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Export requirements for meat

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Preamble

This page and the country specific meat and poultry export requirements in the Export requirements library are not a complete source of information for the exporter. They contain only information regarding veterinary, sanitary, packing, marking, labelling and certification requirements of most countries to which Canada exports meat and meat products.

With regard to the commercial aspect and related documentation, it is strongly recommended that the exporter communicate with Global Affairs Canada (GAC), a specialized broker, the embassy, or a consulate of the country to which export is contemplated.

Before completing any deal, an exporter should ensure that the product is acceptable to the authorities of the importing country. It is the responsibility of the exporter to verify that all the requirements of the importing country are being met. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) only supervises their implementation and certifies accordingly.

For this reason, any person aware of a requirement not indicated on this page or in the Export requirements library should inform the appropriate regional office. This would permit us to verify this information and add it, if applicable, to the other requirements of the country concerned.

Meat establishment licensing and registration requirements

To meet importing country requirements, Canadian establishments which intend to export the meat and meat products to other countries, must only receive, store, process, and/or ship meat and meat product compliant with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). Cold storage facilities (see Policy for cold storages and export certification) which intend to export meat and meat products and/or store meat and meat products intended for export to other countries must be licensed under the SFCR.

Only meat products prepared in accordance with SFCR may be exported and then only if they are prepared according to the requirements of the importing country, are certified accordingly and, when applicable, the registered establishment is on the list of establishments approved for export to the country in question. When applicable, requests for approval should be submitted using Annex I: Application for Establishment Approval. Furthermore, in those establishments which are processing meat products intended for export, the meat products must have originated from a source approved by the country of destination. In some cases (see Export requirements library) a transfer certificate may need to be used to demonstrate that the meat used for processing is eligible for a specific market. Annex J: Transfer certificate for meat products must be used for such purposes.

No meat product shipment shall be exported unless it has received a final inspection and is found satisfactory.

Note

The Certificate of Inspection Covering Meat Products (CFIA/ACIA 1454) has been updated due to implementation of the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) on January 15, 2019.

Animal health requirements

Canadian animal health status

Information on the Canadian animal health status can be found at Terrestrial Animal Diseases. For more information on federally reportable diseases for terrestrial animals in Canada, please visit Reportable Diseases.

In addition, the situation of World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) listed diseases in Canada is available on the World Animal Health Information Database (WAHIS) Interface and in the OIE HANDISTATUS II System.

Some importing countries, for example China, Saudi Arabia, European Union, Brazil, Peru, Egypt, Ukraine, Russia etc. require that meat should not be derived from animals that were slaughtered in an official disease eradication program, and/or premises/zone/compartment of origin of animals should be free from infectious diseases.

To meet foreign country import requirements, the operators must include segregation procedures, acceptable to the veterinarian-in-charge, in their written control programs when meat is derived from animals that are accompanied by the CFIA/ACIA 4206 (Requirement to Quarantine and License to Transport Animals or Things) and/or CFIA/ACIA 1509 (License for Removal of Animals or Things).

As always, but in disease outbreak situations in particular, modifications to the information on import requirements could be made by importing countries without prior notice or restrictions unknown to the CFIA may apply. Under the circumstances, it is important to reiterate that exporters are responsible to ensure that the products destined for export meet the applicable requirements of the countries of destination.

Export requirements for meat by-products not intended for human food and by-products intended for the production of gelatin

This section includes: hides, by-products intended for pet food manufacturing, by-products intended for technical or pharmaceutical use and by-products intended for the production of gelatine.

Terrestrial Animal Health must be contacted for obtaining the applicable requirements, including the certification required. Certification requirements applicable to the various products and the various export markets are available from the district veterinarian. When not available, the respective CFIA area or regional office must be contacted for more information.

It should be noted that the export stamp and the export stickers must not be applied to the shipping containers and that food export certificates (example: CFIA/ACIA 1454) must not be issued for these types of products. Exceptions to that rule will be specified in the section specific to the export market, when applicable.

