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Standards for ante-mortem examination and inspection

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements are being phased in over the following 12 to 30 months. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

Rationale

The incoming food animal is the basic input for the production of meat products. You are required to determine the biological, chemical and physical hazards that pose a risk of contamination of the food. Each food animal presents its own level of hazards based on, for example, its health status and its cleanliness, and this affects the safety and the suitability of the meat that will be derived from it. By detecting hazards and animal welfare concerns at ante-mortem examination, specific control measures can be implemented, where applicable, to mitigate any potential risks. Increased efficiency in managing certain hazards can be achieved when appropriate information regarding potential exposure to hazards at the primary producer level is transferred to the slaughter operator.

Since food animals are living beings and that their health status can change, an ante-mortem examination (screening) needs to be performed within the 24 hours before the food animal is slaughtered.

In addition, if any abnormalities in physiology, behaviour or appearance are detected, they need to be referred to the veterinary inspector for a detailed inspection and professional judgement.

A designated CFIA official also needs to evaluate all food animals, other than game animals, within 24 hours before slaughter, to ensure they are fit for slaughter. Verification of the results of your ante-mortem examination, as well as their ante-mortem inspection of the food animal, or sample of a shipment of food animals, as applicable, as well as their inspection of the respective Food Animal Information Document (FAID), as applicable, will provide the designated CFIA official with the necessary information to determine that the animal is fit for slaughter. If the CFIA official is not a veterinary inspector, and detects an abnormality on ante-mortem inspection, the animal or shipment will need to be referred to the veterinary inspector for a detailed inspection and professional judgement.

What this means to 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

Ante-mortem examination and Food Animal Information Document evaluation: 138, 165

Presentation for Ante-mortem inspection, ante-mortem documents: 139, 166

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