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Operational procedure: Poultry carcass grade verification

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1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspection staff on standard commodity inspection procedures related to verifying that poultry graded in Canada meets the requirements of the Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations.

The guidance outlined below should be used when performing meat inspection tasks, in response to a complaint, or when a certificate of inspection is required for lots that are graded and exported.

This document is intended to be used in conjunction with other guidance documents as referenced in Section 3.0 of this document.

2.0 Authorities

The inspection powers, control actions and enforcement actions authorized by the above legislation are identified and explained in the Operational guideline: Food regulatory response guidelines.

3.0 Reference documents

4.0 Definitions

Definitions are located in the documents listed below or as a defined word where it is intended to supersede the definitions within the glossary documents:

5.0 Acronyms

Acronyms are spelled out the first time they are used in this document and are consolidated in the Food business line acronyms list.

6.0 Operational procedure

This operational procedure provides inspection guidance specific to verifying grade name application and the marking of poultry for which grades and markings are established in the Canadian Grade Compendium Volume 1 – Ovine Carcass and Poultry Carcasses Part 3.

Sub-paragraph 15(1)(c)(ii) of the SFCR specifies that no person other than a grader shall grade a poultry carcass for the purposes of the Act and these Regulations. A "grader" means a person designated as a grader under subsection 13(3) of the CFIA Act for the purposes of the Act.

There are three grades of poultry carcasses with the grade names Canada A, Canada Utility and Canada C (for imported poultry carcasses see the Canadian Grade Compendium Volume 9 – Import Grade Requirements).

The Canadian Grade Compendium Volume 1 – Ovine Carcass and Poultry Carcasses Part 3 describes the regulatory criteria for poultry grades.

The specifications for the application of grade names are defined in SFCR 338(1).

The requirements for the presentation of the poultry grade name and stamp are found in the Canadian Grade Compendium Volume 1 – Ovine Carcass and Poultry Carcasses Part 3 section 11.

Where more specific procedures are required to what is provided in the standard inspection process (SIP), these will be indicated in this section.

Commodity inspection OGs refer the inspector to the SIP for basic guidance on the four inspection steps. If the commodity inspection is being conducted to support a preventive control inspection currently underway, some or parts of the inspection steps will have already been completed.

6.1 Prepare for Inspection

Refer to SIP, section 3, step 1. In addition to the general guidance provided in SIP, the following applies.

Recording inspection data in Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP)

Pick one of the following triggers, as appropriate:

  • Commodity Inspection Plan
  • Sample Collection Plan
  • Incident Response
  • Export Permission
  • Import Permission
Inspection task type Commodity Inspection
Inspection level 1 task Perform test
Inspection level 2 task Grade verification

6.2 Conduct the Inspection

Refer to SIP, section 4, step 2. In addition to the general guidance provided in SIP, the following applies.

6.2.1 Locate and determine the lots

The sampling procedure consists of selecting from the lot, at random, the designated number of sample units according to the Poultry Evaluation Grading Table found in Appendix 1.

A sample unit comprises a group of 12 graded carcasses. Where carcasses are packed in containers holding a different number of carcasses than 12, the containers are converted into units of 12 carcasses each.

Note: In some cases, such as the use of opaque bags, the grading evaluation may also include a Quality Assurance (QA) evaluation that is performed on line before packaging.

6.2.2 Grade Verification

The Poultry grading verification report CFIA/ACIA 4631 (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) should be used for grade verification of poultry.

Refer to the Canadian Grade Compendium Volume 1 – Ovine Carcass and Poultry Carcasses Part 3 and the Canadian Grade Compendium Volume 9 – Import Grade Requirements for grade verification details.

6.2.3 Determine Compliance

The acceptance and rejection numbers for grading verification is found in Appendix 1. If a non-compliance is identified, refer to SIP, sub-section 4.5, and sub-section 4.6.

A sample unit is acceptable if not more than 1 defective carcass is found from the 12 carcasses selected and examined. The sample unit is unacceptable when 2 or more defective carcasses are observed within the sample unit.

The number of units inspected shall be equal to the sample size as per the sampling plan in Appendix 1. If the number of defective (nonconforming) units found in the sample is equal to or less than the acceptance number (Ac) for the corresponding sample size, the lot shall be considered acceptable upon removal of the defective carcasses found. If the number of defective (nonconforming) units is equal to or greater than the rejection number (Re), the lot shall be considered not acceptable.

Rejection of a lot

The lot is non-compliant when one of the following is observed during a poultry grading evaluation:

In these cases, the entire lot will automatically indicate a failure and the lot will be held. Each held lot requires corrective measures to correct the deficiencies on the graded product and to correct the deficiencies on the grading process.

Corrective measures on graded product

The rejected lot is to be re-marked as non-graded product. Any references to graded product according to the SFCR are to be removed. Depending on the severity of the deficiencies, the rejected lot may be extended to a larger scale (for example daily product or weekly product).

Corrective measures on grading process

For any rejected lot evaluation during a grade verification for domestic market or for rejected evaluation of imported or exported poultry grading products, please refer to Sub-sections 4.5 – 4.9 of the SIP.

6.2.4 Capturing notes related to commodity inspection

For information on capturing notes relating to commodity inspections in the DSDP, refer to SIP Appendix A sub-section 5.4.1 and sub-section 3.5.1 of the DSDP SOP INS – conducting an inspection (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDMIS 9839405).

In addition to capturing an accurate description (brand name, common name, net quantity, lot number) of the commodity inspected in the "Commodity Description" field in DSDP, enter the same commodity description in the "objective evidence" field along with the non-compliances found so that it appears in the final inspection report.

The Poultry grading verification report CFIA/ACIA 4631 (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) is available and can be used as a tool to assist inspectors in verifying compliance of the grade. This worksheet should be saved as an RDIMS file and referenced in the "Notes" section of the document record of the inspection task record in DSDP.

On the "Additional Remarks" section, in addition to commenting on the markings and packaging of the poultry, other points related to product preparation and grading which impacts on the quality of the graded poultry should be recorded.

6.3 Communicate the Results

Refer to SIP, section 5, step 3.

6.4 Conduct Follow-up

Refer to SIP, section 6, step 4.

For general inquiries related to this Operational Guidance Document, please follow established communication channels, including submitting an electronic Request for Action Form (e-RAF) (accessible only on the Government of Canada network.

7.0 Appendix

Appendix 1: Poultry grading evaluation table – Sample size and acceptance criteria

The following table explains the number of units to evaluate for a specific lot size and the according accept (Ac) and reject (Re) numbers.

Table 1: Sampling plan for all poultry except fresh turkeys
Lot size
(number of units)
Samples Size (number of units) Ac Re
2 – 90 5 1 2
91 – 150 8 2 3
151 – 280 13 3 4
281 – 500 20 5 6
501 – 1,200 32 7 8
1,201 – 3,200 50 10 11
3,201 – 10,000 80 14 15
Plus 10,000 125 21 22
Table 2: Sampling plan for fresh turkey
Lot size (number of units) Samples Size (number of units) Ac Re
2 – 15 2 1 2
16 – 25 3 2 3
26 – 90 5 3 4
91 – 150 8 5 6
151 – 280 13 7 8
281 – 500 20 10 11
501 – 1,200 32 14 15
Plus 1,200 50 21 22
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