Inspection and Grading of Meats and Poultry
- Identify meat inspection levels and agencies
- Define the meat inspection process
- Describe grading regulations for meat
Meat inspection for the domestic animal market is mandatory for beef, pork, lamb, bison, and poultry and is overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). There are two levels of inspection in Canada: federal and provincial. Federally inspected meats can be sold and transported throughout Canada and also exported or sold internationally. Provincially inspected meats can be sold under the following two categories:
- Intraprovincially, which means the meat can be sold only within the province where the harvesting plant is located
- Interprovincially, which means the meat can be sold in a province or territory other than the one in which the harvesting plant is located
Meat grading measures the characteristics of carcasses and classifies them into groups of similar quality, yield, and value, which in turn assists in marketing and merchandizing the products. Grading standards and regulations are set for each species separately through government consultation with each industry. For example, beef grade standards are set by the Canadian Beef Grading Agency, a non-profit organization that relies on recommendations from an industry and government consultative committee to provide data to assist the federal government in setting guidelines. Similar processes are in place for lamb, pork, and poultry.