Policy on import (return) to Canada of meat products that were exported from Canada
On this page
- Legislative authority
- Returned meat products exported from Canada
- Policy on meat returns from off shore destinations (all countries other than the USA)
- Return application process for meat return from countries other than the USA
- Possible reasons for return and scenarios surrounding such shipments
- CFIA actions
- Importer actions
Shipments of edible meat product returned to Canada that were originally exported from Canada are subject to the same controls as any other imported meat. As such, import requirements under the Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations, the Health of Animals Act and Regulations, The Food and Drug Act and Regulations apply.
Safe Food for Canadians Regulations
Exception – return to Canada of exported food
22 (1) (b) in the case of an edible meat product, the import is authorized by an inspector and the meat product is immediately delivered to an establishment where it is stored and handled in its imported condition by a license holder and kept in that establishment until an inspector has completed an inspection of the product.
Under the Health of Animals Act, meat is included in the definition of an animal by-product. Animal by-product includes blood or any of its components, bones, bristles, feathers, flesh, hair, hides, hoofs, horns, offal, skins and wool, and anything containing any of those things.
Health of Animals Regulations
This legislation provides authority for the regulation of importation of meat in order to control risks to animal health.
Subsection 41 (1)
41 (1) A person may import into Canada an animal by-product, manure or a thing containing an animal by-product or manure, other than one described in section 45, 46, 47, 47.1, 49, 50, 51, 51.2 or 53, if
- the country of origin is the United States and the by-product, manure or thing is not derived from an animal of the subfamily Bovinae or Caprinae
- the country of origin, or the part of that country, is designated under section 7 as being free of, or as posing a negligible risk for, any reportable disease, any disease referred to in Schedule VII and any serious epizootic disease to which the species from which the by-product, manure or thing was derived is susceptible and that can be transmitted by the by-product, manure or thing, and the person produces a certificate of origin signed by an official of the government of that country attesting to that origin; or
- the by-product, manure or thing has been collected, treated, prepared, processed, stored and handled in a manner that would prevent the introduction into Canada of any reportable disease, any disease referred to in Schedule VII and any serious epizootic disease to which the species from which the by-product, manure or thing was derived is susceptible and that can be transmitted by the by-product, manure or thing, and the person produces a certificate signed by an official of the government of the country of origin that
- (i) attests that the by-product, manure or thing has been collected, treated, prepared, processed, stored and handled in that manner, and
- (ii) shows the details of how it was collected, treated, prepared, processed, stored and handled.
52 (1) Despite anything in this Part, a person may import into Canada an animal by-product if the person produces a document that shows the details of the treatment of the by-product and an inspector has reasonable grounds to believe – based on the source of the document, the information contained in the document and any other relevant information available to the inspector and, if necessary, on an inspection of the by-product – that the importation of the by-product would not, or would not be likely to, result in the introduction into Canada, or the spread within Canada, of a vector, disease or toxic substance.
(2) Notwithstanding anything in this Part, a person may import an animal by-product under and in accordance with a permit issued by the Minister under section 160.
Health of Animals Act
In addition to the definition of an animal by-product, authority to control imported product that is not in compliance with animal health requirements resides in this legislation. (Subsection 18)
Removal or destruction of unlawful imports
18 (1) An inspector or officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that an imported animal or thing has been imported in contravention of this Act or the regulations, is or could be affected or contaminated by a disease or toxic substance or is a vector or that a requirement imposed by or under the regulations in respect of an imported animal or thing has not been met may, by notice, whether the animal or thing is seized or not, order its owner or importer or the person having possession, care or control of it to remove it from Canada or, if removal is not possible, to dispose of it.
(2) The notice must either be delivered personally to the owner or importer of the animal or thing or to the person having possession, care or control of it or be sent by registered mail to the owner's, importer's or person's address in Canada.
(3) If the animal or thing is not removed from Canada, or disposed of, within the period specified in the notice – or, if no period was specified, within 90 days after the day on which the notice was delivered or sent – it is, despite subsection 45(1), forfeited to Her Majesty in right of Canada and may be disposed of as the Minister may direct.
Returned meat products exported from Canada
A shipment is considered exported when it has physically left the country, even if it did not reach the country of destination.
This policy applies to the import of all meat shipments legally exported from Canada to all countries that have remained under official government control (supervision) at all times while outside of Canada, regardless of the reason why the shipment is being returned.
Reasons for the return may include, but are not limited to:
- customer refusal
- changes in market conditions
- voluntary return
- animal disease outbreak
- refusal by foreign competent authority due to non –compliance
- recall by exporter
This policy does not apply to Canadian goods that have left official government control (for example, in foreign commerce), which are not in the original state as exported, or are not in the original intact, sealed, clean and undamaged shipping cartons.
