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Poultry establishment construction and equipment

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The construction and equipment requirements can be found in SUBDIVISION D, Conditions Respecting Establishments, Sections 56 to 71of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.

This document provides recommendations and guidance which the licence holder can use for poultry establishment's construction and equipment. This will aid in poultry processing and examination procedures by the licence holder.

The requirement for Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) specific construction and equipment can be found in Guidance on Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspection stations for food animals and meat products.

The licence holder's employee may use CFIA ante-mortem inspection stations, post-mortem inspection and process control stations when not used by the CFIA.

It's expected that when licence holder's employees will conduct examination duties similar to CFIA inspection staff will be provided similar facilities.


In this document the word "inspection" is reserved for CFIA activities whereas the words "examination, re-examination" are reserved for licence holder’s activities.

1. Lighting

All light in meat product examination areas must be without shadow or glare and have a minimum colour rendering index value of 85 so as not to distort the normal colour of meat products.

  1. All licence holder's examination stations and examination sites measured at the lowest examination point must be 540 lux.
  2. Modernized Poultry Examination Program (MPIP) poultry carcass examination stations and carcass salvage station(s) on the kill floor measured at the carcass abdominal cavity level must be 2000 lux
  3. All suspect pens or areas designated for licence holder's ante mortem examination measured at lowest examination point must be 540 lux. This may be reduced to 110 lux after licence holder's examination.
  4. All workrooms such as slaughter floor, processing and packaging areas (edible and inedible meat products) measured at the lowest working surface level must be 220 lux.


The license holder may have turn off lights in ante-mortem area to keep birds calm and reduce stress until sufficient lighting is requested for conducting ante-mortem examination.

Light sources and fixtures must not be a potential source of contamination to meat products. In this regard, design and location are important considerations.

2. Separation of incompatible operations

Adequate physical separation of incompatible activities that could potentially result in the creation of a cross contamination risk for meat product must be provided. When physical separation is not possible, effective operational controls must be described in writing in licence holder's Preventive Control Plan and implemented at all times.

3. Cleaning and disinfecting facilities for transport containers and crates

The cleaning and disinfection facilities will be located in an area segregated from the live poultry receiving and holding area. This will help protect birds from undue stress, and contamination of birds before ante-mortem. 

Trucks used for the transport of crates or transport containers may be cleaned and disinfected off-site providing the Operator has written procedures incorporated within the operator-specific PCP which ensure that clean crates or transport containers are only loaded onto clean truck surfaces.

When the licence holder who wishes to skip crate cleaning and disinfection in certain situations such as transporting small number of birds over a short distance where the crates remain visibly clean, transport container returning to same barn (for example farm and slaughter establishment located on same farmland), the licence holder will have a written program examined by the Veterinarian with Supervisory Authority. The written program must guarantee that the skipping crate washing will not lead to spread of Public Health Hazards and Animal Diseases.

4. Ante-mortem examination facilities

A designated safe area will be made available to the licence holder's employee in the staging area, or in the unloading area, or where birds are suspended on shackles.

5. Stunning and bleeding facilities

The bleeding area must be designed to accommodate a bleeding time of not less than 90 seconds.

6. Defeathering, washing and singeing

Spray washing of carcasses must occur within 15 seconds after defeathering.

Sprays at washing station will be so directed as to wash the hock surface and the entire carcass below the hock.

Singeing may be used to remove hair and as a back-up for the defeathering process.

7. Transfer facilities

Defeathered carcasses will be transferred to an evisceration line, which is separate from the defeathering line. Transfer facilities must be capable of being cleaned during operation.

Attention should be paid to the synchronization of slaughter and evisceration lines to prevent accumulation of carcasses at the transfer point. The transfer location will be either:

The slaughtering line will not enter the evisceration room beyond the transfer location.

8. Facilities for the harvest and processing of poultry feet

The scalder for feet or paws may be positioned:

The equipment for transferring the feet or paws from the scalder to the packaging area will comply with equipment requirements for activities related to edible food.

9. Evisceration

The facilities should provide for the removal of inedible portions, to the appropriate area, in a direction that is opposite to that of the evisceration sequence.

Equipment employed in the preparation of giblets will be so located as to maintain sanitary conditions for this operation.

10. Carcass washer

Effective carcass inside and outside washing facilities must be provided.

If management wishes to take into account the volume of water used at the wash facility, as a part of the total volume of water required in the chilling system, the washer will be equipped with a flow meter which provides a continuous indication of the amount of water being used as well as indicating the total amount of water which has been used.

