Weed Seeds in Feed Proposal
Consultation Summary – Respondent Comments and CFIA Responses

June 13, 2016 – July 15, 2016

Table of contents

Introduction

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has embarked on a comprehensive change agenda to strengthen its foundation of legislation, regulatory programs and inspection delivery. These directions set the context for the renewal of the Feeds Regulations (Regulations).

The goal of modernizing the Regulations is to reduce compliance burden and support innovation while ensuring feeds are safe and contribute to the production and maintenance of healthy livestock, safe foods of animal origin and do not pose a significant risk to the environment. The modernization of the Regulations is being designed to benefit the collective Canadian feed industry which includes livestock producers, commercial feed manufacturers, retailers, importers, exporters, ingredient manufacturers, and food processors. As well as aligning with other international feed regulatory regimes, modernization also maintains the objective of enhancing animal health and food safety for the Canadian public.

Standards for weed seeds in livestock feeds are just one part of the Regulations which are being reviewed as part of the modernization project. The CFIA recognizes the need to identify, to the extent possible, known or reasonably-foreseeable hazards that pose risks that all parties involved in the feed supply chain must take into consideration when preparing and implementing preventive control plans. Identifying and updating the lists of weed seeds considered hazardous in the Feeds Regulations will aid in accomplishing this objective.

The CFIA undertook a consultation from June 13, 2016 to July 15, 2016 on the weed seeds in livestock feeds proposal to outline the potential changes to the current standards and regulatory oversight requirements.

This report consolidates and summarizes the comments received during the consultation period that directly pertain to the weed seeds in livestock feeds proposal and the CFIA's response to those comments.

The CFIA would like to thank everyone who participated in the consultation and for contributing their time to the consultation process and sharing their views.

About the Consultation

The primary mode of consultation involved the preparation and posting of the Proposal – Standards for Weed Seeds in Livestock Feeds on the CFIA website and outreach directly to industry stakeholders, government partners and CFIA staff. Twelve (12) sets of comments were received in response to the weed seeds proposal.

What We Heard

Respondent Profile

Table 1: Respondent Profile
Category of Respondent Distribution
Feed Industry – Individual 3
Feed Industry – Association 3
Livestock Producer – Individual 0
Livestock Producer – Association 1
Other Feed Inputs 3
Government (Canadian Federal/Provincial) 2
Total 12

The feed industry association comments represent Canadian and American commercial feed manufacturers, as well as some of the larger feed ingredient supplier organizations. The Canadian feed manufacturers association represents 90 percent of commercial feed manufactured in Canada, while the United States association represents about 75 percent of commercial feed manufactured in the United States. The "Other Feed Inputs" listed in the table above that responded to this consultation comprised of industry consulting firms.

Key Respondent Messages

There was a general agreement regarding this proposal with only 1 of the 12 respondents expressing disagreement with the suggested approach and felt this oversight should be performed by overarching regulations related to the grain and oilseed industries. In addition, respondents indicated concerns with:

  • a commercial facility's ability to adhere to the requirements; and,
  • the ability of the proposed requirements to address the issue of weed seeds.

The CFIA also received suggestions from respondents regarding additional weed species that should be incorporated into the final list.

Format and Incorporation by Reference

The weed seeds proposal suggested that the current Tables 1 and 2 of Schedule II in the Feeds Regulations would be updated to reflect current weed seeds of concern and combined into a single table. In addition, it was further proposed that this table would be incorporated by reference as part of the Regulations to provide increased flexibility in amending the table in the future, as required. Those respondents commenting on this aspect of the proposal were generally in agreement with the suggestion to create one updated table of weed seeds of concern and incorporate this table by reference in the Regulations to allow updating of the document, as needed.

CFIA Response:

The CFIA will proceed with combining the two tables currently in the Regulations into a single table and will seek to incorporate this document by reference in the Regulations. In keeping with the CFIA's Incorporation by Reference Policy, the CFIA will provide a plan regarding the frequency and process for the review and revision of the incorporated document as part of the formal Canada Gazette Part I publication.

