Canada Strengthens Feed Controls

Canadian Food Inspection Agency extends existing ban on specified risk material in ruminant feeds to all feeds, petfood and fertilizer
June 27, 2006

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is banning cattle tissues capable of transmitting bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) from all animal feeds, pet foods and fertilizers. The enhancement will significantly accelerate Canada’s progress toward eradicating the disease from the national cattle herd by preventing more than 99% of any potential BSE infectivity from entering the Canadian feed system.

The banned tissues, which are collectively known as specified risk material (SRM), have been shown in infected cattle to contain concentrated levels of the BSE agent. Canada has already applied identical protection to the human food system, where SRM are removed from all cattle slaughtered for human consumption. This measure is internationally recognized as the most effective way to protect the safety of food from BSE.

“This ban tightens already strong, internationally recognized feed controls and shortens the path we must follow to move beyond BSE,” said the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. “Preventing all these materials from entering the animal feed chain minimizes risks and demonstrates the commitment of Canada’s new government to take necessary, science-based actions to address BSE.”

Ongoing surveillance testing continues to indicate that the level of BSE in Canada is very low. This is attributable to Canada’s current feed ban, which has prohibited the use of SRM in feed for cattle and other ruminant animals since 1997. Extending SRM controls to all animal feeds addresses potential contamination that could occur during feed production, transportation, storage and use. Removing SRM from pet food and fertilizers is intended to mitigate the risk associated with the potential exposure of cattle and other susceptible animals to BSE through the misuse of these products.

The new outcome-based regulations enter into force on July 12, 2007, with additional time provided for small establishments to achieve full compliance. In the meantime, an awareness campaign will be undertaken to ensure that all regulated parties are fully aware of their responsibilities and have adjusted their practices and procedures as required. Special emphasis will be placed on working closely and in full cooperation with small abattoirs to help them transition to the new requirements and facilitate their long-term viability. The Government has set aside $80 million to work with the provinces to assist industry’s implementation of the new feed controls.

Enhanced feed controls complete the Government’s response to the detection of BSE, consistent with the recommendations of the international team of experts that reviewed Canada’s situation. As a priority, Canada first focused on human health protection, which was achieved through the removal of SRM from the food system. Attention then turned to animal health measures through intensified surveillance testing for BSE and increased animal tracing capabilities.

The removal of SRM from the feed system, pet food and fertilizers involves a broad range of diverse stakeholders and considerations. In developing the required regulatory amendments, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency undertook analyses and broad consultations with industry, provinces and territories, the animal health community, trading partners and the public. This preparatory work was essential to ensure that an enhanced feed ban would be effective, enforceable, environmentally sustainable and economically feasible. Governments have identified and will continue to pursue alternative uses for SRM, such as processes that can generate biofuel.

SRM are defined as the skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia (nerves attached to the brain), eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia (nerves attached to the spinal cord) of cattle aged 30 months or older and the distal ileum (portion of the small intestine) of cattle of all ages.

More information:

Fact Sheet: Canada's Enhanced Feed Ban

Regulatory Amendments

Questions and Answers

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