Do the changes to the Meat Regulation affect my business?
Overview of Amendments to O. Reg. 31/05 and Useful Information for Operators
Changes to the Meat Regulation are effective January 1, 2014.
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Changes have been made to Ontario's meat inspection regulations. These changes support food safety for the public; clarify that the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food's (OMAF's) role is the inspection of slaughter plants and higher risk meat processing at freestanding meat plants; and make it easier for businesses to comply with the regulations.
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. In addition, animal welfare continues to be a key focus and priority, therefore we are making changes that will improve animal handling and care standards at slaughter plants.
What are the changes?
The changes to the Meat Regulation:
All the changes are effective January 1, 2014, with the exception of two animal welfare amendments.
This document is for summary and information purposes only. For specific details refer to Ontario Regulation 31/05 (Meat). The regulation may apply differently than indicated above in specific situations.
Regulating the Right Business
All businesses handling meat in the province of Ontario are regulated by municipal health units, provincially by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) or federally by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The changes to the Meat Regulation clarify OMAF's role in the inspection system. The amendments reflect OMAF's role-inspection of slaughter plants and higher risk meat processing plants. These are businesses that require the ministry's focus as they distribute a significant portion of their meat products through wholesale markets or perform higher risk meat processing activities. The public health unit's role continues to focus on food premises, those businesses that serve the general public.
Three amendments clarify when a provincial meat plant licence is not required:
Food Product Exemption
A provincial licence is not required if a business only prepares:
Volume Distribution Exemption
Businesses may wholesale a small portion of meat products without requiring a provincial licence. A business is exempt from licensing if the business;
Food Service Exemption
Businesses are exempt from licensing if the majority of the business' sales are meals or meal portions prepared for immediate consumption on the premises or elsewhere. This means that a restaurant or caterer would not require a provincial licence if more than 50 percent of their business is preparing meals.
Operators May Receive Inspected Products From Unlicensed Facilities
Meat plant operators now have the option of receiving inspected meat products from unlicensed facilities if minimum food safety requirements are met. The operator receiving the products is responsible for ensuring the following requirements are met:
Animal Handling and Care
The amendments strengthen animal welfare requirements in slaughter plants and bring provincial requirements in line with national and international standards. The four changes are as follows:
Several other amendments were made to reduce burden on meat plant operators and create a more flexible regulation. Examples of these changes include:
Where can I get information and help?
OMAF staff are here to help and answer all your questions, as the changes to the regulatory requirement come into effect.
Resources and materials are also available and staff will work closely with you to provide education and advice.
Resources available to operators include:
Do you still have questions about the changes to the Regulation?
OMAF area managers will gladly answer your questions. To reach your area manager, please page him or her at 1-800-263-1420 and ask for the manager by name. You can also call your manager directly at:
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300