Animal health restrictions

Please consult the individual country pages on the Export requirements library for details on any restrictions imposed by the foreign competent authorities of importing countries.

Restrictions related to Avian Influenza

The Canadian control procedures to implement in the event of an outbreak of Avian Influenza (AI) are indicated in the Common Procedures Manual administered by Terrestrial Animal Health.

Several countries imposed restrictions on the importation of poultry meat products following the report of AI by a country from which poultry meat is imported.

Available information on AI related requirements established by authorities of importing countries is included in the section specific to the country or was distributed to CFIA area and regional offices.

As always, but in disease outbreak situations in particular, modifications to the information on import requirements could be made by importing countries without prior notice or restrictions unknown to the CFIA may apply. Under the circumstances, it is important to reiterate that exporters are responsible to ensure that the products destined for export meet the applicable requirements of the countries of destination.

Use and control of official certificates, stickers, stamps and seals for export of meat products

Countries importing Canadian meat products require cartons to have an export label affixed or to be stamped. In addition, each shipment must be accompanied by the required certificate. In order to avoid any abuse or attempt at fraud, strict control must be exercised by the inspectors concerning the use and safekeeping of these items. The purpose of the following is to provide guidance in exercising control and to ensure that Canada's credibility is maintained vis-à-vis foreign countries.

Regardless of the control measures adopted, the inspector-in-charge must bear in mind that certificates, stickers, seals, and stamps are official items for which the inspector is responsible.

Issuance of certificates for edible meat products

All meat export forms except poultry meat forms must be mailed to:

Centre of Administration
Floor 2W, Suite 308
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0Y9

Any meat export form that contains poultry, even if it is only one (1) line item, shall be directed to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) office below:

AAFC – Animal Industry Division - Market Information
Tower 5, 4th floor
1341 Baseline Road,
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0C5
Attention: Supervisor Import Control and Data Information Center

Additional certification

Some countries require additional certification. This certification must be made on CFIA official letterhead paper. In all cases (except where otherwise specified) form CFIA/ACIA 1454 must be completed, and the serial number of that document must appear on the additional required certification. The additional certification should be prepared on a single sheet of paper (back to back in case of a two page certificate). If the certification requires more than one sheet, each sheet must bear an original stamp and the initials of the signing veterinarian.

Some countries require additional certification when a meat or meat product is exported to a foreign market for later re-export to a third county. At the request of the exporter/importer, and if all applicable requirements for the third country are met, the certificate in Annex D: Certification in Relation to Japanese Requirements in the case of Japan, or Annex S: Certification in relation to a third country's requirements in the case of another third country, may also be issued. It is important to note that Annex D or Annex S are not issued to comply with an import requirement of the market but simply to facilitate compliance with the third country requirements.

Signature

The original (Part 1) of the certificate CFIA/ACIA 1454 must be signed and stamped. Part 2 and Part 3 are to be stamped only. Only one set of the additional certification must bear the original signature and stamp. If more than one copy bears the original signature and stamp, then the word "Copy" must be stamped on each additional copy.

The official seal of the CFIA (see Annex N: Stamp to be applied on export certificates) must be applied above the signature. Ink of a colour other than black must be used for the stamp and the signature.

It should be noted that only official veterinarians of the CFIA are authorized to sign the above-mentioned documents.

Application of export stickers (CFIA/ACIA 4091)

Export stickers (see Annex M: Official export sticker) shall only be used on products destined for export to Switzerland and Russia under certain circumstances.

Generally, the affixing of export stickers to cartons of meat products destined for storage before export is not permissible. An exception may be made, however, for well identified lots with known destination and for which export certificates have been duly completed pending imminent final loading. The stickers shall be placed over the lid and bottom junction, or over an encircling strap of the carton. This procedure is intended to prevent any unauthorized tampering of the product. The stickers guarantee that the shipment has received a final inspection before export and identifies the shipment to the certification.

