Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Science Branch, Animal Health Risk Analysis - Risk Assessment on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Cattle in Canada, Part A: Evaluation of Risk Factors

Dateline: October 3, 1997 (Canadian Feed Ban, ruminant to ruminant, went into effect -- the same date as the United States ruminant to ruminant feed ban became effective.)

Excerpt: "On October 3, 1997, the CFIA introduced a requirement for the clear identification of all products containing prohibited materials. All renderers are required to include the statement “Do not feed to cattle, sheep, deer or other ruminants” on labels and invoices for prohibited material. Imported rendered animal proteins are subject to a similar requirement, whereby the importer is required to obtain an import permit declaring the source of the rendered product and must comply with the documentation and labelling requirements of the feed ban and Feeds Regulations."


Table of contents | List of tables | List of figures | List of appendices | Acronyms | Acknowledgments
Main page | Part A | Part B | Part C


6.1. Inspection Systems

Some 95% of cattle slaughter and meat processing in Canada occurs in federally registered establishments (these include provincial facilities under federal inspection). The remaining 5% occurs in plants under provincial legislation. The annual number of cattle slaughtered in federal and provincial establishments is listed in Table 18.

Federal Inspection

Federally registered slaughter plants, processing plants and storage facilities (all meeting federal standards consistent with Codex Alimentarius) are provided with CFIA inspection under the Meat Inspection Act. There are about 780 federally registered establishments producing meat and meat products in Canada. These include 82 red meat establishments, 70 poultry establishments, 437 processing establishments, and 191 storage establishments. Federal inspection allows establishments to trade their products internationally and interprovincially.

The federal inspection system consists of ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection of all animals slaughtered, a monitoring and control program for chemical residues, and inspection of all packing, processing and storage facilities and operations used in the production and distribution of federally inspected meat products. A veterinary presence is required during slaughter to ensure compliance with the legislation and to supervise ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections.

CFIA officials are responsible for compliance and enforcement in federally registered establishments. Veterinarians and inspectors are trained to perform ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection and related activities to verify compliance and enforce the regulations. Veterinarians and inspectors are also responsible for ensuring the humane handling of animals.

Canada is preparing legislation to mandate Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs under its Food Safety Enhancement Program (FSEP) in all federally registered meat establishments (more than half of these facilities have instituted this program voluntarily).

Federal-Provincial Inspection

About 5% of cattle are slaughtered at provincial plants under authority of provincial meat inspection legislation. All provincial meat inspection regulations specify a requirement for ante-mortem inspection as a prerequisite to slaughter. In a portion of the provincial abattoirs this service is delivered by federal meat inspectors as part of a federal-provincial agreement whereby federal meat inspectors provide both ante- mortem and post-mortem inspection services. Under these federal-provincial inspection agreements, the CFIA provides inspection services in 53 provincial meat slaughter establishments in the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection is conducted according to federal (CFIA) standards. These establishments are not eligible to trade internationally or interprovincially.

Provincial Inspection

In other provinces, ante-mortem inspection is delivered by provincial meat inspectors. In all cases, animals held at ante-mortem inspection are referred to a designated veterinary inspector for disposition. There remains a small percentage of cattle that may not be subject to ante-mortem inspection. These are animals slaughtered “on-farm” to meet the immediate requirements of the farm family. Provincially inspected establishments are not eligible to trade internationally or interprovincially.

Licencing and inspection is usually provided by the provincial Department of Agriculture or Health. Licencing is mandatory in many provinces or in specific geographic areas of certain provinces. To sell meat at retail, establishments must fall under a system of either municipal and/or provincial control. Some establishments, such as those only doing custom slaughter, are not required to be inspected.

Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia have long-standing and well-established provincial meat inspection systems, and inspection is mandatory in Manitoba. Meat sold at the retail level in these provinces must have received a complete ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection by a government inspector. In Saskatchewan and British Columbia, inspection is voluntary for those plants that do not fall under federal-provincial inspection. A number of municipalities have chosen to adopt bylaws or regulations requiring meat to have received a complete inspection before being sold. New Brunswick and Newfoundland have voluntary inspection programs. In Prince Edward Island, meat must have received a “cold carcass inspection” before being sold at the retail level.