Additional Suggested Weed Seeds

The proposal provided a revised list of specific weed seeds to reflect current species of concern. While the CFIA attempted to make this list as risk-based as possible, additional weed seed species suggestions from respondents were received. For example, one respondent suggested that Redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.) and Russian thistle (Salsola tragus) should remain on the list given the potential of these species to act as an invasive weed. Another respondent suggested that the mustard family of weed seeds should remain on the list given their potential for causing feed refusal in livestock.

CFIA Response:

The CFIA welcomes the recommendations provided from stakeholders and will incorporate those additional species suggested that reflect the intent of ensuring feeds are safe and contribute to the production and maintenance of healthy livestock and safe foods of animal origin and do not pose a significant risk to the environment.

As an additional measure of protection to the environment, under the authority of the Plant Protection Act, any pests (i.e. any thing that is injurious or potentially injurious, whether directly or indirectly, to plants or to products or by-products of plants including weed seeds) contained on the List of Pests Regulated by Canada would continue to be prohibited from all commodities, including livestock feeds, and would be in addition to any regulatory controls outlined in the Feeds Act and Regulations.

Screenings

The proposal identified maximum concentration limits for weed seeds to be permitted in livestock feeds, including those grain products sold as screenings. Two (2) respondents expressed concern regarding these limits commenting that the issue lies with the viability of the weed seed not the amount of weed seeds and suggesting that screenings should not be sold in Canada unless pelletized to devitalize the weed seeds. Conversely, another respondent indicated screening products are a valuable and nutritional product for the livestock industry and their sale and use must not be impacted by the changes to the Regulations.

CFIA Response:

While the CFIA appreciates the perspectives raised regarding the standards for weed seeds to be permitted in livestock feeds, these standards would largely be carried over from the existing Feeds Regulations. As these limits are focused on preventing the consumption of potentially harmful weed seeds that may impact livestock health or the food produced from the animal, in addition to preventing the spread of weed species that pose a significant risk to the environment, it is suggested that the standards identified in the proposal are reasonable to maintain.

Purchasing and utilizing screenings that adhere to the standards outlined in the Off Grades of Grain and Grades of Screenings Order, administered by the Canadian Grain Commission, may be considered a risk management strategy for controlling hazards and form part of a facility's preventive control plan. While the CFIA does not require screenings to be pelletized prior to sale as a livestock feed, suppliers or purchasers of this product may choose to implement this practice as an additional preventive control measure for the hazard.

Furthermore, the continued use of screening products as livestock feeds may also limit the amount of product destined for landfill sites in the future.

Feedback not in Favour of the Proposal

One respondent felt the regulatory oversight for weed seeds in livestock feeds should not be included in the scope of the Feeds Regulations but rather dealt with by overarching regulations regarding grains and oilseeds such as the Canadian Grain Regulations. Furthermore, there was an additional concern expressed by this respondent regarding a commercial facility's ability to quantify and control weed seeds when receiving loads of grain products and suggested that any regulatory requirement for weed seeds should be a shared responsibility along all the parties in the feed supply chain.

CFIA Response:

While the Canadian Grain Regulations, administered by the Canadian Grain Commission, contains standards for weed seeds in grain products, the Feeds Regulations, administered by the CFIA, contains the regulatory authority when those products enter the feed chain or are represented for sale as a livestock feed. As a result, it is necessary for the weed seeds requirements to remain a component of the Feeds Regulations.

In addition, the purchase and use of screenings that adhere to the standards outlined in the Off Grades of Grain and Grades of Screenings Order, administered by the Canadian Grain Commission, may be considered a risk management strategy for controlling hazards and form part of a facility's preventive control plan. The CFIA agrees that adherence to any regulatory requirement should be a shared responsibility between the purchaser and supplier.

Next Steps

The CFIA is preparing a formal regulatory proposal for publication in the Canada Gazette Part I (anticipated in 2017) which will incorporate the comments received on all the consultation proposals, public meetings, stakeholder workshops and submissions and other outreach activities that have been used over the course of the project. A draft of the Weed Seed Table will be available for public review and comment at the time of the Canada Gazette publication.

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