Meat inspection and licensing

Avian Influenza Guidelines for Slaughter Establishments

In light of the recent outbreak of AI in British Columbia, the Ministry has developed a guidance document that is intended for people who work closely with birds and bird by-products in meat processing facilities such as abattoirs and slaughter establishments.

Please refer to the Guidance for Meat Processors Handling Bird Mortalities (PDF 134 KB).

 

Meat Production Modernization

On October 1, 2021, important changes to meat inspection and licensing in B.C. came into effect which create new licence categories, and to allow more modernized inspection approaches.

These updates to modernize meat licensing and inspection in B.C. are in response to consultation feedback regarding the challenges facing B.C.’s meat industry, including capacity issues such as accessing slaughter services and cut-and-wrap businesses to process meat, and a lack of skilled labour. During recent consultations, we received feedback from the public, producers, industry and stakeholders, and heard there is strong support for modernization and increasing access to local meat. We would like to thank everyone who made their voice heard.

For more information on the most recent consultations regarding the September 2020 Rural Slaughter Modernization Intentions Paper (PDF, 1.7 MB), please refer to the Modernizing Rural Meat Production in B.C. What We Heard report (PDF, 1.2 MB).

Meat production and processing

Slaughter establishments in B.C. are either federally registered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or provincially licensed. Slaughter establishments that are provincially licensed are only permitted to sell their product within B.C.  Federally registered establishments are permitted to export their product outside the province.

The B.C. Government is ensuring that meat produced in B.C. is safe for consumers, while providing enough slaughter and meat processing facilities for the entire province. The Meat Inspection Regulation ensures that:

  • Animals are humanely handled and slaughtered,
  • Carcasses are processed in a clean environment, and
  • Meat is packaged and stored in ways that reduce contamination risks.

Provincial slaughter licences

New licences under B.C.’s Graduated Licensing System,
Effective October 1, 2021:

Licence type

Activities permitted

Sales permitted

Geographic scope

# of Animal units

Oversight

Abattoir licence 

Slaughter

(own animals and custom slaughter for other producers)

Retail and direct to consumer

B.C.

Unlimited

Pre and post slaughter inspection of each animal 

Farmgate
Plus
licence

Slaughter 
(own animals and custom slaughter for other producers) 

Retail and direct to consumer

B.C.

1-25

Risk-based
estab-
lishment
inspections and audit of slaughter records 

Farmgate
licence

Slaughter  (own animals only)

Direct to consumer
only

From farmgate, and at farmers markets in the regional district and within 50 km of where the meat is produced 

1 - 5

Risk-based
estab-
​lishment
inspections and audit of slaughter records 

Personal use

No licence required

Slaughter only

None

For producer only

Unlimited

None

Notes: 

• "Animal unit" means a combined animal weight, when measured alive, of 455 kg (1,000 lbs).

• All meat processing, cut and wrap, and sales activities require a Food Premises Permit obtained from a health authority.