Veterinarians and inspectors working in slaughterhouses under provincial legislation receive training to allow them to perform the functions and tasks required in accordance with the respective regulations and codes.

Table 18: Number of Cattle Slaughtered in Federally and Provincially Inspected Establishments in Canada


Federal Establishments

Provincial Establishments


% in Federal Establishments

Livestock population of Canada (July 1st)





95.33 %






95.28 %






94.63 %






93.84 %






93.49 %


Sources: Canfax and Canadian Beef Grading Agency, and CFIA and Provincial Governments

6.2. Ante-Mortem and Post-Mortem Inspection

Ante-Mortem Inspection

All livestock arriving at a federally registered establishment must receive ante-mortem inspection within 24 hours before slaughter (this same requirement applies to the provincial slaughter under federal inspection). This inspection is mandatory under Section 67 of the Meat Inspection Regulations. Each animal or animal lots are identified by a lot card (ante-mortem inspection card), and the following information is recorded on it: the number of animals in the lot, date and time of arrival, origin, owner, tag number, time and date of inspection, condition of the animal, and the signature or initials of the inspector who performed the ante-mortem inspection.

This inspection involves two steps. The first step, an initial screening of all animals (which is the responsibility of the plant management), is conducted by a plant employee to identify and segregate any livestock suspected of being diseased or in unsatisfactory condition for slaughter. This employee must have been trained in accordance with the document entitled, "Introduction to Antemortem for Plant Employees" (Chapter 4, Annex I, Manual of Procedures, Meat Hygiene CFIA, 2002). All normal animals are examined by an inspector while they are at rest, and from 5–10% of such animals from several lots are examined on both sides, front and rear, while in motion. The second step consists of veterinary examination and determination of the disposition of all segregated animals. The veterinarian-in-charge at the facilities supervises the initial screening by a plant employee and the ante-mortem inspection by the inspector by verifying the ante-mortem inspection card. For establishments exporting to the EU, a veterinarian must perform ante-mortem inspection on all animals. In accordance with provincial regulations, provincial establishments apply similar ante-mortem inspection principles.

Crippled animals, downers (non-ambulatory), neurologic cases and sick animals are identified, recorded and segregated from healthy animals. The segregated animals receive a detailed veterinary examination and are either condemned or slaughtered and subject to detailed post-mortem inspection by a veterinarian. A more detailed description of the ante-mortem inspection procedures and requirements is provided in the Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures (Chapter 4.3.1).

Animals condemned on ante-mortem inspection or found dead are identified, removed to the appropriate section of the establishment (for inedible product), and are candidates for BSE surveillance sampling. Targets for BSE sampling are detailed in a document distributed to all federal plants entitled “2002 BSE Surveillance Program at Abattoirs Under Inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)” (See Part B Appendix 1).

Briefly, samples at abattoirs are collected from neurologic cases and surveillance cases. Neurologic cases include BSE suspect cases and neurological cases that do not fit the case definition of a BSE suspect but do exhibit a combination of neurological signs falling under categories defined as mental status, sensory status, and locomotor status.

The case definition for a BSE suspect is a bovine over two years of age that on clinical examination exhibits all of the following clinical signs: poor body condition, ataxia, abnormal head carriage, nervousness, apprehension, hyperaesthesia and tremors. Surveillance cases are mature animals (greater than two years) that on inspection are from one of the following categories: non-ambulatory (downers or unable to rise on farm), emergency slaughter, dead on arrival, or animals found dead. Before the amendment to the Meat Inspection Regulations (Section 70, revoked) in May 1997, an animal would have been condemned at the time of ante-mortem inspection by an official veterinarian in a registered establishment, if it was found to be or was suspected on reasonable grounds of being infected with a disease of the central nervous system.

