Canadian Import and Interprovincial Requirements for Honey - Overview
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This information is intended to provide an overview of federal requirements grade and standard, prescribed containers and labelling for the preparation and distribution (import and interprovincial) of products covered by the Honey Regulations.
Currently, honey is the only product regulated by the Honey Regulations. Bee products such as honeycomb (comb honey), flavoured honey, royal jelly, bee propolis, and bee pollen fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drugs Act. Depending on the intended use of some of these products, including honey, they may also fall under the Health of Animals Regulations. Please see AHPD-DSAE-IE-2001-3-5 (Bee Products)
This is not intended to replace any federal regulations; it is recommended to consult the appropriate set of regulations before using any information.
If you wish to import honey, please ensure that the following points are respected:
- Appropriate Grade and Standard
- Prescribed Containers
- Correct Labelling
- Health and Safety Requirements
- The load is accompanied by an Import Declaration (CFIA/ACIA 4560) form duly completed in duplicate by the importer or his representative, containing the following information:
- name and address of the manufacturer, exporter, importer and consignee;
- common name, brand name, grade and number of shipping containers;
- the number, size, kind, and net weight of containers, production codes; and
- a statement that the honey meets the regulatory requirements for food products imported into Canada, in particular:
- is not adulterated,
- is not contaminated,
- was obtained from sound raw materials in accordance with good manufacturing practices,
- was prepared under sanitary conditions, and
- was, at the time of shipment, sound and fit for human consumption.
Exemptions - Points 1, 2, 3, and 5 do not apply if the import:
- weighs 20 kg or less;
- is part of an immigrant's effects;
- is consigned to a national or an international exhibition, weighs 100 kg or less, and is not intended for sale in Canada;
- is carried on any means of transportation for use as food for the crew or passengers thereof; or
- is imported from the United States onto the Akwesasne Reserve for use by an Akwesasne resident.
As part of the Good Importing Practices for Food (GIP), importers are encouraged to implement a quality assurance program to help them ensure the products they import comply with Canadian regulations. For laboratory testing, it is recommended to use laboratories accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), or to ISO/IEC 17025, General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories. The analytical method for the specific commodity must be included in the laboratory's current scope of accreditation and the importer should specify that the testing is for regulatory purposes.
- Standards Council of Canada - Scopes of accredited laboratories showing test names, matrices and methods of analysis
- Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation Inc. (CALA).
Due to a poor compliance history, honey imported from certain countries is subject to a hold and test program as outlined in the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS). A compliance assistance fee may apply as prescribed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice. Importers may be asked to demonstrate all country origins of the honey being imported.
Importers of honey are required to pay a fee per shipment for the verification of the import declaration, as prescribed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice. Import fees are payable by the due date shown on the client's monthly statement. Clients should contact CFIA Accounts Receivable to arrange payment options.
CFIA Accounts Receivable
P.O. Box 6199
1100 Main Street
Moncton, NB E1C 1H4
For questions on documentation required by the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency), please contact you local CBSA office.
Import quotas or permits do not apply to honey at this time.
If you wish to ship domestically prepared honey interprovincially, please ensure that the following points are respected:
- Prepared in a Registered Honey Establishment (under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency)
- Appropriate Grade or Standard
- Prescribed Containers
- Correct Labelling
- Health and Safety Requirements
Exemption A - Points 1, 2, 3, and 4 do not apply if the honey:
- weighs 20 kg or less, OR
- is consigned to a national or an international exhibition, weighs 100 kg or less, and is not intended for sale in Canada.
Exemption B - Points 1, 2, 3, and 4 also do not apply if:
- the honey is packed in bulk containers,
- labelled with the name and address of the producer or packer, and
- is shipped directly to a registered establishment for the purpose of colour classification, grading, repacking or reprocessing.
Grade and Standard
Section 5 to 8, and Schedule I of the Honey Regulations set out the requirements on grading, compositional standards and colour class for honey.
The grade names are: Canada No. 1, Canada No. 2, and Canada No.3. For imported honey sold in original containers the grade names are similar to that of domestic product, except the word Canada must be omitted, and the word Grade must be added (e.g. Grade No.1).
Prescribed or standard container sizes, which must be used are indicated in Section 29(2) and 30(2) of the Honey Regulations. Prescribed containers refer to container net quantities.
It is the registered establishment or importer's responsibility to comply with all labelling requirements.
- Honey Regulations, Section 35 to 37, and 47.
- Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising - Chapter 12 - Honey
- Nutrition Labelling
- Food Allergens
Health and Safety Requirements
It is the registered establishment or importer's responsibility to comply with all health and safety requirements as prescribed in the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations and the Honey Regulations.
- Division 15 of the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) sets out the maximum residue limits (MRLs) permitted for veterinary drugs, and heavy metals.
- Health Canada has both Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) and recommended safe Working Residue Levels (WRLs) for a number of veterinary drugs approved for use in other species that may be detected in domestic or imported honey.
- Health Canada has recommended safe Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for a number of pesticides approved for use in beekeeping that may be detected in domestic or imported honey.
Registered Honey Establishments
Regulated product shipped interprovincially, exported or which bear the Canadian grade mark must be prepared in an establishment registered with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Contact your regional Canadian Food Inspection Agency office for further information on registration requirements. A list of registered honey establishments is available upon request.
Import and Interprovincial Inspection: Inspection is not obligatory for honey involved in an import or interprovincial shipment.
Administrative Inspections: At any time, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency may randomly inspect any honey to ensure that minimum requirements (grade and standard, prescribed containers, labelling and health standards) are met. Non-compliant product will be detained until it meets regulatory requirements, or if imported, may be ordered out of the country.
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