Standards for the Management of Condemned and Inedible Food Animals and Meat Products
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.
Ante-mortem inspection is a key step in determining if a derived meat product is edible. Some conditions, such as neurological conditions can only be noticed on ante-mortem. Depending on the nature of the condition, it could pose a threat to other food animals (e.g. Foreign Animal Disease, to the workers (zoonosis) or to other meat products if it is not disposed of appropriately. When a veterinary inspector determines that an edible meat product cannot be derived from the food animal and condemns it, it is critical that the carcass be identified and handled in a manner not to pose a food safety risk to any other meat product as well as not to pose a health risk to any other food animal. Similarly, any animal that dies before arrival or dies by other means than slaughter at your establishment may pose a health risk to the other food animals or pose a food safety risk to other meat products, and as such it is critical to identify and handle the body so that that risk is mitigated.
When a veterinary inspector or an inspector under the supervision of a veterinary inspector determines on post-mortem inspection that a condition renders certain or all derived meat products unfit for human consumption and thereby condemns the carcass and associated parts, or otherwise only condemns specific parts, it is critical that any condemned part be identified and handled in a manner not to pose a food safety risk to any other meat product. Similarly, if you are authorised to conduct a post mortem examination program or post mortem defect management program, it is critical that any parts that you reject according to your preventive control plan be identified and handled in a manner not to pose a food safety risk to any other meat product.
A licence holder has the opportunity to decide which meat products will be processed as edible. However, a meat product, even the one that you are willing to discard at your cost, can be a key component to an inspector's ability to complete a post-mortem inspection, to investigate for food safety or potentially animal health purposes, and to verify compliance. It is important that you only treat and identify as inedible those meat products that have not been seized or detained, including those held for detailed veterinary inspection, or, otherwise, receive authorisation from the CFIA to move and treat as inedible.
The nature of an inedible product, whether it be condemned, rejected or by nature inedible, entails that it poses a risk of contamination to the edible meat products. To mitigate the risk of contamination to the food, it is of upmost importance that it be separated from the edible products as soon as possible and moved to a separate area of the establishment dedicated to inedible product. Despite being segregated from edible products, inedible meat products may still pose a risk of contamination if managed inappropriately, therefore they will need to be disposed of promptly or otherwise clearly be identified as not being for human consumption. Finally, extra care is required to ensure Health of Animals Regulations and Feed Regulations,1983 are being met by segregating and handling in a separate area any meat product that may contain Specified Risk Materials.
While CFIA documents their condemnations for traceability of potential food safety issues as well as for traceability of potential animal health issues, for the same reasons it is necessary for you to prepare and keep certain documents in relation to specific activities you conduct that relate to inedible meat products, such as ante-mortem examination, slaughter and rejection.
What this means for your food business
To help you understand these requirements, specific criteria and examples are outlined below. The examples are not exhaustive but help illustrate the intent of the requirement and offer ideas on what you could do to comply. Key terms throughout the text have been hyperlinked to the SFCR glossary.
Condemned and Dead Food Animals: 140(d), 153(b)
- You have measures described in your control program to identify and handle all dead food animals that die by other means than slaughter, either condemned or otherwise.
- After ante-mortem inspection you immediately follow the instructions of the veterinary inspector and identify food animals that have been determined condemned
- You immediately identify any bodies of food animals that die by humane killing or by unknown cause. If the food animals remain in their cages/crates when stunning occurs, you specifically include in your control program the means you use to ascertain whether animals are dead prior to slaughter in order to appropriately identify them.
- You move any cadaver to the inedible area and ensure that it remains distinguishable from an edible meat product as described in the Inedible Meat Products reference (under development) or the Specified Risk Materials reference, as applicable.
Condemned, rejected and inedible meat Products: 152, 153(a)
You have measures described in your control program to identify and handle all condemned, rejected and inedible meat products.
- After post-mortem inspection you immediately follow the instructions of the CFIA official and identify a carcass that has been determined condemned (as well as all associated parts, including those that you have harvested to process as edible (head, offal, blood, feet, etc.).
- If you are authorised to conduct a post-mortem examination program or a post-mortem defect management program, you identify as inedible any parts that your preventive control program determines that you reject. In the case you reject a carcass, you ensure that any associated parts are also rejected and identified as inedible.
- You render any condemned or rejected parts clearly distinguishable from edible products, as described in the Inedible Meat Products reference (under development).
Treating of Inedible meat products: 154
- You ensure that no meat product is held by an inspector prior to treating it as inedible
- You identify and handle any product that you treat as inedible according to your preventive control plan.
- Any carcass that has been held for detailed veterinary post-mortem inspection must not be treated as inedible unless authorised by the veterinary inspector
- Any "other defect" identified during a post-mortem examination according to the document entitled Fundamentals of the Post-mortem Examination Program must not be treated as inedible unless authorised by the veterinary inspector
- Any generalised or systemic defect identified during post-mortem screening according to the document entitled Fundamentals of the Post-mortem Defect Management Program must not be treated as inedible unless authorised by the veterinary inspector
- Any meat product that is identified by the CFIA as being detained, such as the use of a held tag, or is pending re-inspection must not be treated as inedible unless authorised by the CFIA
- Any meat product that cannot be identified as edible as per the document Standards to identify a meat product as edible you treat and identify as inedible
- Any meat product that you treat as inedible, you render clearly distinguishable from edible products, as described in the Inedible Meat Products reference (under development).
Inedible products area, labelling and disposal of inedible meat products, specified risk material: 155
- You move in a sanitary manner all inedible products to the inedible area as soon as possible after their removal from the carcass. This includes condemned parts, rejected parts, removed defects, dressing by-products (consult the reference Dressing Procedures and Preparation of edible parts), parts that you do not harvest to process as edible
- You move inedible products by the most direct pathway to the inedible area, and once in the inedible section, you do not let them re-enter the edible section.
- You handle and dispose of inedible meat products as described in the Inedible Meat Products reference(under development) and Guidance for Specified Risk Material reference, as applicable.
Document keeping: condemned and rejected meat products: 166
- You prepare and keep documents regarding the slaughter of a food animal. Specifically you include:
- The date and time of slaughter
- The findings of your ante-mortem examination
- The findings of your post-mortem examination, as applicable, and the reasons for any condemnation or rejection
- The findings of your post-mortem screening, as applicable, and the reasons for any condemnation or rejection
- You prepare and keep a document, such as an ante-mortem inspection card, to preserve all this information
- You prepare and keep documents regarding the death of a food animal. Specifically you include:
- The total of animals that are dead at the establishment or die at the establishment by other means than slaughter (including animals that are condemned at ante-mortem)
- The date and time the animal was found dead or was humanely killed
- The means of identification of the food animal
- The disposal of the food animal
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