11. Poultry salvaging and off-line reprocessing/reconditioning stations

Salvaging and off-line reprocessing/reconditioning of carcasses must be done within 15 minutes after being held, in order to limit microbial growth/adhesion and carcass desiccation / discolouration. License holders who want to use a longer time should use Protocol for piloting new technology and procedures for poultry slaughter to validate alternate times for salvaging and off-line reprocessing/reconditioning of carcasses.

The licence holder will have adequate equipment/facilities and adequate physical separation of incompatible activities that could potentially result in the creation of a cross contamination risk for meat product.

The washing cabinet should be equipped with a three-sided splash shield or equivalent and with a non-splash spray nozzle. To facilitate a thorough outside carcass rinse prior to salvage of parts and for off-line reprocessing/reconditioning, a sufficient water volume and pressure is required.

The following facilities will be provided adjacent to the salvage cabinet and off-line reprocessing/reconditioning stations:

12. Chilling

Chilling systems employed will have the capacity to rapidly lower the temperature of dressed carcasses, portions and giblets. Where water is employed for chilling purposes, the equipment will be so designed as to permit an adequate overflow of water. The overflow of water from water chilling systems will be directly drained to prevent discharge of water onto the floor during operations.

Continuous water chilling systems will be equipped with a flow meter and a recording thermometer at the warmest part of the system. In lieu of a recording thermometer a thermometer without a recording device may be used provided manual temperature recording is carried out at the frequency specified in the PCP.

In new facilities or at time of major renovations the chill tank must be located in a separate room from the evisceration area.

Weighing equipment, used to conduct moisture retention tests, will be provided where required.

13. Specific facility requirements for poultry slaughter establishments

For all poultry examination stations, non-slip, anti-fatigue mats must be provided and should compensate for floor slope.

On-line space is required for company employee as helper/trimmer to remove signalled defective carcasses by the defect detectors and if time permits, trim localized defects from carcasses.

Shackles are either colour-coded or marked in an equivalent manner to readily indicate which carcass and viscera pack corresponds to which detector.

  1. Establishments operating under traditional inspection

    Traditional inspection has been restricted to 1 on-line post mortem inspection station. However, operators with 2 on-line traditional inspection stations as of December 31st, 2004 have been "grandfathered".

  2. Establishments operating under the Post-mortem Examination Program (MPIP)

    Operators authorised to conduct a Post-mortem Examination Program (for example MPIP), must meet examination station requirements to fulfill activities as stated in the document incorporated by reference titled Fundamentals of the Post-mortem Examination Program

    1. Defect detector station(s)

      Adequate on-line space is required for each carcass/viscera/cavity defect detector work station.

      On-line space (1 metre) downstream from carcass defect detectors and prior to the venting machine is required for CFIA staff to train and accredit the establishment trainers as carcass defect detectors.

      The space is also provided for the training and the accreditation of the carcass defect detectors by the accredited trainers.

    2. Defect removal station(s)

      On-line space is required for one company employee to remove signalled defective carcasses by the defect detectors and if time permits, trim localized defects from carcasses.

    3. Process control station(s)
      • Presentation standards station
        On-line space (1 to 1.5 metres), prior to viscera defect detector(s) and to trimming the carcass or harvesting the viscera is required to perform the presentation tests.
      • Evisceration standards station
        The evisceration standards test can be performed at presentation standards station.
      • Defect detection standards station
        On-line space is required, proportional to the line speed (1 to 2 metres), after viscera detection, but prior to harvesting the viscera.

        Carcasses must be synchronized to their corresponding viscera with both readily accessible to the inspector throughout the length of the examination station.

        These line space requirements may be combined with the CFIA on-line station required to meet Export requirements.

      • Carcass dressing standards station
        The off-line monitoring station must have safe access to pre-chill lines and be protected from traffic and obstructions. An easily cleanable rack with shackles must be provided to hold part of or the entire carcass sample and a table for examination. The station must include a clip board holder. The monitoring station must be under lighting that meets the minimum 2000 lux requirement.

        For CFIA independent verification tests performed on heavy carcasses (for example turkey carcasses), the licence holder must ensure minimal manipulation during the carcass collection by providing assistance or adequate equipment.

14. Poultry rejection process stations

The PRP station will have requirements similar to CFIA veterinary disposition stations for all methods of poultry examination:

Additional Guidance

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