Record of Decision - Regulatory Authority to Inspect and Collect Samples

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July 05, 2006

Originator:

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Program

Product

CFIA's Regulatory Authority to Inspect and Collect Samples of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for the purpose of Food Safety

Question or Description of Problem

What is CFIA's Regulatory Authority to Inspect and Collect Samples for the purpose of Food Safety?

Decision

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables that have moved Interprovincially or have been Imported

  • CFIA inspectors have clear authority, under Paragraph 21(1)(b) of the Canada Agricultural Products Act, to inspect any agricultural product and take samples of it free of charge where the inspector believes on reasonable grounds that the Act and the regulations apply.
  • Where fresh fruit or vegetables have moved interprovincially or have been imported, the inspector would be able to exercise that authority to inspect and take samples as part of an inspection program in order to confirm that such movement of fresh produce has taken place in conformity with subsection 3.1 (1) of the FF&V Regulations.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables that are Intended for the Interprovincial or Export Trade

  • CFIA inspectors may also inspect and sample fresh fruit and vegetables that are intended for the interprovincial or export trade, if they have been advised orally by the company of its intention to ship them interprovincially or to export them.
  • Inspection of imported produce may take place at the premises of the primary importer, as well as at subsequent dealers' or retailers' premises within a province. These provisions should be read in conjunction with section 17 of the Canada Agricultural Products Act which permits an inspector to take samples of agricultural products.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables that are Domestically grown within a province for Consumption in that Province

  • The CFIA's authority for inspecting and sampling fresh fruit and vegetables domestically grown within a province for consumption in that province can be found under the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations.
  • This authority is shared with the provincial and territorial governments which are responsible for routine inspections by virtue of their authority over property and civil rights in the presence and matters of local and private nature in the province.
  • CFIA inspectors can inspect and sample domestic fresh fruit and vegetables that are traded within a province where there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of the Food and Drugs Act (e.g., where CFIA has identified potential health hazards, has analyzed and assessed the potential health hazards, and has identified risk management options likely to have the greatest impact on managing or reducing the risk to the public).
  • With the exception of the Quebec and Ontario governments, there are no or limited provincial sampling and testing programs. Therefore, the CFIA, in consultation and collaboration with the provincial governments, could participate in a sampling and testing program for domestically grown fresh fruit and vegetables that are offered for sale within a province.
  • If a violation of the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations has been found, e.g., exceed the prescribed maximum residue limit of an agricultural chemical or pathogen found on fresh produce, the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations give the authority to the CFIA inspectors to investigate the violation at the packing house level and to take more samples of the product found in violation.

Background Information

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