European Union (EU) Health Marks

The European Union (EU) requires that all shipping containers be sealed with the health mark. The application of the health mark will be allowed only on products that fully meet the applicable requirements, that is to say EU requirements or member state requirements if the product does not fall under the EU jurisdiction, in eligible establishments, including cold storage establishments.

The CFIA inspector will verify that the establishment's written control program maintains the product eligibility and identification controls throughout the slaughter, fabrication, processing, packaging process, to the point that the EU health mark is applied in a temper evident fashion. As an exemption, in case of pork products health marks may be applied at the eligible cold storage establishments. See European Union (EU) – Export requirements for meat and poultry products for details.

Application of export stamps

All shipping containers of meat products destined for export shall bear the export stamp or export label. The export stamp guarantees that the shipment has received a final inspection before export and identifies the shipment to the certification.

The rubber die of the stamp produces an oval, within which appears the word "Canada" and the number of the establishment. Next to the oval are the abbreviations "Cert. No. Cert." (certificate number), and a space for insertion of numbers (see Annex L: Official stamp for shipping containers).

When shipments are assembled in an approved storage, the inspector-in-charge may have to obtain an export stamp from the CFIA regional office. He or she will have to assure themselves that all the numbers and letters necessary for export stamping have been provided with the stamp.

The numbers to be inserted beneath the abbreviations must agree with those comprising the number of the certificate accompanying the shipment. Therefore, before boxes are stamped, one must verify that the selected number corresponds with the certificate number.

Ordinary ink, preferably black, of the type used to print on paper, cardboard or similar materials, should be used in all cases. Export stamp impressions must be complete, clear and legible, and be applied in a space reserved for that purpose.

In cases where a replacement certificate has to be issued and the number of the previous certificate has already been stamped on the boxes, the number of the previously issued certificate must appear on the replacement certificate. Moreover, the replacement certificate must bear the following mention that it replaces the number of the previous certificate:

"This certificate replaces and supersedes certificate No space (number of the previous certificate) issued on space (date)."

Application of seals

Seals shall be affixed by or under the authority of an inspector as provided in section 287 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR).

Control and custody of inspection certificates

The inspector-in-charge of an exporting establishment must ensure that there is at least a three (3) month supply of certificates in reserve. These certificates shall be safely stored in a locked cabinet.

Orders for new certificates shall be made in the regular manner on form CFIA/ACIA 0262 and should not exceed one (1) year of requirements. The order forms must be sent to the authorized person at each regional office. This person will ensure that the delivery address corresponds either to the regional office or to the address of the inspector-in-charge at the registered establishment.

The serial numbers of the certificates and the date of receipt shall be recorded in a special log book by the inspector-in-charge. See Annex P: Inventory Form for log book to be kept for export certificates. In the case of certificate on which no serial numbers appear (for example: CFIA/ACIA 4566), the applicable controls are verification upon reception of the total number of certificates ordered and the total certificates used in correlation with the corresponding CFIA forms. The inspector-in-charge must send the packing slip (purchase order) to the regional office after verification that the certificates received match with the order.

The authorized person at the regional office shall also register the serial numbers of the official forms CFIA/ACIA 5733 for the United States, CFIA/ACIA 4159 for China, and CFIA/ACIA 1454 for all countries except United States, in the required log book. See Annex P: Inventory Form for examples of information to keep. These log books must indicate the packing slip (or purchase order) number, the date they were received, the serial numbers of the certificates and the name and number of the registered establishments for which the orders were placed.

These log books must be kept on file for a minimum of two (2) years

When a certificate is used, including those which have been voided, Part 2 of CFIA/ACIA 1454, or a photocopy of CFIA/ ACIA 5733, or a photocopy CFIA/ACIA 4159 of the certificate shall be sent to the CFIA National Headquarters.

