Specified Risk Material Workshop

by Sandy Larocque
On behalf of the Manitoba Goat Association, I attended this workshop in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This was the second last of a group of meetings held across Canada in every province. There were over 50 participants in this workshop from individual producers, producer associations, processors, renderers, alternative technology providers as well as municipal, provincial and federal government agencies present.
An introduction to the two day workshop was given by Dr. Allen Preston, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. He stated that the disposal of specified risk material is a problem that is not going to go away and is a very real and pressing issue. He also stated that containment is not destruction.
Workshop Highlights
  • Specified Risk Material (SRM) includes dead stock not just the required removal of specified material.
  • New regulations are being drawn up that define SRM’s and their disposal. These regulations are going to be a concern to every producer of any livestock entity as well as municipal, provincial and federal governing bodies.
Goals of these regulations:
  1. To have 90% of SRM’s controlled
  2. To do something useful with this SRM material
  3. To deal with the specific TSE problems in cervids, sheep and goats
  4. To identify foreign diseases
Sergio Tolussa, from CFIA, talked about Canada’s feed ban and the proposed enhancements to the Regulatory Framework which would bring about the changes mentioned above.
The intent of the enhancements are:
  •  To remove SRM’s from feed and fertilizer supply chains
  •  Control the disposal of SRM’s to prevent exposure to BSE/TSE from other pathways
The rationale for this is:
  •  To remove specific risk material from the human food chain
  •  Increase surveillance for BSE/TSE
  •  Remove SRM tissue from animal food
  •  Primarily animal protective measure

One concern is that currently there are no tests in place to effectively test feed for banned materials for compliance. 

The proposed amendments prohibit SRM’s in animal feed, pet food and fertilizers.
The scope of the new proposed SRM legislation would be to have a permit to remove, receive, process and use and SRM designated materials, unless destruction would be by incineration or another method that will ensure that the SRM or carcass will not be used as food for humans or animals and will not enter the environment in such a way that it could contaminate any water or food supply.
It would:
  • Prohibit the use of livestock feed proteins from bovine SRM’s-other ruminant TSE’s and non-food animals (road kill, zoo animals, research animals, etc.)
  • Prohibit use in commercial fertilizers and fertilizer supplements (including compost) of protein derived from bovine SRM’s
  • There would be fertilizer requirements such as:
    • Labeling
    • Warning statement
    • Lot numbers on packaging
    • Mandatory registration of fertilizer/supplements potentially containing animal or plant material.
Chronic wasting disease was discussed at length and full payment for testing is provided for Manitoba’s elk farmers in an effort to eradicate this disease from the province.
There was also a lot of discussion about the fact that if Canada does pass these new regulations, would there be a ban on products from other countries that do not have the same standards in effect?
There was presentations from various alternative technology providers about the products that their companies are developing to deal with the problem of SRM’s and carcasses. Most of these presentations were incenatory devices that completely destroyed the material at tremendously high temperatures.
Composing was discussed as well.
It was discussed that the geographical nature in Manitoba made it quite evident that a MADE IN MANITOBA solution was the only way this will work.
Overall, this was a very important workshop that made us all aware that agriculture as everyone has known it in Canada is changing. It was disappointing that more of the processors weren’t at the workshop but there was a great deal of discussion and problem solving along with networking with other agriculture and government personnel.