Notice to Seed Laboratories - REGAL program: Alternative Service Delivery for Testing of Grain Exports

August 3, 2017 – Ottawa, ON - The demand for laboratory testing to support phytosanitary certification has increased because of new trade markets and new import regulations related to plant pests and pest carriers. Canadian seed and grain industries have expressed a critical need to improve the time it takes to complete sample testing to obtain phytosanitary certification for export markets.

In order to provide better service, the CFIA is proposing to authorize Canadian accredited seed laboratories and Canadian ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratories to test grain export shipments for weed seed, percent soil and live insects. The program will be referred to as the REGAL (Recognition of Export Grain Analysis by Authorized Laboratories) program. This option will be modelled on the successful arrangement under which authorized laboratories test canary seed destined for Mexico. REGAL is also in alignment with a partnership initiative between CFIA and the Canadian Grain Commission designed to improve operational efficiencies and service delivery to the grain industry at port locations.

Under this program:

  • Laboratories authorized by the CFIA will be permitted to test grain shipments of all types of crops being exported to India and China. Authorized laboratories will also be permitted to do the same for a single company shipping grain by rail to Mexico.
  • The option to have grain tested by an authorized laboratory will be voluntary for exporters.

The CFIA will begin authorizing private laboratories and offer the service to industry in fall 2017.

Depending on the results of the REGAL program, the CFIA may seek to authorize laboratories to test grain samples all export shipments to additional countries.

The Seed Laboratory Accreditation and Audit Protocol (Seed LAAP) outlines a long-standing CFIA-administered program whereby private laboratories carry out tests for seed certification. This program for the grain industry will be consistent with other existing alternative service delivery arrangements under which laboratories provide testing services for a fee of their choice. The actual test required for phytosanitary certification, whether it is an analysis for weed seed, for live insects or of soil, is very similar to purity testing for seed certification. The CFIA has testing protocol and program documentation that defines the testing requirements for this program. Accredited Seed Labs or ISO/IEC 17025 laboratories that want to participate will be expected to implement testing protocol and program requirements.

The CFIA will oversee the REGAL program with authorized laboratories. The CFIA intends to use existing arrangements and programs to authorize laboratories, including proficiency testing. Laboratories interested in this initiative will have opportunities to provide input prior to and during the implementation of the program.

Information for use in business planning:

  • In 2015–2016, the CFIA analyzed 12,832 samples of grain exports for phytosanitary certification that were destined for India, China and the one company shipping to Mexico by rail.
  • In 2015–2016, the CFIA analyzed 40,527 samples of grain exports for phytosanitary certification that were destined for all countries and for all uses.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact the CFIA by email at SSTS@inspection.gc.ca.

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