All export certificates used, issued and voided, Part 3 of CFIA/ACIA 1454, or Part 3 of CFIA/ACIA 5733 and CFIA/ACIA 4159, must be kept on file by numerical order together with all additional certification (annex(s), laboratory reports, etc.) required by the importing country. The certificates must be kept on file for a minimum period of ten (10) years.

Export stickers

General information

Control of export stickers

Strict control shall be exercised over export stickers. A record should be kept of serial numbers of stickers in stock (see Annex P: Inventory Form). Every time stickers are used, the serial numbers shall be recorded with a reference to the serial number of the corresponding export certificate. As with certificates, stickers should be kept under lock and key. Export stickers shall be affixed under the control of an inspector (see Annex Q: Log Book).

Specifications for export stickers

Export stickers are an official form (CFIA/ACIA 4091). Forms Management is responsible to provide each regional office with the applicable specifications for the form. The inspection legend appearing on the export stickers must conform to the dimensions specified in Annex M: Official export sticker. Each export sticker must bear a serial number. Inspectors-in-charge will ensure that the serial numbers do not repeat. The serial number together with the establishment registration number, which is part of the inspection legend, makes export stickers unique. Self-adhesive export stickers must be tamper evident. It is the responsibility of the operator of the establishment ordering self-adhesive export stickers to provide specifications for the paper and for the glue to be used to produce the export stickers. The inspectors-in-charge of the registered establishment will be responsible for specifying which serial numbers are to be used on the export stickers ordered. The inspectors-in-charge will also be responsible for implementing the controls referred to above.

Ordering export stickers

Part I of the order form provided in Annex O: Export Stickers Order Form is to be completed by the operator and presented to the inspector-in-charge.

The inspector-in-charge will review the information and determine if it is complete. The inspector-in-charge will fill out the section reserved for his use by clearly indicating the serial numbers that must be used on stickers to be printed and will authorize the printing of the stickers by signing the order form. A copy of the form will be kept by the inspector in his files and the original will be sent to the regional office along with a purchase order.

An authorized person at the regional office will forward the request and the purchase order to an approved printer (Part III of Annex O: Export Stickers Order Form). The printer will have to make commitments to the effect that he or she will print form CFIA/ACIA 4091 only when orders are received from the regional office. The printer will also be accountable for sending the stickers only as directed by the authorized person from the regional office.

The export stickers will be sent by the printer to the appropriate regional office or at the discretion of the regional director general directly to the inspector-in-charge.

The inspector-in-charge shall verify that the export stickers received match with the order, notify plant management that the stickers are now available and amend the inventory accordingly. The inspector-in-charge must then send the packing slip (purchase order) to the regional office.

The authorized person at the regional office shall register the serial numbers of the export stickers CFIA/ACIA 4091 in the required log book. See Annex P: Inventory Form for examples of information to keep. These log books must indicate the number of the purchase order, the date they were received, the serial numbers of the stickers and the name and number of the registered establishments for which the orders were placed. These log books must be kept on file for a minimum of two (2) years.

Note:

All export stickers are to be paid for by the operator according to the printer's instruction.

The stickers, if ordered through the area office, must be subjected to the same controls. The EU Health mark is subject to the same controls as the stickers.

Control of export stamps

Like any other official stamp, the export stamp shall remain under the control of the inspector-in-charge. At the discretion of an inspector, the stamps are to be applied either by themselves or by a plant employee, under the supervision of the inspector.

Control of seals

The recommendations made under control of stickers apply. See Annex P: Inventory Form and Annex Q: Log Book for log books to be kept for seals. The seal, if ordered through the area office, must be subjected to the same controls.

Orders of export stamps and certificates

Orders for certificates should be forwarded to the regional office. In order to simplify and accelerate the processing of orders, the procedure outlined below must be followed when ordering stamps bearing the meat inspection legend. The procedure listed is the minimum requirement and areas may have additional controls and/or forms to be used.

