Proposed amendments to Ontario Regulation 31/05 (Meat) under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001
Ontario Regulation 31/05 (Meat)
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001
Summary of Decision:
The proposal has been approved with some modifications. Most of the amendments to Ontario Regulation 31/05 (Meat) under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 will take effect on January 1, 2014.
Changes to licensing were approved. As a result of stakeholder feedback, the change that exempts premises which only prepare products that contain 25 per cent meat or less was further clarified. Premises only preparing the following types of meat products - pizza, sandwiches, bouillon, edible fat and edible oil - will also be exempt from the regulation. The other licensing exemptions were approved as per the proposal.
Six amendments relating to animal handling and care were proposed. Two of them will be implemented as best practices but not as regulatory requirements, and another change will be deferred until national standards are available. The following changes to the regulation were made: effective January 1, 2014, rabbits can no longer be wholly or partially hoisted or suspended while conscious prior to slaughter; and effective July 1, 2014, a back-up stunning instrument or alternative method must be in place, and appropriate equipment must be available to restrain and euthanize animals that are found compromised, unfit or non-ambulatory.
As a result of stakeholder feedback, an additional change will remove an outdated table related to weights of pre-packaged meat products. Other changes include allowing pet food to be processed in freestanding meat plants. There will also be greater flexibility with respect to the storage of inedible materials in some slaughter plants.
Finally, a minor amendment was made to Regulation 562 under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
April 17, 2013
Summary of Proposal:
The ministry is asking for feedback on a proposal to amend the Meat Regulation, Ontario Regulation 31/05 (Meat) (the "Meat Regulation"), under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001. The proposed changes would clarify some of the language in the Meat Regulation and promote flexibility and more outcome-based requirements. This means a move toward requirements that focus on the end-result, acknowledging there are many ways to achieve the desired outcome, without compromising food safety. In addition, the proposal aims to further build competitiveness and support innovation.
The Meat Regulation (31/05) licenses facilities based upon activities and distribution. Due to this approach, some businesses that are not traditionally considered to be meat plants require a licence (e.g. some retail stores, restaurants and bakeries). To clarify that the ministry's role is inspection of food animal slaughter and higher risk meat processing activities, the Ontario government is proposing three changes to clarify when a licence would not be required:
1. Clarify that assembled food products are indeed food products and not within the scope of the term "meat products" in provincially licensed meat plants. A business would not require a licence if they prepare assembled food products and no meat products. Products would be considered assembled food products if they contain 25 per cent meat or less by weight, are combined with non-meat ingredients and are typically recognized as food products, rather than meat products (e.g. perogies, lasagne).
2. Small distribution volume exemption: a business would not require a licence if it only performs lower risk meat processing activities and sells most of its products directly to consumers (e.g. less than 25 per cent or less than 20, 000 kg of total products to wholesale markets, per year).
3. Foodservice exemption: a business would not require a licence if their business is preparing and serving meals to customers (e.g. a restaurant, caterer). It is not clear in the current regulation that foodservice businesses are under the inspection of Public Health Units.
The ministry is also proposing to amend the regulation to allow meat plants to receive inspected meat products from businesses like cold storage facilities if certain conditions can be met. Currently, only inspected meat products that are received directly from another provincial or federal meat plant, or that are imported, are allowed to be received at the meat plant.
Additional animal handling and care requirements are being proposed which would further strengthen humane practices at abattoirs in the province. Several other minor changes are being proposed which would clarify the language in the regulation, reduce burden and ensure the requirements are flexible and more outcome-based.
The province seeks input on these regulatory amendment proposals. To view a more detailed discussion paper that describes the content of the proposed regulations, please see the link below under "Further Information".
Policy Advisor, Legislative Policy Unit
Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch
1 Stone Road West, 2nd Floor, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 4Y2
January 1, 2014