Alberta modernizes meat inspection regulations

Amendments to Alberta’s Meat Inspection Regulations could mean greater access for consumers to locally produced meat while still maintaining food safety standards, the province says.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry minister Devin Dreeshen has announced regulation changes to give operators more flexibility to meet legislated requirements.

“Alberta produces the world’s best beef, pork, and poultry products, and Albertans want better access to these products,” says Dreeshen. “These common-sense changes will also provide new economic opportunities for Alberta ranchers and provincial abattoirs,” he says.

The changes to the regulation come about as a result of consulting with industry and other stakeholders and include:

  • Increased licensing options for personal use slaughter;
  • Allowing provincially licensed meat facilities to salvage and sell meat by-products; and,
  • Allowing for video pre-slaughter inspections in emergency situations.

“Alberta beef producers have been asking for increased processing capabilities for several years and this is a positive step forward to address the issue,” says Kelly Smith-Fraser, chair of Alberta Beef Producers and rancher at Pine Lake. “We would like to thank Minister Dreeshen for these changes that will give consumers another option to purchase Alberta beef.”

Consumers can now purchase an animal directly from the farm and have the animal slaughtered on-site for their personal consumption, under new licensing rules.

Abattoirs will be able to expand into markets that use meat by-products for human consumption, pet food, or for wildlife bait. Also, abattoirs won’t have to wait for an appointed inspector to arrive in person on-farm to perform an inspection if animal welfare is at stake.

“I applaud the amendments the government has made to the regulations, both as a veterinarian and a cow-calf producer,” says Margitta Dziwenka. “As a veterinarian, I feel that allowing video pre-slaughter inspections in emergency situations is a huge step forward for animal welfare.”

The meat inspection regulation and the Meat Inspection Act have provided oversight for animal slaughter and meat processing in Alberta since 1973. The changes bring Alberta’s meat industry more in line with partners from other provinces, the province says.

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