From 1996 to 2000, four training workshops were given to veterinarians working in cattle packing plants. The workshops focussed on the identification of BSE-suspect animals, collection of samples, and disposition of suspects (See Part B, Section 8.2. for more details on training). Veterinarians attending the training workshops were responsible for training staff in their areas and making the training manual available. Before these workshops, in 1994, a document was sent to the veterinarians and inspectors in slaughterhouses to explain and give a case definition description. Updated versions of the documents were sent at later dates.

Post-Mortem Inspection

Only animals that have received and passed ante-mortem examination are permitted to proceed to the slaughter floor. After humane slaughter, all carcasses undergo post-mortem inspection. This includes an examination of the carcass, head and internal organs. A detailed description of the post-mortem inspection procedure and requirements are given in the Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures (Chapter 4.6). If no abnormality is found, the carcass and its edible parts are approved for human consumption; inedible parts are sent to rendering or some parts may be used for animal food or pharmaceutical purposes.

Further controls and veterinary examination are carried out when significant abnormalities are observed during the post-mortem examination and for all animals that were held on ante-mortem inspection or identified as a surveillance case (e.g. a downer cow). Carcasses held for veterinary post-mortem examination may be partially or entirely condemned. No part of a condemned carcass is approved for human food, including blood, head or offal. Condemned material is sent either to a rendering establishment for inedible product (under CFIA control) or for animal food. If an edible carcass is sampled as part of the active surveillance program for BSE, it must be held pending laboratory results.

In accordance with provincial regulations, similar basic principles of post-mortem inspection are applied in provincial establishments.

6.3. Disposition of Condemned and Inedible Offal

When a carcass or its parts are held on ante-mortem or post-mortem inspection, they remain under the inspector's supervision until disposed of in the prescribed manner.

  • An animal ordered destroyed because of its BSE status would be either incinerated or buried.
  • A condemned animal sampled for the purpose of BSE surveillance is sent to the renderer as prohibited raw material. It does not enter the human or ruminant food chain.
  • According to industry controls, major renderers do not accept sheep, goat, or cervid carcasses, offal and parts, so these are normally incinerated or buried in accordance with environmental controls (see Section 7).

On average, 0.5% of the animals at federal meat inspection establishments are found unfit for human consumption. Disposition of animals, dressed carcasses and their parts is regulated by the Meat Inspection Regulations and the Health of Animals Act. At provincially inspected abattoirs the condemnation rate is slightly higher. For the province of Quebec, the average condemnation rate for the last 6 years was 1.3% for all ages of bovines and 1.8% for bovines greater than 18 months (MAPAQ 2002). For Ontario, the average for the last 8 years is 0.54% for all ages and 4.8% for cows (OMAFRA 2002).

Following condemnation, carcasses and their parts are sent to the appropriate section of the establishment for rendering or for use in animal food. Section 2(1) of the Meat Inspection Regulations defines animal food as a product for use as food for fish or for an animal that is a pet, kept in a zoo, or raised for fur.

A list of diseases and conditions requiring specific dispositions is provided in Chapter 4, Section 4.7 of the Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures. This list is divided into three subsections. The first deals with diseases and conditions that can be diagnosed in slaughterhouses based on the organoleptic examination of carcasses. In the second subsection, diagnoses are made by veterinarians at slaughter based on laboratory results. And in the third subsection, diagnoses of reportable diseases are made by veterinarians at slaughter based on clinical signs. In addition to reportable diseases, any suspected case of exotic disease must be reported to the CFIA’s district veterinarian, who is responsible for all follow-up actions.

No bovine offal is specifically excluded from rendering.

6.4. Stunning Methods

All stunning devices require CFIA approval. More than one method may be applicable to some species, but in all instances the method must be demonstrably suitable and effective for the animal. The following methods may be used:

  • stunning by mechanical means, both penetrating and non-penetrating percussion devices;
  • electric stunning (most frequently used for pigs, birds and rabbits); or
  • stunning by gas or a gas mixture (e.g. carbon dioxide).

In May 2000, the CFIA prohibited the use of a captive bolt with perforation that permits compressed air injection into the cranial cavity, in recognition of the potential risk posed by this method for the contamination of tissues and organs with BSE-infected material from the central nervous system. The pithing technique has never been used in federal slaughterhouses in Canada.

