The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspects and certifies all meat shipments from the United States before the meat is exported to Canada. As an additional measure to verify the safety of US meat, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts random inspections of incoming meat shipments.
As of May 16, 2011, importers and brokers of meat and meat products from the United States can use the CFIA Automated Shipment Inspection Status Search Tool (ASISST) [link to online tool] to find out if their meat shipment requires CFIA inspection.
- This inspection decision will be available via ASISST only after a shipment has cleared Canadian custom and notification from the Canada Border Services Agency has been received.
- ASISST can be used only for those meat shipments presented for electronic release using the CFIA Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
How to use ASISST
To perform a search in ASISST, simply enter the shipment’s 14-digit transaction number or an Official Meat Inspection Certificate (OMIC) number and hit enter. The page will display the following information for each transaction number:
- OMIC number
- Control Number (MCAP number)
- Inspection Status (Yes or No)
- Registered Inspection Establishment Number, if it is a full inspection
You will receive an error message in ASISST
- if you enter the wrong number,
- if the CBSA has not yet released the shipment, or
- if it is a paper transaction.
In these cases, do the following:
- if you entered the wrong number, re-enter it correctly
- if the CBSA has not yet released the shipment, you can re-enter the number after you have received the release confirmation via the RNS code 08 from CBSA
- if it is a paper transaction, contact the Meat Import Control Centre at 1-877-682-5191 to obtain your inspection instructions.
If a shipment is selected for inspection, you will receive, in ASISST, the number of the registered inspection establishment where the carrier is to report. For shipments that do not need an inspection, a print screen of the ASISST results page is acceptable for you to present to registered establishments for their Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems. For shipments that are assigned as "skip lot", you are required to forward the original certificates, within 10 days, to the National Import Service Centre. For shipments assigned for "full inspection," the original certificate needs to accompany the shipment to the registered inspection establishment.
ASISST will retain inspection instructions for 30 days only. Searches performed on transactions more than 30 days old will display a result of “Inspection status not available - Shipment entered Canada more than 30 days ago.”
NOTE: ASISST has been prepared for the convenience of importers and brokers of meat and meat products from the United States and has no official sanction. For all purposes of interpreting and applying the law, users should consult Canadian acts and regulations.
If ASISST is unavailable, contact the CFIA Meat Import Control Centre at 1-877-682-5191. If the EDI is not working, contact the National Import Service Centre at 1-800-835-4486.
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