated for defects as above and a decision taken on the acceptability of the lot based on the corresponding acceptance number of 4.
10.2 Poultry carcasses or parts packaged in bulk combos
Five bulk combos of poultry carcasses containing approximately 1000 kg per combo.
- the combos must be thawed sufficiently to permit inspection
- take a representative 50 kg sample from each combo
- examine the carcasses for defects and assign them as Critical, Major or Minor as defined in the "Defect criteria for graded and ungraded poultry carcasses and parts" section of this document
The findings are as follows:
Combo 1 - 1 Critical Defect, 1 Major and 4 Minors
Combo 2 - 3 Majors and 3 Minors
Combo 3 - 5 Majors and 8 Minors
Combo 4 - 2 Majors and 12 Minors
Combo 5 - 4 Majors and 9 Minors
- ased on the accept and reject values, combo numbers 1, 3, 4 and 5 would be rejected, since they exceed the acceptance numbers of zero Critical defects, four Major defects, nine Minor defects or a combination of any nine Major or Minor defects
- as per table 8.3., the maximum number of defective combos permitted is 1. In this example, the lot would be rejected since 4 defective combos were found. The lot would also be immediately rejected since a critical defect was found
One bulk combo containing 500 kg of poultry parts.
- the combo must be thawed sufficiently to permit inspection
- since in this case the sample unit is less than 1000 kg, take a representative sample consisting of 5% of the total weight of the combo
- sample size is 500 kg x .05 = 25 kg
- examine the poultry parts for defects and assign them as Critical, Major or Minor as defined in the "Defect criteria for poultry carcasses and parts" section of this document
The findings are as follows: 1 major and 3 minor defects
- calculate the reject criteria using the formula from section 126.96.36.199. The number of major defects rejected is 500kg/200 = 2.5, rounded up to 3. The number of minor defects rejected is 5 (2 X 2.5)
- for this example, the sample will pass, since the defects found fall under the reject criteria which was calculated at 3 Major, 5 Minor defects or any combination of 5 (Major and Minor) defects
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