6.5. Compliance and Enforcement

There are six federal acts related to the inspection and marketing of meats and meat products: the Meat Inspection Act, the Health of Animals Act, the Food and Drugs Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Weights and Measures Act, and the Canada Agricultural Products Act.

Canada’s Meat Inspection Act provides veterinarians and inspectors with the legislative power to take compliance and enforcement actions. Compliance with the Meat Inspection Act in slaughter establishments is facilitated by the daily presence of official veterinarians and inspectors. On an ongoing basis, deficiencies are identified and discussed with the plant manager and corrective actions identified. Any deficiency observed during operations that compromises the safety of the meat, the humane treatment of animals, or any other program must be corrected immediately to the veterinarian’s satisfaction. The deficiency and its correction are noted in a log book for future reference.

Directives to the veterinarian-in-charge at registered facilities update policies and regulations. This veterinarian, with the support of inspectors, is then responsible for their implementation. Verification takes place during periodic reviews by the regional reviewer (specialist), as part of the administrative exercise to verify that correspondence, directives, and regulations are current and in effect. Compliance with ante-mortem inspection requirements, including verification of the ante-mortem card, is verified by the veterinarian and by the regional reviewer.


  • 95% of cattle are slaughtered in CFIA-registered establishments (this includes cattle slaughtered in provincial facilities under federal inspection).
  • All cattle slaughtered at CFIA-registered establishments and provincial facilities under federal inspection are subject to ante-mortem inspection. Compliance and enforcement is supported by the daily presence of veterinarians and inspectors, establishment inspections, and follow-up actions concerning any deficiencies, including periodic reviews by regional reviewers.
  • Air injection stunning methods have been prohibited by the CFIA.

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7.1. Legislative Framework and Policies

According to the Health of Animals Act, Section 2(1), a rendering plant means a place “where animal by-products are prepared or treated for use in, or converted into, fertilizers, animal food, fats or oils, other than fats or oils used for human consumption,” or where such substances are stored, packed, marked, and shipped.

On August 4, 1997, Canada adopted a mammalian-to-ruminant Feed Ban prohibiting the feeding of proteins from mammalian species to ruminant animals. Protein derived exclusively from porcine or equine animals and milk and blood proteins from all mammals, including ruminants (Health of Animals Regulations, Section 162), may be fed to all species including ruminants.

Since 1997, rendering facilities in Canada have operated under an annual permit system to specifically address risks associated with the feeding of ruminant protein meals to ruminant animals. Three types of permits are issued, allowing companies to produce only non-prohibited material, only prohibited material, or both non-prohibited and prohibited material. Prohibited means anything that is, or that contains any protein that originated from a mammal, other than porcine or equine species (Health of Animals Regulations, Section 162). It does not include milk, blood, gelatin, rendered animal fat or their products. Edible residual materials (ERM) and "plate waste" or similar wastes generated by restaurants, cafeterias, and other food-serving establishments are considered as “prohibited material” and cannot be fed to ruminants

An annual inspection is performed by the CFIA before new permits are issued. To qualify for a permit to operate, a renderer has to meet the manufacturing controls, record-keeping and labelling requirements prescribed in the Feed Ban regulations. For rendering plants that manufacture both prohibited and non-prohibited material on the same premises, procedures to keep these materials separated and to prevent cross-contamination are critical.

On October 3, 1997, the CFIA introduced a requirement for the clear identification of all products containing prohibited materials. All renderers are required to include the statement “Do not feed to cattle, sheep, deer or other ruminants” on labels and invoices for prohibited material.

Imported rendered animal proteins are subject to a similar requirement, whereby the importer is required to obtain an import permit declaring the source of the rendered product and must comply with the documentation and labelling requirements of the feed ban and Feeds Regulations.

Canada does not exclude specified bovine offal from MBM, but products of ruminant origin (except as identified above) are treated as prohibited materials.

No BSE suspect animal or animal infected with scrapie or CWD may enter the human or animal feed chain, including through rendering.

Under the CFIA’s scrapie and CWD eradication programs, animals ordered destroyed are incinerated or buried. They are not disposed of through abattoirs or renderers.

