Solid Waste & Recycling

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Disposing of Mad Cow Disease

The Government of Canada is stepping up efforts to eliminate bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) -- or "mad cow disease" -- from the national herd by removing cattle tissues that, if infected, are ...


The Government of Canada is stepping up efforts to eliminate bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) — or “mad cow disease” — from the national herd by removing cattle tissues that, if infected, are capable of transmitting the disease from animal feed, pet food and fertilizer.

Beginning July 12, 2007, there will be new regulations for handling, transporting and disposing of these cattle tissues, known as specified risk material (SRM). The new regulations will impact the way some waste management workers do their job.

Specified risk material include the skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia (nerves attached to the brain), eyes, tonsils, spinal cord, and dorsal root ganglia (nerves attached to the spinal cord) of cattle aged 30 months or older, and the distal ileum (portion of the small intestine) of cattle of all ages.

Under the enhanced regulations, owners or operators of waste management facilities choosing to accept SRM in any form must apply for a permit from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Permits will only be issued after the facility’s disposal procedures are assessed by a CFIA inspector and meet all requirements. Disposal procedures must prove to either destroy or permanently contain all SRM waste.

In addition to new disposal regulations, a separate permit is required to transport SRM in any form, including cattle carcasses containing SRM. Slaughterhouses will have to properly identify SRM prior to pickup for waste disposal. Waste management facilities will be advised not to accept cattle parts in any form, from anyone who does not possess a permit.

The duration of the permit depends on the frequency of business. For example, permits for commercial operations who frequently handle SRM may be valid for up to one year. Other permits, for isolated SRM disposal needs, may be valid for periods of 30 or 60 days.

To help regulated parties prepare for the coming changes, the CFIA has also developed a series of information brochures for livestock producers, abattoirs, salvagers (zoos, hide strippers, etc.), fertilizer, pet food and feed manufacturers, waste management facilities and transporters.

To order copies of these materials or to locate your local CFIA office, call 1-800-442-2342. The permit application and additional information about the enhanced feed ban is available online at www.inspection.gc.ca/bse

Applications for a permit from the CFIA must be accompanied with:

* All relevant municipal and provincial licenses and inspection reports

* Detailed site plans

* Normal operating procedures and any additional applicable quality assurance programs pertaining to the containment of SRM landfills

* The results of any recent analyses or verifications relevant to SRM containment

Submit copies of these documents with the application to your local CFIA office.


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