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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.

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1 Introduction

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).

2 Scope

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.

3 Nomenclature

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.

5.1 Decomposition

A poultry carcass or part is classified as decomposed when any part of the carcass is affected by an off-condition identified by:

Odours

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.

Colour

Distinct green colour in a poultry carcass or part.

Slime

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.

5.2 Unwholesomeness

Pathology

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).

Foreign material

A sample unit is classified as critical and rejected when any of the following conditions are found:

Contamination

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.

Other defects

A sample unit is considered defective when any of the following conditions are found:

5.3 Workmanship

Those defects which are present as a result of poor workmanship and should have been previously removed:

6 Examination methods

6.1 Definitions

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.
Cull
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".
Examination
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.
Subsample
A representative portion of the contents of the sample unit withdrawn for the purpose of inspection.

6.2 Scope

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:

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:

6.5 Sampling

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

6.5.3 Poultry carcasses or parts packaged in bulk combos

7 Defect criteria for poultry carcasses and parts

Decomposition off-conditions
Type Description Classification
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.
Critical
Unwholesomeness
Type Description Classification
Foreign material

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.)

Critical
Foreign material Foreign material covering an area > 25 mm in the largest dimension. For example:
  • Unattached feathers, bile contamination, yolk, crop contents, ingesta, stains or specks too numerous to count and non-critical extraneous material like grease, dust etc.
Major
Foreign material Foreign material covering an area > 5 mm and ≤ 25 mm in the largest dimension. For example:
  • Unattached feathers, bile contamination, yolk, crop contents, ingesta, stains or specks too numerous to count and non-critical extraneous material like grease, dust etc.
Minor
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:

  • For Chicken ≥ 13 mm;
  • For Fowl ≥ 13 mm;
  • For Turkey ≥ 26 mm;
  • For Quail ≥ 13 mm.

or inflamed tissue including Dorsal Myopathy measuring:

  • For Chicken ≥ 5 mm;
  • For Fowl ≥ 5 mm;
  • For Turkey ≥ 13 mm;
  • For Quail ≥ 5 mm.

Do not consider scars or healed tissue.

Major
Other defects Dehydration (freezer burn) where more than 10% of the surface area is affected;
Overscalded, dark coloured carcass and inadequate bleeds
Major
Workmanship
Type Description Classification
Bruises

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:

  • For Chicken ≥ 13 mm;
  • For Fowl ≥ 13 mm;
  • For Turkey ≥ 26 mm;
  • For Quail ≥ 13 mm.

Do not count as a bruise if also associated with a compound fracture.

Major
Bruises A black, blue, or green bruise, 5 to 13 mm in the greatest dimension. Minor
Lungs Any lung portion measuring:
  • For Chicken: more than 8 mm;
  • For Fowl: more than 8 mm;
  • For Turkey: more than 13 mm;
  • For Quail: more than 6 mm.
Minor
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:
  • For Fowl ≥ 8 mm;
  • For Turkey:
    • (Dressed weight < 7.0 kg) ≥ 13 mm;
    • (Dressed weight ≥7.0 kg) ≥ 26 mm
  • For Quail ≥ 8 mm. Portion of the blister capsule > 5 mm.
Minor
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:
  • For Chicken ≥ 13 mm;
  • For Fowl ≥ 13 mm;
  • For Turkey ≥ 26 mm;
  • For Quail ≥ 13 mm.
Minor
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
Long shank

The complete tibio-tarsal joint (both condyles) is covered to the point where the cartilaginous tissue becomes the bone. As a guideline:

  • For Chicken : > 5 mm;
  • For Fowl : > 8 mm;
  • For Turkey < 10 kg (eviscerated): > 8 mm;
  • For Turkey ≥ 10 kg (eviscerated): > 15 mm;
  • For Quail: > 5 mm.

Note: The cartilaginous portion may vary depending on the size of the carcass.

Minor
Kidneys or testes/ovaries Any Kidneys or testes/ovaries portion except in
  • Chickens weighing less than 2.7 Kg
  • Ducks weighing less than 4 kg.

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".

Minor
Reproductive organs Reproductive organs in spent fowl.
Minor
Bones In the case of boneless poultry parts:
Any bone > 1 cm.
Major
Bones Any identified bone 3 mm to 1 cm. Minor
Feathers or pinfeathers A minimum of:
  • For Chicken: 3 feathers ≥ 6 mm and < 25 mm;
  • For Fowl: 3 feathers ≥ 6 mm and < 25 mm;
  • For Turkey: 5 feathers ≥ 6 mm and < 25 mm;
  • For Quail: 3 feathers ≥ 6 mm and < 25 mm.
  • For All Poultry: 1 feather ≥ 25 mm.
Minor
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

9 Records

An example of the Poultry reexamination worksheet is available in guidance on Poultry Data Collection forms (under development).

10 Examples

10.1 Poultry carcasses or parts packaged in boxes or totes

Example 1)

17,990 kg of whole chicken carcasses packed in 18 kg boxes.

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

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

Example 1)

Five bulk combos of poultry carcasses containing approximately 1000 kg per combo.

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

Example 2)

One bulk combo containing 500 kg of poultry parts.

The findings are as follows: 1 major and 3 minor defects

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