7.2. Industry Profile

Between 2 to 3 million tonnes of inedible by-products are processed by 32 Canadian renderers each year. Renderers are well aware of the international and national implications if BSE were introduced into Canada. Two thirds of these facilities are owned and operated by large corporations, including international vertically integrated food companies with a vested interest in ensuring BSE is not introduced to Canadian livestock. Five facilities are attached to federally registered slaughter plants so that these companies can control the rendering and disposition of raw material from their own operations.

As a result of the Feed Ban, certain critical Good Manufacturing Practices (for example, written procedures to prevent cross-contamination, production records and distribution records) are in place at all rendering plants. In addition, more than 80% of the renderers have adopted HACCP-based Quality Assurance Programs. In 2001, the Animal Protein Producers Industry (APPI), a U.S.-based organization, launched a certification program to verify compliance with the Feed Ban. To date, 12 large Canadian rendering plants, responsible for 74% of the production, have been officially audited by a third party through this program ( and have been assessed as meeting the conditions for proper implementation of the Feed Ban.

Sources of raw material include livestock and poultry carcasses and offal, fish, fat trimmings, bones, and other tissues/products considered inedible from slaughter and processing facilities, dead stock, spent cooking fats and oils, and trim material from supermarkets and restaurants.

Tankage and raw materials for rendering are imported from the U.S. only.

More than 50% of the products processed by rendering are protein meals. The remainder are animal fats and fatty acids, which account for two thirds of the renderers? revenue. Canada produces approximately 530,000 tonnes of MBM (including pork, poultry, and fish protein meal) annually (refer to Table 19). Approximately 270,000 tonnes of animal fats and fatty acids and 75.600 tonnes of blood and feather protein meal are produced annually (Refer to Appendix 21).

A large proportion of the tallow and fat produced is exported, whereas most of the protein meals are used domestically.

The protein meals produced are almost entirely used in the manufacture of feeds for livestock and poultry (90%) and pet food (10%); less than 0.5% are used for fertilizer (Refer to Table 19 and Appendix 21).

Table 19: Production of MBM and Other Protein Meals (excluding blood and feather meal) Before and After the Feed Ban


Average Annual Production (tonnes)


Domestically Produced
Prior to 1997 Feed Ban
(Domestic information for 1995)

Domestically Produced
After 1997 Feed Ban
(Domestic information for 2000)

Raw product estimated at (tonnes):


between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000

Prohibited1 : MBM



Non-prohibited: Pigs






Fish 2



Other 3






Used as pet foods:


10% 4

Source: Tolusso, 2001a, CFIA

1 Either ruminant MBM or mixed MBM (from bovine, porcine, poultry etc. origin) that is not permitted for feeding to ruminants.
2 Production levels of domestic fish meal are not available at this time.
3 Mixed MBM (from porcine, poultry origin)
4 It is estimated that about 10% of all rendered proteins are used in the manufacture of pet foods.

7.3. Voluntary Industry Bans

Beginning in the early 1990s, the Canadian members of the North American National Renders Association (NRA) introduced a voluntary ban on the processing of raw ovine/caprine materials by rendering. Some companies do accept heads and spinal columns from adult ovines and caprines, including lambs, while others do not accept other ovine by-products. Some companies only accept ovines from low-risk groups (slaughter animals under one year of age from flocks not diagnosed as having scrapie) but do not accept heads form any ovine or caprine animal.

Many rendering companies are no longer accepting any companion animals (e.g. domestic cats), mink, zoo animals (import conditions do not allow imported zoo felines to be rendered), carcasses from exotic breed animals, such as deer, wapiti, elk, and antelope, or any animals of unknown provenance (Appendix 22).

7.4. Structure of the Rendering Industry

Of the 32 rendering facilities, 13 manufacture both non-prohibited material and prohibited material, 12 have permits to manufacture only non-prohibited material, and 7 have permits to process only prohibited material. Of the 7, one contracts production of its protein meals to another renderer, and one other closed in October 2001, leaving 5 facilities manufacturing prohibited material (Refer to Table 20 and Appendix 21).