Responsibility and conservation of stamps bearing the meat inspection legend

Stamps bearing the meat inspection legend must be stored in a sturdy cabinet. The cabinet hinges must be concealed, and the hasps must be mounted such that the screw heads are covered. The cabinet must also be locked with a padlock provided by the CFIA, and the key must remain in the possession of the inspection staff.

If an inspector is available at the start of operations but cannot be present once the operations are completed, the cabinet can be equipped with a secure opening so that stamps can be placed into the cabinet but not taken out.

The complete list of stamps, their use and the locations where they must be applied must be posted inside the cabinet in which the stamps are stored.

The operator must sign a sign-out/sign-in sheet each time a stamp is removed from or returned to the cabinet. It is recommended that the time of sign-out/sign-in be indicated. The operator is also responsible for thoroughly cleaning the stamp and returning it at the end of the shift.

The inspector-in-charge must provide the register for the signatures mentioned above.

Stamp inventory

The monitoring of marking devices (metal stamps, needlepoint legend stamps, matrices for engraving metal, etc.) must be maintained. Inspection staff must conduct a daily inventory of stamps and must carry out ongoing monitoring of the stamps as they are signed out and in, according to the register. In addition, to prove that the inspector is effectively monitoring the inventory of stamps, inspection staff should initial the register.

During quarterly visits, supervisors will perform an inventory check of the stamps. This involves counting the stamps in the cabinet and those signed out, as indicated in the register, and comparing the total number with the available inventory of stamps. They must then compare the results obtained with the number of stamps that should be in the establishment's inventory according to the regional centre. Supervisors should document the inventory check in their report.

Any discrepancies must be immediately investigated. The justification presented for each discrepancy should be documented in a separate report.

Damaged, worn or surplus stamps

Only stamps that give a clear, legible imprint are acceptable for use. Damaged, worn or surplus stamps must be sent, along an accompanying note, to the regional office, which will dispose of them. Stamps from closed establishments must be returned via the regional office.

Lost stamps

To minimize the accidental loss of brass stamps, the handles must be designed in such a way as to reduce the tendency of the stamps to roll off tables, desks, etc.

Each time a stamp is lost, an effort must be made to locate them and the operator and the inspector-in-charge must provide detailed explanations in writing.

Transloading of meat products destined for export

Occasionally, a shipment may be prepared, marked and transported to another licensed establishment for containerization. The applicant forwards a copy of the partially completed Export Application Verification Form – Annex H (CFIA/ACIA 5344) to the inspector at the site of the containerization. It will be the responsibility of the applicant to advise the inspector responsible for the registered facility where the containerizing occurs of the planned time of loading, products to be exported and of the container number. The inspector at the storage facility will verify the loading and contents of the container. Such verification will be relayed by completing the additional endorsement of Annex H (CFIA/ACIA 5344) and returning it to the applicant. The applicant is responsible to forward the form to the signing official CFIA veterinarian.

Products consigned to an in-bond storage (ship stores) located in the country of destination

The following conditions apply:

Meat products exported and returned

For guidance and procedures on the return of exported meat products to Canada please consult the Meat products section of Food-specific import requirements.

With respect to products returned from the United States, more information is available on United States of America – Export requirements for meat and poultry products webpage.

Meat products derived from ruminants - Restrictions related to BSE

Several countries have imposed restrictions on the importation of Canadian meat products derived from ruminants following the report of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada.

Available information on restrictions imposed is summarized in Annex R: Summary of restrictions imposed by importing countries relative to BSE of this section. It is important to note that this information relative to BSE is in addition to the information already available in the section specific to each country which continues to apply. See the Export requirements library for more country specific details on BSE restrictions.

