Sponsoring Agency: Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
Deadline Available: Available
Deadline Date (mm/dd/yyyy): 05/04/2021
Size of the Fund: USD $500,000 to $1 Million
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is seeking a tool to detect granulomatous lesions in specific lymph nodes of cattle slaughtered in federally inspected abattoirs.
Over the past century, Canada has made great strides towards eradicating bovine tuberculosis (TB) in this country. All provinces and territories are currently recognized as free from the disease in domestic livestock. One of the most important components of Canada's TB program is surveillance – including checking the lymph nodes of mature cattle for granulomas when they are slaughtered in abattoirs. These granulomas are then submitted for evaluation by CFIA using histopathology and culture (if appropriate). CFIA inspectors visualize and sometimes palpate the lymph nodes and slice into them to determine if they are granulomatous.
The current methodology for detecting granulomas as described above poses a number of challenges. Granulomatous lesions from bovine tuberculosis are rare and often subtle. In order to accurately identify granulomatous lesions manually, there is a requirement for specialized training in what granulomatous lesions look and feel like, and the process is not very sensitive. The high speed of kill lines in big cattle slaughter plants can add a further challenge to this task. The CFIA is looking for innovative ways to improve the detection of these lesions.
Essential (mandatory) Outcomes
Proposed solutions must:
• Be able to perform in the following operating environment:
o the harvest floor of an abattoir that slaughters cattle;
o temperature of 16-38 ⸰ C, ambient humidity; and
o assembly line ""station"" is 92 cm of operating space before infringing on the neighboring stations.
• Be used on cattle over 12 months as only cattle over 12 months of age are targeted for bovine tuberculosis surveillance.
• Be able to differentiate between granulomatous lesions and non-granulomatous lesions in the lymph nodes of cattle carcasses on the rail at a commercial abattoir.
• Be able to identify granulomas with a similar or better predictive value than a human inspector (by palpation and incision) e.g. granulomas that are visible to the naked eye.
• Be able to detect and notify an operator/inspector that a sample needs to be taken within the time allowed by a high speed line. Line speed is dependent on the class of animal being slaughtered. High line speed plants in Alberta slaughter between 285-339 steer/heifers or between 265-310 cows/bulls an hour.
• Typical inspection times for lymph nodes:
o The inspector incises and observes the cut surfaces of parotid, medial retropharyngeal, and mandibular lymph nodes (head).
o The inspector observes the lateral retropharyngeal (atlantal) lymph nodes (head). Routine incision of these lymph nodes is not required.
o The inspector observes the hepatic lymph node (viscera). Routine incision of this lymph node is not required.
o On normal speed (not high speed lines) these additional visceral lymph nodes are checked:
right and left tracheobronchial (incised)
cranial and caudal mediastinal lymph nodes,
mesenteric lymph nodes
hepatic lymph nodes are incised
• Perform the initial determination (granulomatous vs. non granulomatous) without human assistance.
• Maintain the necessary sanitary condition of the cattle carcass destined for the food chain.
Multiple grants could result from this Challenge.
• Phase 1:
o The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 Grant resulting from this Challenge is : $150,000.00 CAD
o The maximum duration for any Phase 1 Grant resulting from this Challenge is : 6 months
o Estimated number of Phase 1 grants: 2
• Phase 2:
o The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 Grant resulting from this Challenge is : $1,000,000.00 CAD
o The maximum duration for any Phase 2 Grant resulting from this Challenge is : 24 months
o Note: Only eligible businesses that have completed Phase 1 could be considered for Phase 2.
• Estimated number of Phase 2 grants: 1
o This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to award any grant for the total approximate funding. Final decisions on the number of Phase 1 and Phase 2 awards will be made by Canada on the basis of factors such as evaluation results, departmental priorities and availability of funds. Canada reserves the right to make partial awards and to negotiate project scope changes.
Solution proposals can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:
• for profit
• incorporated in Canada (federally or provincially)
• 499 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees
• research and development activities that take place in Canada
• 50% or more of its annual wages, salaries and fees are currently paid to employees and contractors who spend the majority of their time working in Canada
• 50% or more of its FTE employees have Canada as their ordinary place of work
• 50% or more of its senior executives (Vice President and above) have Canada as their principal residence
More information at: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/101.nsf/eng/00132.html