Table 20: Geographic Distribution of Rendering Facilities and Permit Types (December 2001)













No. of Rendering Facilities












"Prohibited" Facilities












"Non-Prohibited" Facilities












Both "Prohibited" and "Non-Prohibited" Produced in the Same Facilities












Source: data from annual permits, CFIA 2001

Of the facilities producing both prohibited and non-prohibited material, 4 are located in Quebec and Ontario, where most Canadian dairy cows are raised and slaughtered. Another 9 such facilities are located in Western Canada, where most of the beef cattle are raised and slaughtered. Source material entering the plants in Quebec and Ontario would be of greater concern due to dairy cattle feeding practices (see Section 8.3.1 on cattle feeding).

In Canada, 70% of the beef cattle are slaughtered in 2 plants with integrated rendering facilities. These facilities produce approximately 80,000 tonnes/year of prohibited MBM. More than 90% of the by-products use inedible material from young beef as raw material; they do not use dead stock (see Appendix 22). Both plants have a Quality Assurance Program, and one has been audited and met the requirements of the APPI. The integration with the slaughterhouse means that these companies have good controls over the input of raw material into the rendering process.

All of the plants manufacturing both prohibited and non-prohibited material, with the exception of 4, maintain separate lines for each product. Dedicated lines in these plants are dictated by the nature of the product being rendered and serve to prevent cross-contamination. For example, rendering plants attached to beef packing plants process non-prohibited blood meal and prohibited MBM. The blood is collected in the packing plant at a separate point from waste meat and bone, into containers designed to handle liquids. It is processed using equipment specialized for handling liquid product. There is very little potential for cross-contamination, with the possible exception of contamination as a result of stunning (leakage from the stunning hole or brain emboli). The use of captive bolts with perforation that permits compressed air injection into the cranial cavity was prohibited for stunning in May 2000. Similarly, plants producing non-prohibited feather meal and prohibited meat-and-bone meal in the same facility require equipment specialized for each product. The possibilities for cross-contamination are extremely limited.

Non-dedicated processing lines are used by 4 of the facilities producing prohibited and non-prohibited material (Refer to Appendix 21 and 24). Large Canadian rendering companies own 3 of them, and one of them intends to install a dedicated line to produce non-prohibited material (projected for 2004) (Tolusso 2002). In addition to annual CFIA inspection, a Quality Assurance Program is in place in these facilities; they have been audited and met the requirements of the APPI. The other facility has an independent owner and produces a small volume of non-prohibited material (feed fat, poultry fat, poultry, and feather meal).

The companies with non-dedicated processing lines produce approximately 60,000 tonnes of prohibited MBM and approximately 100,000 tonnes of non-prohibited material (pork and poultry MBM, feather meal, blood meal, tallow, and feed fat). Because they represent a greater risk for mixing and cross-contamination, additional measures must be in place to prevent problems. These include the following:

  • one complete cycle of flushing the processing and distribution equipment with a specified quantity of non-prohibited material, which is diverted to prohibited material storage;
  • diverting the initial portion of a batch of non-prohibited material to prohibited material storage. The length of time is dependent on the volume contained by the specific piece of the equipment being used and the rate at which the product passes through the equipment (more time is required for larger pieces of equipment like cookers); and
  • physical clean-out of the equipment combined with diverting the initial portion of a batch of non-prohibited material to the prohibited material storage.

These standards are the minimal standard procedures accepted by the CFIA. Based on the principles and procedures employed by feed manufacturers to prevent drug residue carryover, these procedures are expected to reduce cross-contamination of non-prohibited feed with prohibited. Given that a definitive test is not currently available, it has not been possible to determine the level of reduction. However, these procedures are highly effective in reducing drug residues and it is assumed, in the absence of a test, that a similar level of effectiveness exists for reducing cross-contamination with prohibited feed.

