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Standards to identify a meat product as edible
Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: 125,126,145,146,147,156,157,158,159


Meat can sometimes be the cause of human food borne illnesses. The main contributing factors to the overall risk to the safety of a meat product are the incoming food animals with their level of cleanliness and health status and the manner in which they are manufactured /transformed into a meat product. Some conditions that may put at risk the safety of the derived meat product can only be seen when the animal is alive, or can be better managed prior to food animal entering the actual slaughter process. Other conditions are not noticeable on the live animal and need to be properly exposed in order to properly observe them on the carcass therefore preparing the carcass properly is essential.

Certain principles and criteria have been established to mitigate and reduce these various food safety risks to an acceptable level and need to be implemented in order to determine that the end meat product is fit for human consumption.

As well, blood by nature is an ideal medium for bacterial growth and as such hygienic measures must be implemented to avoid contamination during collection if it is to be deemed fit for human consumption.

Finally, Trichinella spp in pork and in equine and Cysticercosis bovis in bovine can all have very detrimental impacts on the health of humans if consumed in a raw or undercooked product, whereas they have little to no impact on the food animal. These pathogens can potentially go undetected because of the very small lesions that they cause, and considering preparation/consumption practices of these meat products, it is required that management appropriate to the pathogen must be implemented to ensure that the final meat product is safe for the consumer.

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.

Identification of edible meat products: 125,126,145,146,156

You only identify a meat product as edible after ensuring that:

Processing of blood: 147

You only identify blood as edible after ensuring that:

Management for certain specific contaminants: Trichinella spp in pork, Trichinella spp in equine and Cysticercosis bovis in bovine: 157, 158, 159

Trichinella spp – Pork:157

If you produce a pork product that could be consumed without any cooking by the consumer, you implement one of the following measures to ensure that the pork product can be consumed without risk with respect to Trichinella spp:

Trichinella spp – Equine:158

If you produce a meat product that is derived from an equine, you ensure you receive a negative result on one of the following approved tests for detecting Trichinella spp before identifying the meat product as edible:

Cysticercosis bovis – Bovine:159

If you produce a meat product that is derived from a bovine, you implement the measures described in section 11.2.1 of the Disposition manual for red meat species; for any carcass that shows evidence of Cysticercosis like-lesions on post-mortem evaluation, to ensure that the beef product can be consumed without risk with respect to Cysticercosis bovis.

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