New slaughter rules: Q and A

January 31, 2010

Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Why should I fill out an EID?

All equines which may be used for food must be presented with a completed and acceptable Equine Information Document (EID) at the time of slaughter starting July 31, 2010. In the event that the animal becomes unwanted, if the owner wants to keep the salvage value and salvage options with respect to human consumption of their animal as high as possible, they will need to accurately fill out an EID for animals they wish to sell.

Will all equine owners need to fill out an EID?

It is not mandatory that all equine owners fill out Equine Information Documents for equines they own. The requirement applies to equines which may be used for food.

Why do we have to keep track of medication used starting January 31, 2010? Slaughter facilities handling equines in Canada will need at least a six month history of medication use for equine brought to the facility starting July 31, 2010.

When do I need to fill out the EID?

The EID can be filled out any time before the sale of your equine, but it is important to keep track of medications used and illness occurrence during the time you own the animal, either on the EID itself or another record used to fill out the EID before you sell your animal.

How do I include pictures of my horse in the document?

A digital camera is very useful for taking the required pictures. A little computer work can lead to a page containing the required pictures. This page can be printed with a colour printer. Alternatively, the colour pictures can be formatted or printed by many retail outlets which currently offer this service.

What are non-permitted drugs?

Non permitted drugs are drugs that have been determined should not be given or fed to equines which may be used for food. The list of non permitted drugs is available under section E.4 here.

Is Phenylbutazone is banned?

The use of Phenylbutazone in equines for medical reasons is not currently banned in Canada. However; Phenylbutazone is not permitted to be used in any animals that may be used for food including equine.

Do we have to keep a record of feed supplements or nutraceuticals? It would depend on the ingredients contained in the feed supplement or nutraceutical. Most feed supplements contain in addition to feed ingredients, vitamins and minerals which do not have withdrawal periods, so they would not need to be declared on the EID. Similarly, nutraceutical formulations of substances that naturally occur in the body do not have withdrawal periods. If, however, the supplement or nutraceutical did contain a drug ingredient, the supplement/nutraceutical would need to be declared on the EID. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian.

What is a withdrawal period?

A withdrawal period is the minimum number of days or hours that must expire since the last treatment of a specified medication or vaccine (used as per label directions) before the animal may be slaughtered for food.

Where do I get the information for drug withdrawal periods?

Section E.5 here contains a list of drugs for which a 6 month withdrawal period is required. Section E.6 here is to be available in April 2010, and will contain a list of drugs that are safe to be given or fed to equines which may be used for food. Withdrawal periods for these named drugs will be included with this list. With respect to drugs that can be safely given or fed to equines which may be used for food that may not appear on the list, consult your veterinarian for information regarding withdrawal periods.

What do I do about recording withdrawal periods for drugs my veterinarian tells me are safe for use in other food producing animals, but have no label instructions regarding the use in equines destined for food, or have a label statement that says not for use in equines intended to be slaughtered for food?

For now, record the information required by the EID with respect to drug identification and use. Then contact your veterinarian and record withdrawal period information as provided by your veterinarian including the authority consulted by your veterinarian for establishing these withdrawal periods (e.g. gFARAD, veterinary college specialist etc.).

Are these new rules expected to change?

Yes, these new requirements are only the first step towards strengthening Canada's food safety and traceability system for equines.

Will imported horses be subject to the same requirements?

Yes, imported horses when presented for slaughter at Canadian slaughter establishments will be required to meet this new Canadian standard for equine meat production in Canada.

Will these requirements only apply to meat products exported to the European Union?

No, these requirements will apply to all equines presented for slaughter in Canadian Food Inspection Agency-inspected facilities.

Who will be responsible for checking the EIDs before slaughter?

The primary responsibility for compliance to requirements in slaughter facilities inspected by the CFIA remains with the operator of the establishment. The establishment operator will be required to ensure each equine presented for slaughter has a complete and acceptable EID covering at least a six month consecutive time period before slaughter. The CFIA will oversee the effectiveness of the operator's ante mortem review procedures with respect to the EID.

Is it possible to include more than one horse on an EID?

The EID represents the minimum information required prior to slaughter in an acceptable format. However, certain conditions may exist that would allow for multiple equine animals to be included on one EID type document such as holding a group of equines for a six month period with a recorded inventory control system. If common medical history, medication history and owner declaration can be made and recorded in an acceptable record format deemed satisfactory to the CFIA, a common EID may be acceptable. The CFIA must give prior approval to this record format and system prior to use. Contact the CFIA inspection services at the relevant CFIA inspected slaughter establishment for more details.

Are non-permitted drugs not to be used in an equine presented for slaughter for the life of the animal or just for 6 months?

The non permitted drugs are listed under Section E.4 here. Non-permitted drugs are not to be used in equines intended for food production. During a transition period, the EID will be reviewed to determine if equines have or have not been treated with non permitted drugs during the 6 months prior to their slaughter. A longer "certification period" will eventually be requested.

If I sell my equine at an auction, does the auction become the owner, that is have care and control of my equine, for a period of time and need to fill out an EID?

No, the buyer of the animal assumes the care and control of the equine after the last date of care or control indicated by the previous owner's EID. The final date on the EID filled out by the previous owner will be the date the animal was delivered to the auction premise in this case. Any medication use on the auction premise is to be declared to the buyer by auction management. Generally this information is given to potential buyers from the auctioneer as the animal is sold.

I am forwarding a previous EID completed by a former owner to the buyer of my equine; am I responsible for the information on that previous EID?

No. Each owner signs for the dates of care or control indicated on their own EID.