The CFIA has taken steps to ensure that the 4 plants that use the same line to produce both non-prohibited and prohibited materials are inspected closely, prior to issuing an annual operating permit. The CFIA is concerned that proper procedures are in place to reduce any potential for cross-contamination. These plants mostly operate in areas where disposal options are limited. The one large plant operating in this manner is owned by a large food corporation. This company is well aware of the BSE issue and would be seriously affected if BSE were introduced into Canada. Headquarters staff have visited this plant to ensure effective procedures are in place, and discussions have been held with the company to discuss alternatives to the use of non-dedicated lines. It is likely that the practice of using non-dedicated lines for the production of prohibited and non-prohibited material will eventually be phased out.

7.5. Processing Techniques

Four types of rendering processing systems are used in Canada (See Appendix 21):

  1. continuous cooker rendering systems;
  2. continuous multi-stage evaporator rendering systems;
  3. continuous preheat/press/evaporator rendering systems; and
  4. batch cooker rendering systems.

The majority of rendering plants in Canada use continuous cooking systems, because they can process larger volumes. Some smaller facilities use batch cooking systems, which are also used for the production of feather meal.

Blood meal and feather meal are handled and processed differently than MBM, so it is unlikely that these products would be contaminated with prohibited material. Blood meal is produced by separating the blood solids from the blood serum water, and thereafter the blood solids are fed into a continuous drying system. Poultry feathers and hog hair consist mostly of keratin, which is relatively indigestible protein. The keratin is converted into more digestible amino acids by hydrolyzation, which is effected in a batch cooker and a drying operation.

The majority of renderers grind raw material to between of ¼ inch to ½ inch in size prior to cooking. Heat treatment of rendered products at high temperature under pressure conditions is considered to be critical to reduce BSE infectivity in countries that have this disease. Each of the four processing systems has some level of efficacy for the reduction of BSE (and scrapie) infectivity (Taylor et al. 1995; Taylor et al. 1997; Schreuder et al. 1998). Examples of different rendering systems? effectiveness in reducing the infectivity of BSE or scrapie are listed in Table 21.

Table 21: Infectivity Reduction Achieved by Different Types of Rendering Systems

Processing Systems

Infectivity Reduction Achieved (log base 10)


3.1 logs

Continuous/fat added

2.0 logs

Continuous/no fat added

1.0 log


0.0 log

Reference: Taylor et al. 1995; Taylor et al. 1997; Schreuder et al. 1998

Of the 13 rendering plants producing both prohibited and non-prohibited material, 2 operate batch processes and 11 operate a continuous system (refer to Appendices 21 and 25).

Of the 4 facilities that do not use dedicated lines, 3 have a continuous system, and one of them operates a batch process. Together, they produce approximately 100,000 tonnes of non-prohibited material. Approximately 18,500 tonnes of the total are exported, 2,200 tonnes are sold to the pet food industry, 4,000 tonnes go to other end users, 6,000 tonnes are sold directly to farms, and 69,300 tonnes are sold to be processed by commercial feed mills.

The facility using a batch system operates at a peak temperature of 155°C for 180 minutes. Approximately 660 tonnes of non-prohibited rendered products (poultry meal) are produced, of which 640 tonnes are sold to be processed by feed mills, 7 tonnes are sold directly to farms and 13 tonnes are sold to fertiliser companies.

Of the three facilities using continuous systems, one operates at a peak temperature of 120°C for 15 to 20 minutes. This company produces 26,800 tonnes of non-prohibited rendered products, from which 19,900 tonnes are sold to be processed by feed mills, 700 tonnes are sold directly to farms, 3,300 tonnes are exported, 2,200 tonnes are sold to pet food companies and 500 tonnes are sold to other end users.

The second of the 3 facilities using common lines with a continuous system operates at a peak temperature of 132°C for 50 to 120 minutes. This company produces 62,800 tonnes of non-prohibited rendered products, from which 46,100 tonnes are sold to be processed by feed mills, 5,000 tonnes are sold directly to farms and 11,700 tonnes are exported.

The last of the 3 facilities using common lines with continuous systems operates at a peak temperature of 120°C for 20 to 25 minutes. This company produces 11,900 tonnes of MBM, and the volume of the other protein meals and tallow produced has been estimated based on another year’s production at 10,000 tonnes (a conservative estimate). From this 10,000 tonnes, approximately 2,700 tonnes are sold to be processed by feed mills, 300 are sold directly to farms and 7,000 tonnes are either exported or sold to other end users.

