RG-2 Regulatory Guidance:
Feeding of poultry manure to cattle and other livestock species is prohibited

This note is to serve as a reminder to all livestock producers that the feeding of any form of poultry manure (including poultry litter) to livestock remains illegal in Canada. The use of poultry manure as a feed ingredient are subject to enforcement action by the CFIA.

The CFIA regulates the import, manufacture and sale of livestock feed under the authority of the federal Feeds Act and Regulations. Any ingredient added to livestock rations must first be approved and listed in the Feeds Regulations. This legislation stipulates that, besides being effective, ingredients and mixed feeds must also be safe for humans, animals and the environment. No product may be used as a feed ingredient without first undergoing a rigorous safety review.

Poultry manure is not an approved feed ingredient in Canada.

There are several safety concerns associated with the use of poultry manure as a feed ingredient. First and foremost, the feeding of poultry manure may have implications for the spread of (BSE). The Health of Animals Regulations ban the feeding of certain mammalian protein, including ruminant meat and bone meal, to cattle and other ruminants. Poultry manure often contains residues of poultry feed which may contain ruminant meat and bone meal. Thus, feeding poultry manure to cattle may inadvertently result in the feeding of ruminant meat and bone meal to cattle and contravene the Health of Animals Regulations.

The quality of any source of poultry manure may be affected by its processing. Inadequate heat treatment may contribute to the exposure of animals to pathogens. There is the potential for residues of microbial pathogens, drugs, and other chemicals which may harm livestock or result in the transfer of violative residues in animal products, e.g., meat and milk, to humans.

Livestock producers play a key role in preventing the entry of contaminants into the food chain, and they have an obligation to produce safe food by using approved feed ingredients. Producers feeding unapproved or unregistered feed ingredients to their cattle are taking a risk with both animal and human safety.

Questions regarding this policy should be forwarded to your local regional office or the national office at:

Animal Feed Division
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0Y9

Questions and Answers

Are producers in Canada exempt from the authority of the federal Feeds Act and Regulations?

Exemptions are granted to livestock producers who produce their own feed only if criteria set out in section 4(a) or (b) of the Feeds Act apply: The feed shall not be offered for sale and has not had incorporated into it any drug or other substance that may adversely affect human health or the environment; or if it is free from deleterious substances. As there are risks associated with the feeding of untreated poultry manure and litter, this exemption does not apply.

What are the safety concerns associated with using poultry manure and litter as a feed ingredient?

Concerns are of a dual nature. That is to say, there is concern for both the health of the animal ingesting the feed and for food safety as humans eating the edible end products of these animals may be exposed to contaminants. Safety concerns are varied depending on the source of poultry litter and manure. There is also potential for pathogenic microbial contamination, i.e., bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli and Clostridium botulinum. The transfer of residues of drugs approved for use in poultry may result in residues in manure and litter. Other concerns include chemical contaminants such as heavy metals and pesticides which may accumulate in poultry waste products.