Summary of Revised Meat Regulation

As part of Open for Business, changes to the Meat Regulation were filed recently by the Ontario government and will come into effect on January 1, 2014. Here's a look at some of these changes.

Clarifying when a provincial meat plant licence is not required:

Under the Meat Regulation, prior to January 1, 2014, some businesses not normally considered to be meat plants required a licence. The regulation has been clarified to ensure slaughter plants and processing plants that conduct higher risk processing or significant product distribution are the focus of inspections.

To achieve this, beginning on January 1, 2014, the regulation now includes the following exemptions:

  • Food product exemption - A provincial licence is not required if a business only prepares sandwiches, pizzas, bouillon, edible oil or fat, products containing less than 25 per cent meat.
  • Volume distribution exemption for very small businesses and other businesses, like retail stores, that only perform lower risk activities and whose sales to other businesses are no greater than 25 per cent of their meat product sales or no greater than 20,000 kg of meat annually.
  • Food service exemption for restaurants, caterers, and facilities where the majority of the business conducted is food service (i.e., preparing and serving meals).

The changes clarify when a licence is not required and exempt those businesses that do not require a licence. Operations no longer covered by the Meat Regulation will be subject to public health inspection. Any potential changes to licensing status will be discussed between inspection staff and operators in early 2014.

Allowing inspected meat products from unlicensed or unregistered facility:

Meat plant operators will have the option of receiving inspected meat products from unlicensed facilities such as cold storage facilities if minimum food safety requirements are met. The operator is responsible for ensuring the requirements are met.

Improving animal handling and care:

Effective July 1, 2014, plants will need to have a back-up stunning device, or an alternative stunning method in the event of equipment failure or improper stunning; and appropriate equipment to restrain and euthanize animals that are found compromised, unfit or non-ambulatory in their holding pens or crates. In addition, effective January 1, 2014, rabbits may not be suspended while conscious.

Additional changes

A number of additional changes have been made to reduce regulatory burden, and to provide a clearer, modernized and more outcome-based regulation. Here are some highlights:

  • Allowing portable, temporary or task lighting to meet the lux requirements in a meat plant;
  • Reducing some of the lux requirements for lighting;
  • Removing the requirement for a separate dry storage room (as long as the outcome of keeping dry materials dry, can be met);
  • No longer requiring office washrooms to meet the same construction requirements as washrooms in the plant area (if there is more than one washroom in the building);
  • Rather than requiring freestanding meat plants to have their own washrooms, it is now acceptable to have access to a washroom;
  • Clarifying that a change area does not have to be separate from a processing area in some cases;
  • Removing the need for slaughter plants to have a telephone and workspace specifically for the inspector;
  • Allowing products to be transported in a frozen state rather than requiring a specific temperature;
  • Clarifying that freestanding meat plants can process and sell pet food; and,
  • Removing the requirement for an inedible materials room in slaughter plants if they dispose of inedible material within 24 hours or before the start of operations on the next day.

Amendments to the Fees Regulation

Changes to Ontario Regulation 223/05 (Fees) have been made to reflect the ministry's current practices in charging supplementary inspection fees, i.e., allowing an additional half-hour for transition from pre-slaughter to post-slaughter inspection without charge and clarifying that licensees receive one free day of supplementary inspection per year.

Where to find the amended Meat Regulation

Operators can review the revised O. Reg. 31/05 through e-Laws. Meat inspection staff will assist operators as changes are implemented.

The new food safety requirements are strong, appropriate for the level of risk and workable on the ground. They also support a dynamic and innovative business climate and the continued success of Ontario's meat plants.

The information provided on this page is for summary purposes only. For specific details refer to O. Reg. 31/05 (Meat).

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Author: OMAF Staff
Creation Date: 20 December 2013
Last Reviewed: 30 December 2013