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Controls on contamination in red meat and poultry establishments

Requirements for the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements may apply in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

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Controls on contamination in red meat establishments

A licence holder cannot identify as edible any meat product that is contaminated. Possible contamination of the meat products is prevented by ensuring hygienic procedures during dressing and evisceration. When contamination inadvertently occurs, it will be promptly identified and hygienically removed by the operator, as described in the Standards to identify a meat product as edible. Please consult Dressing procedures and Preparation of edible parts to ensure that you implement the best hygienic practices to achieve this.

Considering that the appearance of feces, ingesta and milk is affected by many factors such as the type of animal (ruminant vs non ruminant), diet, age of animal, the following descriptions are guidelines and are not exclusive.

Size is relatively unimportant in identifying fecal, ingesta or milk contamination, however, defects that are less than 3.0 mm in their greatest dimension can be difficult to characterize with certainty when using only the naked eye. If the observer is not able to clearly identify a defect as being of gastrointestinal origin or milk, it may be classified as extraneous or foreign material.

Foreign material will be identified as feces or ingesta when both color and texture is consistent with feces or ingesta. The color of fecal or ingesta contamination may vary between yellow, green, or brown, in the case of cattle; tan to dark brown, in the case of swine; and brown to black, in the case of sheep and goats.

Fecal or ingesta contamination can have a fibrous or plant-like texture and may contain plant-like material. Sheep and goat feces and ingesta may be tarry. Swine feces and ingesta may include identifiable grain particles.

Milk may be identified based on two factors: color and consistency. The colour of milk ranges from clear to white to light yellow. The consistency of milk ranges from watery to ropy or curdy. Milk, if present, tends to be found on the midline, during or after removal of mammary glands (udder).

Fecal, ingesta and milk may contain pathogens that render meat products adulterated. Accordingly, operators must demonstrate, through their Preventive Control Plan (PCP) and subsequently by carcass evaluation, that carcasses are free of visible fecal, ingesta and milk (as applicable to the species slaughtered) after final trimming but prior to final carcass washing. Licence holders that operate under the Modernised Slaughter Inspection Program (MSIP) Hog will also need to ensure that they meet the requirements of that program.

In alignment with PCP requirements related to critical control points, in the event that fecal, ingesta or milk is detected at the evaluation, all carcasses produced since the last successful evaluation must be identified by the operator and subjected to procedures that will ensure the identified carcasses are free of visible fecal, ingesta and milk.

Also upon detection of visible fecal, ingesta or milk during this evaluation, the operator must investigate the root cause of the deviation and implement effective corrective actions. Records of these evaluations (including detection of fecal, ingesta or milk); root cause investigations and their corrective actions; and procedures to identify and return potentially affected carcasses to freedom from visible fecal, ingesta and milk defects must be maintained in an auditable format.

The operator should re-evaluate their Preventive Control Plan to incorporate carcass evaluation (after final trimming but prior to final carcass washing) and fecal, ingesta and milk control procedures, as appropriate.

Controls on contamination in poultry establishments

Contaminated carcass, cavity and viscera are not acceptable for human consumption and have to be:

Contamination can come from five (5) sources:

  1. Fecal contamination: Any identifiable stain and/or material determined to be from the lower gastrointestinal tract. There is zero tolerance for fecal contamination.
    • The color of feces may range from varying shades of yellow to green, brown, and white.
    • The consistency of feces is characteristically semi-solid to a paste.
    • The composition of feces may or may not include plant material.
  2. Ingesta: Identifiable stain and/or dry particles and/or liquid (aggregate) covering a minimum area > 5 mm (internal and external). The undigested liquid or solid contents of the crop, gizzard or proventriculus. Dry and localized ingesta covering an area of a dime or less or a few isolated grains will not be counted as a defect. The colour of the ingesta may vary depending on diet, and can be green, yellow, or brown. The consistency may vary from solid to granular to slimy.
  3. Bile contamination: Caused by perforation of the gallbladder during evisceration which results in a green discolouration of affected tissue.
  4. Extraneous material: Grease stains or other foreign material which cannot be removed on-line or off-line.
  5. Intestine / cloaca: Intestine / Cloaca: Refers to a length of intestine/cloaca attached to the carcass or inside the cavity.

Contamination in poultry establishments usually happens during the evisceration process. It has different causes:

Licence holders must ensure their Preventive Control Plan addresses the following:

  1. all the contamination from the carcasses, carcass parts and viscera is removed
  2. if the contamination is not removed, the carcasses, carcass parts and viscera are condemned/rejected
  3. investigation of the root cause of the deviation and implementation of effective corrective actions
  4. if a disease is detected during defect detection, the carcass and viscera are submitted for secondary examination
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