CANADA: Ottawa to allow slaughterhouses to process already dead animals
OTTAWA -- The federal government wants to allow the carcasses of already dead animals to be processed in slaughterhouses for human consumption, a move that is raising concerns about the safety of Canada’s food system.
The Conservative government is pitching the change as a way to cut red tape and provide greater flexibility to slaughterhouse operators.
But the New Democrats are raising a red flag saying the move invites possible “contamination” of the food supply.
“Under the present regulations . . . it has to come in alive, be slaughtered on site,” said NDP MP Malcolm Allen (Welland), the party’s agriculture critic.
“Now you can bring in dead stock. It’s okay to bring in that animal into a slaughterhouse, have it cut, wrapped . . . for human consumption.
“The real fear is how did it die, (and) under what circumstances did it die.”
The proposed changes to Meat Inspection Regulations, outlined in the Canada Gazette, would allow “greater flexibility” to the activities that can be carried out in federally regulated slaughterhouses.
Current federal regulations do not allow meat to be processed from animals slaughtered outside of a registered slaughterhouse.
Now the government is proposing to make exemptions to that rule for animals that cannot be transported to a slaughterhouse alive because they are too aggressive to move or because they are injured.
“It is proposed to amend the (meat inspection regulations) to allow into registered establishments carcasses from food animals slaughtered elsewhere . . . following a detailed ante-mortem examination by a private veterinary practitioner,” the proposed rules state.
“Such an amendment would be extremely useful for industry in a number of situations, such as when injured animals cannot be transported alive for welfare reasons; or when animals are dangerous, aggressive or difficult to handle and cannot be transported.”
A vet would have to inspect an animal prior to slaughter to confirm it could not be safely transported, as well as determine if the animal is fit to serve as food. The vet will also certify the date of the slaughter and method.
Allen said that rule change risks allowing the food supply to be contaminated by “dead stock.”
“You wouldn’t know by looking at it and nor would the label tell you it’s dead stock because I’ll guarantee you if the label said dead stock, you would never buy it,” Allen said.