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Annex U: Canadian Growth Enhancing Products-Free (GEPs-Free) Veal Certification Program

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Glossary

Approved tag

A tag, chip or other indicator approved according to subsection 173(1) of the Health of Animals Regulations. An approved tag includes any tag approved under the National Livestock Identification and Traceability Program (such as those allocated by Agri-Traçabilité Québec (ATQ) and the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) that provides unique identification for the animal in a single-use and tamper-evident tag.

Additional information on CCIA and ATQ can be found on the following links:

DairyTrace, a new national dairy cattle traceability program and was implemented in the fall of 2020, providing a single, common framework for dairy farmers to track animal identity and movements. CFIA has approved DairyTrace as an administrator.

Barn
An operation that finishes veal cattle for slaughter.
Barn enrollment
The operator of the slaughterhouse receives and retains a copy of barn enrollment forms from farms which are interested to raise veal cattle under this Program.
Canadian Growth Enhancing Products-Free Veal Certification Program
A written program that includes the combination of all components contained in this document.
Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA)
National administrator of the cattle, bison, sheep, goat and cervid traceability programs.
Calves
Male or female bovine animals under 6 months of age. For more information consult the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Veal Cattle.
Cattle
Refers to cattle of all ages.
CFIA
Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Eligible animals
According to Health Canada no hormone-based growth promoter has been approved in Canada for use in calves, for veal, whether fed on milk, grain or grass.

Use of hormonal growth implants in veal calves

On April 2, 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration published a guidance document on the use of unapproved growth implants in veal calves. The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service found evidence that there had been unapproved use of hormonal implants in veal calves. The US took action to further preclude the use of these implants in veal calves. In the US, the use of growth hormones in calves intended for veal production is illegal.

Health Canada's Veterinary Drugs Directorate and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have advised veterinarians, producer associations and other key stakeholders that growth promoting hormonal products have not been approved in Canada in any form for use in milk-fed, grain-fed or grass-fed calves intended for veal production.

For further information please view the following documents:

Eligible animals under this program means animals born and raised in Canada that have never received Growth Enhancing Products (GEPs) during their lives.

Enrollment application for the Canadian Growth Enhancing Products Free Veal Certification Program

A statement signed by a designated barn representative acknowledging understanding of the objectives and requirements of Veal GEPs-Free Certification Program and taking responsibility for relevant practices applied to eligible animals after verification by the private veterinarian.

GEPs-Free
Absence of any substances having thyreostatic, oestrogenic, androgenic, gestagenic or beta adrenergic action (that is, GEPs) of which the use is prohibited by the European Union (EU). A complete list is available in Annex 1.
Major deviation
Evidence of the administration, or likely administration, of any substance listed as a GEP in this program to veal that are enrolled in the Veal GEPs-Free Certification Program.
Mixed status farm
A farm that has on the premises a combination of eligible and non-eligible animals or that uses or has on the premises products that contain GEPs.
Program
The Veal GEPs-Free Certification Program.

Components of the program

1. Competent authority

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is the competent authority responsible for the certification of GEPs-free meat and meat products.

2. Program conformity

The Canadian Growth Enhancing Products-Free (GEPs-Free) Veal Certification Program is a veal industry-driven initiative that is followed to comply with import requirements set by countries that do not allow the use of GEP's during the raising of animals destined for human consumption. Conformity with the requirements of the Program is the responsibility of the slaughter establishment. To confirm that operators meet the requirements of the Program, random audits of enrolled farms (1 farm per year) are conducted by CFIA-Regional Veterinary Officer (CFIA-RVO) while abattoirs are monitored continuously by CFIA officials.

3. Animal Identification

Only animals born and raised in Canada are eligible for this Program. Animals must be identified under the Canadian National Livestock Identification and Traceability Program. Barns must maintain an accurate and up to date inventory of animals that are eligible for the Program. To maintain GEPs free eligibility, barns must ensure that only eligibleanimals are supplied to abattoirs for this Program.

When animals are sourced from auction market and not directly from a barn, a signed document by the auction market declaring that during their stay in this facility calves were not exposed to GEPs. Similar declaration will be required from birth farm as well (Annex 4).

4. Feed identification, reception, mixing, and storage

Health Canada does not allow use of hormone-based growth promoter in veal calves.

Barns enrolled in the Program must maintain a list of approved commercial suppliers (that is, feed mills and feed retail outlets) of feed or feed ingredients.

Approved commercial suppliers of feed, or feed ingredients must renew their declaration every 6 months (Annex 3).

Suppliers of single feed ingredients (for example, barley, corn) and sources of concentrated minerals, vitamins, flavours and enzymes are not subject to this requirement.

5. Barn enrollment

The enrollment application must be accepted by the receiving abattoir(s) before calves are received at the barn. Animals eligible for the Program must originate from barns that have pre-enrolled with the abattoir(s) to which the animals will be delivered. Abattoir should keep a list of farms/barns enrolled in the Program.

To apply for enrollment, a designated representative of the barn must complete an enrollment application (Annex 2) following the verification by the attending/private veterinarian. Enrollment renewals must be completed annually.

A declaration from the private veterinarian, stating that GEPs were not prescribed/administrated/fed to calves during the last 4 months and undertake to notify the barn owner and the abattoir if GEPs are used in the next 4 months. Based on the compliance history, this frequency can be reduced to every 6 months.

In the event of a major deviation involving eligible animals, the barn that supplied the veal cattle must cease the shipment of all eligible animals that have been raised under same conditions. Advise each abattoir receiving animals of the deviation, conduct a thorough investigation on the cause of the deviation, prepare a report of the findings and corrective action to prevent the recurrence of the deviation and submit it to the abattoir for CFIA official review.

