Changes to meat inspection regulation will give producers more flexibility

Pictured from left: Rancher and veterinarian Margitta Dziwenka, Minister Dreeshen and MLA Armstrong-Homeniuk announce changes to Alberta’s Meat Inspection Regulation.

Amendments to the Meat Inspection Regulation will cut red tape and provide Albertans with greater access to locally produced meat while maintaining food safety.

These changes give operators more flexibility to meet legislated requirements and increase consumer access to high-quality local products.

“Alberta produces the world’s best beef, pork and poultry products, and Albertans want better access to these products. These common-sense changes will also provide new economic opportunities for Alberta ranchers and provincial abattoirs. Albertans value knowing where their food comes from and are proud to support local farm families,” said Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

These amendments modernize Alberta’s Meat Inspection Regulations and align us with our partners in other provinces.

“I’m glad to have worked alongside Minister Dreeshen to support our Alberta beef producers, ranchers, local farms and their families. These are well-thought-out changes that reduce red tape, maintain safety standards and open up additional business opportunities in this sector,” said Grant Hunter, Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction.

The changes come as a result of consultation with industry and other stakeholders and include:

    •    Increased licensing options for personal use slaughter. Consumers can now buy an animal direct from the farm and have the animal slaughtered on-site for their personal consumption.

    •    Allowing provincially licensed meat facilities to salvage and sell meat by-products. As a result, abattoirs will be able to expand into markets that use meat by-products for human consumption, pet food and wildlife bait.

    •    Allowing for video pre-slaughter inspections in emergency situations. 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.

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

"I applaud the amendments the government has made to the regulations, both as a veterinarian and a cow-calf producer. As a veterinarian, I feel that allowing video pre-slaughter inspections in emergency situations is a huge step forward for animal welfare. One of the changes I appreciate, in particular, as a cow/calf producer is the increased access to locally sourced meat products for consumers, while ensuring food safety,” added Margitta Dziwenka, rancher and veterinarian.

Since 1973, the Meat Inspection Regulation and the Meat Inspection Act have provided oversight for animal slaughter and meat processing in Alberta. The legislation also provides authority for abattoir and mobile butcher licensing.

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