These 4 facilities operate under a Quality Assurance Program (HACCP or GMP). The 3 facilities that are corporately operated have been certified by the APPI.

The other 9 facilities that produce both prohibited and non-prohibited products produce product on separate lines and, in compliance with the regulations, have additional measures in place to avoid the cross-contamination of products.

7.6. Compliance and Enforcement

All rendering facilities are required to obtain an annual operating permit from the CFIA. To qualify for a permit to operate, and prior to issuance of the annual permit, the CFIA inspects the rendering facilities to verify their compliance with the Health of Animals Regulations (Sections 162 to 171), the Feeds Regulations, and with non-mandatory requirements such a Quality Assurance (QA) Program (HACCP or GMP). A renderer must meet the mandatory manufacturing controls, record-keeping and labelling requirements to obtain a permit. Imported rendered products are also subject to a permit requirement wherein the importer is required to stipulate the source of the rendered product and compliance with the documentation and labelling requirements of the regulations. One of three types of permits may be issued to a rendering plant:

  • permit to manufacture “non-prohibited material” only;
  • permit to manufacture “prohibited material” only; or
  • permit to manufacture both “non-prohibited material” and “prohibited material.”

The CFIA encourages plant operators to implement HACCP or another quality-management system. A program is considered satisfactory if Good Manufacturing Practices are documented and used in relation to:

  • premises
  • transportation and storage
  • equipment
  • personnel
  • sanitation and pest control
  • product recall

A compliance guide has been developed to ensure consistency in inspection control (see Appendix 26, Compliance Guide for Rendering Plants).

No. of Rendering Plants
(as of 2001-04-01)

BSE Compliance



Since August 1997, the CFIA has conducted at least four complete inspections at each facility to verify compliance with the regulations. As of March 31, 2002 all renderers were inspected for their new permits for 2002/03.

The results showed that all renderers are complying with the requirements of the Health of Animals Regulations. Renderers that manufacture both prohibited and non-prohibited materials have separate production and/or distribution equipment and/or are following documented procedures that prevent the mixing and contamination of non-prohibited materials with prohibited materials.

In February and March 2002, a CFIA compliance audit was undertaken in the four national areas to verify the effective delivery by CFIA staff of the National Rendering Plant Compliance Program.


Legislation and Policies

  • On August 4, 1997, Canada adopted a Feed Ban prohibiting the feeding of proteins from mammalian species to ruminant animals. Exceptions include pure porcine and equine protein, blood, milk, and gelatin, which may be fed to ruminants and other animals.
  • Rendering is regulated by the CFIA under an annual permit system. Compliance with requirements is verified by annual inspection.

Industry Profile

  • There are 32 rendering facilities in Canada.
  • These facilities process between 2 and 3 million tonnes of inedible by-products each year, and produce approximately 875,000 tonnes of rendered product, of which more than half is protein meal. The protein meals produced are almost entirely used in the manufacture of feeds for livestock and poultry (90%).
  • More than 80% of these facilities operate under a Quality Assurance Program (HACCP or GMP).
  • Canadian renderers have adopted voluntary bans relating to “higher risk” ovine materials for about 10 years. Most do not process animal by-products from sheep, goats, cervids, pet animals, and animals of unknown provenance.

Processing Techniques and Practices

  • Four types of rendering processing systems are used. These systems may reduce infectivity (0 to 3.1 log) but cannot be relied upon to inactivate the BSE agent completely.
  • Of the 13 rendering facilities in Canada producing both prohibited and non-prohibited material on the same premises, 9 use separate lines. The 4 that use common lines use flushing and sequencing procedures to reduce the likelihood of cross-contamination.
  • Feather meal and blood meal are unlikely to be contaminated with prohibited material even if processed in the same facility, as these products are manufactured and handled differently, using different equipment.
  • Since August 1997, the CFIA has inspected all rendering facilities at least four times.

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