Canada's Enhanced Feed Ban Comes into Force

By Tina Caparella

On July 12, 2007, certain cattle tissues that could possibly transmit bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), known as specified risk material (SRM), were banned from all animal feed, pet food, and fertilizer in Canada. The enhanced feed ban was first announced on June 26, 2006 (see “International Report” in the August 2006 Render).

“Canada’s New Government, in partnership with provincial governments and the industry, has taken a significant step towards accelerating the elimination of bovine spongiform encephalopathy from Canadian cattle,” said Chuck Strahl, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and minister responsible for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). “These new measures will help increase access to foreign markets, and support Canada’s status as a controlled risk country for BSE from the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE.” In May 2007, the OIE designated Canada as a BSE controlled risk country.

Under the enhanced feed ban, producers can no longer feed any animal products containing SRMs to any livestock, and slaughterhouses must properly identify SRMs to ensure that they are removed from the feed system. In addition, a permit from the CFIA is required to handle, transport, or dispose of cattle carcasses and certain cattle tissues. This system enables continuous control over SRMs so that they do not enter the animal feed system.

In order to assist the industry to put in place the infrastructure for effective SRM disposal, the federal government is investing $80 million (Canadian) in provincial SRM disposal programs. Provincial SRM disposal programs are supported through federal-provincial cost-sharing agreements, which are now in place and are as follows (in Canadian dollars):

• British Columbia: $5 million provincial, $7.5 million federal. British Columbia’s contribution was made in 2005 to the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia for the Livestock Waste Tissue Initiative, which helps the province’s beef sector assess regular and emergency SRM disposal options and plan for compliance with the new restrictions.

• Alberta: $20 million provincial, $19.8 million federal. Alberta’s contribution went beyond initial funding commitments to offset adaptation costs for the cattle industry and for research into new and innovative technologies that effectively extract value from SRMs.

• Saskatchewan: $7.3 million provincial, $11 million federal.

• Manitoba: $6.9 million provincial, $10.3 million federal.

• Ontario: $6 million provincial, $9 million federal. Ontario is also providing $4 million to the Livestock Mortality Recycling Project to provide transitional support until SRM disposal infrastructure and updated regulations on deadstock disposal are in place.

• New Brunswick: $1.5 million provincial, $2.3 million federal.

• Prince Edward Island: $1.5 million provincial, $2.3 million federal.

• Quebec: $10 million provincial, $10 million federal.

According to the CFIA, provincial governments, stakeholder industry groups, including the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, and the Canadian Meat Council, and rendering operations have provided invaluable leadership during the implementation period to achieve the highest levels of readiness. And renderers appear to be ready.

Renderers Instrumental in Process
Canadian renderers have and continue to expend substantial resources to comply with the new regulation, even if a plant is not handling SRM material. Ryan Reid, project manager, Rothsay, said that in order to meet the regulation, the company’s Dundas, ON, and Truro, NS, plants, which handle ruminant material but not SRMs, had to endure a “massive” flush validation and clean-out, all under the watchful eye of a CFIA inspector.

“It was a major, major undertaking,” said Reid. Prior to the clean-out, the plants had to endure a “flush validation” using rice flour mixed with the raw material to establish a CFIA-approved flush time. In addition, Rothsay’s customers are inspected by CFIA and validating that the ruminant material is SRM-free. This process allows Rothsay to market the non-SRM finished products.

On the SRM side, Reid said Rothsay’s primary objective is to offer transportation services to their customers for “whatever solutions Ontario puts in place.” Currently, in a partnership with Atwood Pet Foods, Rothsay is transporting SRM material to a dedicated rendering plant owned by Atwood. Some raw material is rendered into meal and sent to a landfill 186 miles away while some SRM material is sent directly to the landfill because of the rendering facility’s limited capacity. Rothsay and Atwood are waiting for government funding before increasing the plant’s size so all SRM material can be processed into meal before being sent to the landfill. The resulting tallow from the Atwood plant meets the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, standard of 0.15 percent insoluble impurities and is being sold to a third party for inclusion in feed, which is allowable under the new regulation.

Because of the new regulations, Rothsay is no longer accepting deadstock from haulers, which was about four percent of their total raw material (SRM material accounts for another four percent). Haulers are now rendering the material themselves before taking it to the landfill.

Although Rothsay has not yet received any government funding, the company has spelled out the necessary improvements in contracts with the government and expects them to be finalized very soon.

“Overall, regardless whether it was the right thing to do in the first place, things have gone pretty well,” Reid commented.

On the eastern side of Canada, Sanimax Industries, Inc., was somewhat prepared for handling SRMs, which account for 25 percent of their ruminant material. The company’s Charny, QB, facility was converted to a dedicated ruminant processing plant after BSE was first discovered in May 2003. To handle the SRM material, a dedicated line was installed within the plant, basically creating a new plant within an existing one. The $20 million SRM line is currently only producing cracklings, which are then sent to a landfill about 75 minutes away. Full completion of the facility is expected by year’s end. Sanimax expects to receive about $15 million from the government toward the cost of putting the infrastructure in place to handle the SRM material.

Besides the dedicated line, Sanimax had to dedicate trucks to the collection of SRMS, creating an added expense when using two trucks to service the same area previously serviced by only one.

“It [enhanced feed ban] has created more cost and less value for the finished product,” said Mario Couture, vice president, Sanimax Canada. “It’s a negative.” He estimates the added expenses reflect a loss of between $20 and $25 (Canadian) per head of cattle.

In an attempt to try and add value to the finished SRM product, Sanimax is working with local paper and concrete factories to test the cracklings for use as an energy source. Once the plant is producing meat and bone meal, Sanimax will examine using the finished product as an energy source for their boilers or incinerators. The tallow, which meets the OIE 0.15 percent insoluble impurities level, is being sold in the marketplace.

With regards to working with the federal and provincial officials, Couture shares the same sentiments as Reid.

“We have worked very closely with government and they are very cooperative,” he commented. “I believe they understand that rendering is important in this matter.”

Out west, West Coast Reduction, headquartered in Vancouver, BC, has put their plans in place, beginning with an SRM pick-up service in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and southern British Columbia. The material is transported to the company’s plants in Saskatoon and Calgary, where it is processed into tallow that meets the OIE insoluble impurities standards. The meal is hauled to Coronation, a small town in east-central Alberta.

According to John Rush, district manager of Waste Services, Inc., operator of the landfill, the plan is to mix the SRM meal with contaminated soil from the oil industry using a dedicated bulldozer. The mixture will be buried in a 230-foot deep clay- and synthetic-lined “cell” about the size of three football fields, complete with a leaching system. Any liquid that runs out of the landfill will then be collected and pumped 4,900 feet underground. Rush said the landfill will only accept rendered product, no raw material.

International Report – August 2007 RENDER | back