By Chris Smith, Food Safety Specialist
The Domestic Meat Inspection Program is a voluntary meat inspection program for provincially licensed meat plants. To conduct meat inspection services in these plants, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture contracts specially trained, third-party meat inspectors from the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc. – Food Inspection Services. These inspection services cover the live animal through to the final products.
The meat inspectors focus on several main categories, including:
- Facility design, construction and maintenance;
- Care and handling of the animals;
- State of the live animal, which may include signs of abnormal behaviour, or a reportable or exotic disease;
- Humane stunning;
- State of the carcass, internal organs, glands, and removal of any abnormalities from the human food chain; and
- State of the meat processing areas and meat products.
The inspector may also conduct tissue testing and antibiotic residue monitoring, and contribute to provincial and federal disease surveillance programs.
Companies licensed under the Domestic Meat Inspection Program have their meat products labelled with their unique license number, such as SK00 or SASK 00. Another option is the inspection legend (Figure 1).
Saskatchewan has 12 licensed abattoirs and meat processing companies.
For information on the Domestic Meat Inspection program and how to join, contact Chris Smith at 306-787-4692.