The government has made strides toward improving worker safety and increasing the capacity of meat processing facilities. As such, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulates and inspects meat processing and production in Canada.
The CFIA has specific, regulatory requirements for the humane killing of animals, application of inspections of carcasses before refrigeration, avoiding cross-contamination, and implementing proper workwear.
Below, we outline four key regulations that meat processing facilities need to follow to stay compliant.
1. Humane Killing of All Food Animals
One of the key regulations the CFIA enforces is humane killing, which is defined as:
“The process of killing as rapidly as possible with the least possible pain, suffering, fear and anxiety and includes to slaughter in accordance with applicable legislation.”
One way to ensure humane killing is through stunning—the process of rendering animals unconscious, with or without killing the animal, when or immediately prior to slaughtering them for food to minimize any pain.
The CFIA takes this extremely seriously. Back in 2022, covert footage was recorded at Meadow Valley Meats in British Columbia, which shows improperly stunned animals still being conscious while being killed.
This newly released footage has resulted in various protests and online petitions to shut down the meat manufacturer, with a lengthy and costly investigation by the CFIA now underway.
2. Proper Butchering and Refrigeration
Meat processing facilities must adhere to industry guidelines on inspecting meat prior to refrigerating and follow regulations for the freezing and refrigeration of it. In addition, all meat must be kept at 4°C or lower to prevent the growth of bacteria.
When authorization to do an examination has been granted to you, you take on the responsibility that all carcasses and parts of food animals get examined; with equal confidence to ensure that all defects that pose a risk to food safety are removed.
However, there is now advanced, smart technology available for implementation within your operation for thorough meat processing. Recently, Canada’s minister of agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau, and member of parliament Bardish Chagger announced a $2.4 million investment for P&P Optica Inc.
3. Avoiding Cross Contamination
In an industry like meat processing, safety and care is vital for your business to avoid penalties that can put your operation at risk. Repercussions of cross-contamination include outbreaks that lead to class action lawsuits, ruined reputations, and large monetary losses.
In order to prevent cross-contamination and its consequences, the first action is to conduct a hazard analysis to identify all risks of contamination to the meat. Be sure to consider each input and step in the production.
For this, it is of utmost importance to fully recognize how easily cross-contamination can occur. Below are some examples:
- Residues of cleaning chemicals from the clean-in-place (CIP) system
- Pest activity
- Accumulation of waste and the manner it is stored and disposed
- Allergen residues that can remain on surfaces if not cleaned effectively
- Exposing ready-to-eat food to raw food
- Using soiled workwear and linen that have been previously exposed to allergens and other process residues
4. Outfitting Your Staff in Proper Workwear
Having proper garments for your staff is required for compliance with food safety regulations. By implementing guidelines for proper workwear, businesses in the food industry can improve their food safety processes and minimize risks of cross-contamination.
Therefore, all employees working in meat processing must wear:
- Face masks
- Uniforms with snaps or zippers
Northern Uniform offers a variety of food safety garments to help keep your operation safe and compliant with industry regulations. On top of trustworthy garments, we’ll also craft a rental program that works tailored to the needs of your specific operation, taking any extra stress away from your management team.
Our state-of-the-art laundering system ensures proper sanitization that will eliminate any cross-contamination coming from our facility.
Interested in learning how we can take the worry out of food processing uniforms? Learn more about our food safety uniform laundering process.
Learn More About Northern’s Food Processing Uniforms
You may know this already, but we’re proud to say it; we’re the only uniform rental company in North America to successfully receive the ISO22000:2018 Food Safety Management System certification.
This registration enables us to control food safety hazards and implement systems in our operations. These operations consistently provide safe garments for our meat processing customers!
When you choose Northern, you uphold national safety standards, while simultaneously keeping your employees both comfortable and protected. To get more information about our uniforms and how they can help maintain compliance with meat processing regulations, contact us today!