6. Abattoir reception of animals

Barns must be enrolled with the abattoir prior to the delivery of eligible animals. The abattoir must maintain updated list of farms/barns enrolled in the Program. The list will be available to the CFIA officials.

The abattoir must retain enrollment applications until a subsequent annual renewal application is received. In the absence of the receipt of an enrollment renewal application within the following 6 months, the name of the barn must be removed from the barn eligibility list until an enrollment application is received and approved by the abattoir.

It is the responsibility of the operator of the abattoir to ensure that:

  1. GEPs-free animals arriving at the facility are sourced from a currently enrolled barn;
  2. GEPs-free animals arriving at the facility are accompanied by a veal information document for veal enrolled GEPs-Free Certification Program (Annex 6);
  3. GEPs-Free veal cattle have not been co-mingled with GEPs-fed animals during their transportation to the abattoir; and,
  4. upon arrival at the abattoir, GEPs-Free veal cattle are segregated in holding pens.

7. Abattoir procedures

The CFIA must be notified prior to the slaughter of veal cattle intended for the Program.

Both incoming veal and veal product destined to EU must be segregated from product not eligible to export to EU during production and remain identifiable until export takes place. All meat products for export to EU must be segregated by either physical separation (space) or by time to ensure complete segregation between eligible and ineligible products for export to EU.

The operator of the abattoir must document a control procedure which outlines clearly the controls that will be implemented to ensure all applicable requirements for the certification of GEPs-Free veal and veal products will be met and that products eligible for the Program can be readily distinguished at all times from non-eligible products. The control procedure must include monitoring, verification, and record-keeping activities, deviation procedures, and must be auditable and effective. The control program must ensure proper segregation and identity of GEPs-Free and non-eligible products. The control procedure must be submitted to and accepted by the CFIA.

The operator's control procedure must ensure traceability through the slaughter and production processes until packaging and appropriate labelling.

8. Randomized sampling and testing

A random testing of eligible veal carcasses is done once a month by the operator. The sample will be taken from the muscle, kidney or liver of randomly selected animals by specially trained abattoir staff under CFIA supervision. The operator must randomly test for all classes of GEPs. The first shipment of eligible animals from each supplying enrolled barn must be tested. The frequency of testing can be reduced after receiving satisfactory results for 1 year.

Samples must be sent to an accredited laboratory with a method based on CFIA's reference methods. All laboratory results must be sent simultaneously, directly and on a timely basis to the plant, the private veterinarian and the CFIA Veterinarian-In-Charge (CFIA-VIC).

Carcasses from sampled lot may be fabricated pending receipt of the test results. Veal products from sampled lots will be withheld from export until the results of the test have been received.

If the test results are negative for GEPs, meat products from the lot will be released for export shipment.

In the event of a positive test for GEPS (for example, a major deviation from Program requirements), the operator must implement corrective and preventive actions without delay to:

  1. confirm that all product potentially in non-compliance is controlled;
  2. delist all animals from the involved barn which are raised under same conditions;
  3. conduct a thorough investigation to identify and manage the cause of the deviation;
  4. present the findings of the investigation, including corrective and preventative action plans, to the CFIA-VIC. The corrective and preventative action plans of the abattoir must be accepted by the CFIA-VIC prior to re-enrollment of the barn. CFIA official visit the farm for verification before re-enrolment of the barn to resume the shipment of animals if needed;
  5. only following its re-enrollment, the abattoir will resume the receipt of eligible animals from the affected barn; and,
  6. the abattoir must test at least the first shipment of eligible animals provided by that supplier following a positive test result.

In the case of port of entry (POE) violation, the above steps from (a) to (e) must be taken.

Annex 1: List of growth enhancing products

List of GEPs covered by GEPs-Free Certification Program

Growth Enhancing Products (GEPs) are drugs containing any ingredient listed below.

Stilbenes, stilbene derivatives; salts and esters of:

Thyreostats:

Substances with oestrogenic or androgenic action; salts, esters or metabolites of:

Substances with gestagenic action:

Natural hormones:

Beta-agonists:

Annex 2: Barn enrollment application for the Canadian Growth Enhancing Products Free Veal Certification Program

(Note: To be renewed annually.)

Part 1

Milk-fed Facility Box Grain-fed Facility Box

Part 2

Name and signature of attending veterinarian:

Date:

Producers name (printed):

Signature:

Town/City:

Annex 3: Feed mill affidavit

Intended recipient of the feed and/or feed ingredient:

This letter of guarantee certifies that:

Feed facility name:

Feed facility code:

Address (facility office/owner address):

Phone number:

Name of facility representative:

Signature:

Date:

Annex 4: Auction Market Declaration/Birth Farm Declaration

This letter of guarantee certifies that the following calves (list all tag numbers for calves supplied in the last 3 months):

  1. Ear tag number:
  2. Ear tag number:
  3. Ear tag number:

Signature:

Date:

Annex 5: Private attending veterinarian declaration

Veterinary clinic contact for the last 6 months

Barn name and number

Name of the attending veterinarian:

Signature:

Date:

Annex 6: Veal information document for veal cattle enrolled in Canadian Veal Growth Enhancing Products Certification Program

(To be issued for each load of finished veal.)

Attach a list of tag numbers for veal cattle in this shipment.

Signature of barn representative:

Date:

Town/City – Province:

Slaughter plant

Date modified: