Three years ago, our industry suffered a major blow when Russia, one of our biggest trading partners, banned the import of pork, beef and turkey raised with ractopamine. China also doesn’t permit the use of ractopamine, and the European Union doesn’t accept meat with ractopamine residues. Together, Russia, China and the EU represent 2 billion potential consumers of our product, which is why the Canadian pork industry developed the Canadian Ractopamine-Free Pork Certification (CRFPC) Program to reassure our export partners and maintain access to these three critical markets. It includes requirements for farmers, feed manufacturers, transporters, slaughterhouses, processors and storage facilities.
If a major deviation occurred (i.e. introduction of a complete feed product on-farm by a feed mill that mistakenly put ractopamine in starter feed bagged product), the affected producer, upon identifying the deviation, would need to report it immediately to his validator and feed mill. The validator and the producer would need to follow proper protocols and contact the provincial CQA coordinator, Javier Bahamon.
Failure to immediately contact the provincial coordinator and resolve the issue through the proper protocols will result in the farm losing its status as a type A facility under the program (pigs cannot be marketed through a federal facility). In addition, the farm would need to undergo a full clean protocol before it could be listed as a type B facility and resume marketing its pigs to a federal facility. As well, the validator risks his certification and the feed mill would be delisted, which would force other producers to find a new feed supplier.
It’s critical to note that Canada exports almost 70 percent of its pigs to more than 100 countries. With approximately 160 countries banning ractopamine, our industry voluntarily withdrew it as a feed ingredient in order to help market our pork in more countries. The loss of any of those markets through the negligence of one producer, one validator or one feed mill could hurt the whole industry in Canada.
Ractopamine can be detected in levels less than one part per billion. In markets with a zero tolerance, that means any detection is too much. Therefore, it requires everyone to take responsibility in following the protocols.
Under the program, there are two types of deviations that can occur in finishing barns:
1. Minor deviation (Section 220.127.116.11 of Annex T): This is an error involving paperwork which the facility has 14 days to correct and submit the proper paperwork to the provincial CQA delivery agent (Javier Bahamon with Alberta Pork).
2. Major deviation (Section 18.104.22.168 of Annex T): This is a more serious error like the one described above. In this case, the facility has 24 hours to correct the error and regain its status by completing the designated protocol under the program. Javier Bahamon can provide specific details on that protocol.
In either case, please note that it is your responsibility and that of your validator to communicate any deviation to the provincial CQA delivery agent immediately. Also, even though you’re complying with the program, you must ensure that everyone you deal with is aware of the consequences of introducing ractopamine to your facility. Failure to do so could hamper your ability to market your pigs, endanger your livelihood and place the entire Canadian pork industry in jeopardy.
Below are some important documents related to the CRFPC program:
1. Overview of responsibilities
2. Producer responsibilities
3. Validator responsibilities
4. Slaughter establishment responsibilities
5. CRFPC annual assessment
6. CRFCP requirements for letter of guarantee and declaration
7. CRFCP validator training presentation
For the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website, click here.
For the official list of commercial feed mills in Canada, click here.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this program, please contact Javier Bahamon at 1-877-247-7675 or email Javier.firstname.lastname@example.org.