The information provided in this section represents the best effort to inform interested parties on the current situation. In order to do so Annex R: Summary of restrictions imposed by importing countries relative to BSE also includes foreign markets that have not imposed a ban on the import of Canadian products but that have either restrictions or certification requirements regarding BSE when available. Changes to the information provided could be made by importing countries without prior notice or restrictions unknown to the CFIA may apply. Under these circumstances, it is important to reiterate that exporters are responsible to ensure that the products destined for export meet the applicable requirements of the countries of destination.

Specific BSE requirements

Available information on BSE related requirements established by authorities of importing countries is included in the section specific to the country (see the Export requirements library) or is distributed to CFIA area and regional offices.

Beef tongues

When import requirements refer to removal of tonsils, without specifying palatine tonsils, the tongues must be harvested making a cut caudal to (just behind) the vallate papillae (request Annex R-1: Bovine Tongue and Tonsils for details).

Marking requirements

To facilitate the work of all parties involved, an identification mark has been agreed upon to identify products derived from animals aged thirty (30) months or older (OTM). The identification mark (see Annex R-2: Identification Mark: Carcass of Cattle Aged 30 Months or Older), should appear on the products in the case of unpackaged products or on the main panel of the shipping container in the case of packaged products. The size of the mark should be of at least 5 cm; sides in the case of the triangle and height in the case of the numeral. The above marking does not apply to meat products which are labelled as "Only for Domestic Sale in Canada" provided that this statement is next to product description and letter size is same as product description (see Annex R-2: Identification Mark: Carcass of Cattle Aged 30 Months or Older) Operators of establishments where bovine meat products are manufactured are responsible for developing marking procedures, using one of the agreed upon identification marks, or the optional labelling statement, to the satisfaction of the CFIA to ensure that all products derived from OTM animals are identified as required.

As a control measure at a receiving establishment, written confirmation from the operator of the supplying establishment endorsed by the CFIA inspector to the effect that the marking/labelling is conducted in a satisfactory manner should be retained on file and made available on request.

Meat products prepackaged for retail sale on the Canadian market and prepared meat products for retail sale in Canada do not need to bear the markings described above.

Canadian beta agonist-free beef certification program

The CFIA is responsible for certifying that beef exported from Canada originate from cattle that have never been fed and/or exposed to beta agonists. Annex V: Canadian Beta Agonist-Free Beef Certification Program describes the general requirements for the production and certification of beta agonist-free beef for export.

Canadian ractopamine-free pork certification program

The CFIA is responsible for certifying that pork products exported from Canada originate from pigs that have never been fed and/or exposed to ractopamine hydrochloride. Annex T: Canadian Ractopamine-Free Pork Certification Program describes the general requirements for the production and certification of ractopamine-free pork products for export.

Boar, stag and ridgling derived meat - Export market restrictions

Available information indicates that the United States, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and Bermuda permit import of boar meat without restrictions. Identification of the product will need to be maintained as no official information on the acceptance of these products is on record for other countries and that same restrictions may apply.

Therefore, exporters may be authorized to export boar meat when no restrictions prohibiting such exports are indicated in the section specific to the country, at commercial risk, as long as the above-mentioned conditions are met and the exporter is not aware of any prohibitions.

It is the responsibility of the operator to be informed of the importing country requirements if they want to export this type of product, if the importing country has not formally notified the CFIA, and if it is acceptable.

Canadian ractopamine-free poultry certification program

The CFIA is responsible for certifying that poultry products exported from Canada originate from birds that have never been fed and/or exposed to ractopamine hydrochloride. Annex U: Canadian Ractopamine-Free Poultry Certification Program describes the general requirements for the production and certification of ractopamine-free poultry products for export.

Export of meat products to Muslim countries

Some countries may have specific requirements for the slaughter of animals for their meat. Please verify under the importing country requirements. Further information on halal requirements is available through the Industry Labelling Tool.

There are several organizations that offer Halal certification. Canadian companies interested in obtaining Halal certification should contact one of the certification bodies and make sure it is acceptable to the importing country.

General annexes

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