Regulatory Requirement: Inspection services for Food Animals and Meat Products

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.

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Introduction

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) provide the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) with the ability to issue licences to food businesses, authorizing them to conduct one or more following activities:

  1. slaughter a food animal;
  2. manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package or label a meat product, or
  3. store and handle an edible meat product in its imported condition for the purpose of inspection by the CFIA.

These regulations also allow the CFIA to renew, amend, suspend or cancel a licence.

CFIA has the mandate to ensure that licence holders comply with the SFCR and produce safe food. Slaughter of food animals and the production of their derived meat products are activities that inherently present more risk and consequently require regular or sustained oversight. As such, Licence holders have to have a work shift to ensure that CFIA inspection services are made available for the requested times of operations to fulfill the regulatory requirements for CFIA oversight. As well, the nature and complexity of the activity will dictate how many inspection personnel will be required, and the facilities that they will need to perform their duties, to ensure that your activity can be performed in accordance to the regulatory requirements for ante- and post-mortem inspection.

Therefore, the licence holders must have inspection services and a work shift with the CFIA.

The following provides an overview of the regulatory requirements on work shifts, inspection stations and minimum number hours of inspection, as found in Part 3, Division 1 and 2 of the SFCR.

Work shift and related requirements

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Sections 28, 29 (1) (d), 31(2) and (3) and 43

Section 28 (1) Application for issuance, renewal or amendment

To obtain, renew or amend your licence, you are required to submit an application to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Resource

Please refer to the interactive tool on licensing to determine if and when you are required to obtain a licence.

Section 28 (2): Application - food animals and meat products

In addition to completing the application form for issuance, renewal or amendment of a licence, for the following activities, you are also required to submit at least one proposed work shift for each establishment where the following activities are conducted:

  • slaughter of food animals
  • manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package or label a meat product
  • store and handle an edible meat product in its imported condition for the purpose of inspection by the CFIA.

Section 28 (3): Work Shift

CFIA provides inspection services during the work shift that has been agreed upon by the licence holder and the CFIA. The work shift for slaughtering a food animal at any inspection station must not exceed more than 7.5 hours in one day and 37.5 hours in one work week, excluding meal times. The number of work shifts or length of work shift will help inform what is required for the number of inspection stations.

The work shift for manufacturing, processing, treating, preserving, grading, packaging or labelling a meat product or storing and handling an edible meat product in its imported condition must not exceed 7.5 hours in one day and 37.5 hours in one work week, excluding meal times or is between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m..

Section: 29 (1) (d)

For the CFIA to issue, renew or amend a licence your work shift(s) must have been approved by the CFIA for each establishment where you conduct above activities.

Section 31(2) and (3): Timeframe that activities can be conducted during work shift

If you conduct any of the following activities to food animals or meat products, you are required to do them during a work shift that was approved by the CFIA, unless the inspector has authorized otherwise:

  • slaughter food animals;
  • manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package or label a meat product; or
  • store and handle an edible meat product in its imported condition

For slaughter of food animals, you may conduct the ante-mortem examination outside of the work shift.

Section 43: Inspection services outside work shifts

CFIA may provide inspection services outside a work shift if you submit a written request to CFIA and an inspector is available.

Resource

Refer to Guidance on Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspection services in relation to food animals and meat products (under development) for more information on work shift.

Inspection stations at slaughter

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Sections 41

Section 41: Inspection stations - Slaughtering

For slaughter of food animals, the CFIA will determine for each of your slaughter establishments, the number of inspection stations that are required on an annual basis during each work shift, taking the following factors into consideration:

  1. the animal species that are slaughtered;
  2. the method of carcass examination or inspection that is used;
  3. the speed of the slaughter line; and
  4. the volume of production

CFIA will further determine if the inspection station is to be provided at a fixed location or an unfixed location in an establishment. In case of a fixed location, CFIA will specify the location in the establishment taking into consideration any specific ergonomic requirements for the CFIA inspection staff to accomplish their tasks.

