Annex O-1: Transport Container Verification

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1. Introduction

This section applies to all means of transporting meat and meat products including trucks, vans, marine containers, rail box cars and air plane cargo containers.

2. Transport Container Suitability

Where indicated, the transportation vehicle should be examined for overall suitability for the transportation of meat products. The inside of the transport container is to be clean, in good repair, and free of obnoxious odour. The transport container backed up to the dock is to be considered an extension of the registered plant.

2.1 Legal Basis

The Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 (MIR) have provisions governing the transport of meat products.

MIR 49 No edible meat product shall be transported to or from a registered establishment unless the transport container in which it is transported:

  • (a) is constructed of material that is free of any noxious constituent;
  • (b) has inside surfaces that are hard, smooth, impervious to moisture, in good repair and clean;
  • (c) is capable of protecting meat products and containers thereof against contamination;
  • (d) is equipped, where applicable, to maintain meat products in a refrigerated or frozen state;
  • (e) is equipped, where applicable, to prevent meat products from freezing where freezing could adversely affect them; and,
  • (f) is not being used and has not been used for the transport of animals, control products as defined in the Pest Control Products Act or any other material or substance that might adulterate the meat product.

MIR 2(1) In these Regulations the interpretation of "refrigerate" means to lower the temperature of a meat product to, and to maintain the temperature at, 4°C or lower, but does not include to freeze.

MIR 48(1) No edible meat product shall be shipped from a registered establishment unless the meat product is adequately protected against contamination and deterioration.

3. Inspection Procedures for Transport Containers

The operator shall conduct an inspection of transport containers upon arrival of imported meat products. A check of the inside temperature of the vehicle should be made, temperature logs should be checked, and in the case of refrigerated meat products, the internal temperature should be taken. Refrigerated products are to be maintained at 4°C or less but are not to be frozen. These requirements are even more critical where shippers have chosen to ship loads that contain both frozen and refrigerated products on the same trailer.

For frozen meat products, a physical check of the product and/or temperature log reviews should demonstrate that the product temperature has been maintained during transport to prevent deterioration of the product. Product cartons which are crushed, compressed, stained or have excessive purge at the base of the carton or leaked from the carton should be suspected of temperature abuse during transport. Transport containers must be equipped to maintain product at the appropriate conditions consistent with the product handling instructions. Product labelled "keep refrigerated" and canned meat product must not be frozen during transport.

Transport truck manifests or bills of lading should be reviewed for the transportation of incompatible goods in the same transport container. In those instances where other products are in the same vehicle as meat products, a physical check must be made with regard to their suitability for common transport.

Incompatible goods such as toxic chemicals and pesticides must not be transported with meat products including canned meat products. Freight that is clean and of a non toxic nature (compatible freight) is allowed. A buffer area or partition is recommended between the freight and the meat products to protect the meat product from physical damage. The placement of other freight on top of meat product is not acceptable.

All meat products, including those in cans or jars, must be shielded from contamination. It is recommended that pallets of meat products be wrapped with plastic to protect them from surface contamination and provide stability of the containers during transport.

The transport container for packaged shelf stable meat products need not necessarily be of an impervious material, but must be clean of dirt and residues. Wooden walls, floors, ceilings of containers are acceptable as long as they are clean. Their condition must be comparable with that of the dry storage area of a registered establishment.

Where unsatisfactory conditions in respect of cleanliness, temperature, mixed load, etc. are found, the operator shall report them to the inspector. Unsatisfactory conditions should be considered as grounds for refusing the shipment if, in the inspector's opinion, the wholesomeness of the product has been jeopardized.

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