Example

Under the post-mortem examination program the Veterinary Disposition Station is a fixed station while the Evisceration Floor Inspector Station is an unfixed station where the entire evisceration, dressing and chilling areas shall comprise the "station" for the evisceration floor inspector.

You may submit a written request to the CFIA for one or more additional inspection stations for a work shift on an annual or hourly basis and CFIA may permit additional inspection stations taking into account the above factors and availability of CFIA inspection staff.

Examples

  • Sometimes, food animals are slaughtered almost immediately after their arrival. The licence holder may request an additional inspection station for ante-mortem inspection to accommodate this "just in time" type of delivery. This permanent ante-mortem inspection station will be subject to the cost recovery policy.
  • The licence holder may request an additional inspection station if they determine that their establishment specific line configuration or the complexity of operation would be better addressed with an additional inspection station.
  • The licence holder may request an additional inspection station if there are specific export requirements including but not limited to extra export station, extra sampling and testing for exports.

The Guidance on Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspection services in relation to food animals and meat products (under development) provides the suggested minimum line staffing standards for the ante and post-mortem inspection. These standards are applicable provided inspection stations have been designed according to recognized ergonomic principles. The staffing numbers listed in this guidance document are the historically accepted number of stations required to staff the slaughter floor and perform the ante and post-mortem inspections. Operational administrative requirements, ergonomic factors, special projects and physical layout of the kill floor may affect these numbers. Each site may be evaluated by the CFIA to determine the appropriate staffing levels needed in each facility.

Resource

Refer to Guidance on Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspection services in relation to food animals and meat products (under development) for more information on inspection stations at slaughter.

Section 44: Notice

  • You must notify the CFIA in writing if you requested an additional inspection station on an annual basis but you no longer require it.
  • You must notify the CFIA in writing if there are any changes to your slaughter operation with respect to factors listed under Section 41.
  • Upon receiving the notification the CFIA will reconsider and, as appropriate, adjust the number of inspection stations that are required.

Minimum hours of inspection - meat products

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Sections 42

Section 42: Minimum hours of inspection - meat products

For each establishment where a meat product is manufactured, processed, treated, preserved, graded, packaged or labelled, or where an edible meat product is stored and handled in its imported condition, CFIA will determine the minimum number of hours of inspection that are required per year during each work shift, taking into account the following factors:

  1. the nature and complexity of the activities that are conducted by the licence holder in the establishment;
  2. the size of the establishment, the layout of equipment and the type of equipment and technology that are used;
  3. the range of meat products and the volume of production;
  4. work scheduling practices; and
  5. the inspection records in respect of the establishment and the activities that are conducted by the licence holder in the establishment and, if available, any such inspection records regarding comparable establishments where the same activities are conducted.

CFIA determines the minimum number of hours of inspection for your establishment based on the information submitted by you for the work shift. However, please note that the minimum number of hours determined may change if any of the above factors are affected.

Examples

  • CFIA may allocate more inspection time where an establishment produces a higher risk product such as ready-to-eat meat product that is to be sent to a hospital or a senior's home.
  • CFIA may also increase the inspection resources where a new technical process has been added at a processing establishment and indicates an increase in complexity of the activities.
  • In case of history of non-compliance, CFIA may allocate additional inspection time to ensure that the processes are under control.

Resource

Refer to Guidance on Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspection services in relation to food animals and meat products (under development) for more information on minimum hours of inspection for meat products

Section 44: Notice

  • In case you are the licence holder of an establishment where a meat product is manufactured, processed, treated, preserved, graded, packaged or labelled, or where an edible meat product is stored and handled in its imported condition, you must notify the CFIA in writing if there are any changes to your operation with respect to factors listed under Section 42.
  • Upon receiving the notification the CFIA will reconsider and, as appropriate, adjust the minimum number of hours of inspection that are required.
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