Returned shipments of Canadian meat products are considered to be imported and all applicable import legislation applies.
This policy has been divided into the two following sections:
- meat returns from all off shore destinations (all countries other than the USA)
- meat returns from the United States of America
Policy on meat returns from off shore destinations (all countries other than the USA)
All returned shipments require:
- authorization from CFIA before arrival back in Canada
- prior issuance of an animal health import permit before arrival in Canada and
- delivery to a CFIA registered establishment for inspection by a CFIA inspector
Canadian meat products cannot return to Canada until all applicable documents are reviewed and/ approved by the CFIA inspectorate responsible to issue the OMIC at the time of export and an animal health import permit is issued by the CFIA Centre of Administration (COA).
The appropriate area office where the product will be returned to for re-inspection and the area office where the product was originally produced will be kept informed of the return and all documents shared by the inspectorate responsible to review / approve the application.
Return application process for meat return from countries other than the USA
Requirements for a shipment to be eligible to be considered for return to Canada
Canadian importers must ensure that they have the following information or meet the following requirements before initiating the process to return a legally exported meat shipment back to Canada:
- the applicant must be the consignor/exporter on the CFIA official export meat inspection certificate that the shipment was exported on. If not, the application will be automatically denied
Note: Any variation to this scenario will be assessed on a case by case basis by CFIA.
- the product type being imported must be the same product type that was exported. If not the application will be automatically denied
Note: If the size of the shipment has decreased, the exporter must provide an explanation.
- only sealed transport containers exported from Canada are eligible to be considered by CFIA for return
- Exported with CFIA or establishment seal which is documented on the CFIA Official Meat Inspection Certificate (OMIC)
- Returned with the seal documented on the OMIC or with a seal applied by a competent authority in a foreign country
Documents required for return of shipments
- Application / authorization form to return legally exported Canadian meat product - for CFIA review and approval.
- Foreign government official's declaration for exported Canadian meat products being returned to Canada, if applicable
- Copy of the CFIA OMIC
- Original bill of lading for each container
- Letter from the Exporter (the reason for return must be clearly indicated in a letter from the exporter in English or French)
- Transport and Entry Form 7512, if applicable. (for shipments returning from Mexico with seals changed by US Customs Border Protection (CBP))
- Any foreign official government document in a language other than French or English must be accompanied by an official government translation in either French or English
- Application for Permit to Import (CFIA/ACIA 5083)
Send completed Application / authorization form to return legally exported Canadian meat product along with supporting documents as mentioned in the application and Foreign government official's declaration for exported Canadian meat products being returned to Canada, via e mail to the appropriate area office:
- Western Area: email@example.com
- Ontario Area: CFIA.Ontimportimportation.ACIA@canada.ca
- Quebec Area: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Atlantic Area: CFIA.AtlanticOperations-OperationsAtlantique.Acia@canada.ca
The subject line should include:
URGENT: Return of Canadian meat exported from establishment (number) to (country), presently located in (city), (country)
Possible reasons for return and scenarios surrounding such shipments
Shipment was in transit, did not reach country of destination or other foreign soil with original seals intact.
Shipment has arrived at a port of transit but has not entered the official control of the competent authority. The original seals are intact.
Shipment entered the control of a competent authority on arrival on foreign soil, was refused and remained at point of entry under official control (customs, agriculture) The original seals are intact.
Seal was broken by a competent authority or a third party officially recognized by the competent authority at port of transit and/or at destination and a new seal has been placed.
Shipment left point of entry in foreign country and was refused at receiving establishment. Shipment remained under official control of importing country at all times. If seal changes occurred, they are documented as per scenario C above.
Points to be considered by the importer of returned products
- The applicant must make arrangements to have the seal verification done at the first (sea) port of entry in Canada by CBSA or CFIA before the transport container can be moved to the inspection facility approved for re-inspection.
- The Canadian registered establishment selected for inspection (upon return to Canada) must be a registered establishment with a license approved for the inspection of imported meat and which has the facilities/space/equipment to perform an inspection and is capable of dealing with the defects identified (if applicable).
- Shipments returning that have been refused for processing defects, should ideally return to the processing establishment listed on the CFIA export certificate.
- The approved re-inspection facility cannot break the seal on the transport container as the seal must be verified to be present and intact by the CFIA inspector as per the conditions of the import permit.
The applicant will be informed (e mail/ phone) by the concerned area office if the submitted documentation is considered complete or incomplete/not accurate. The reason for a negative decision will be given.
- If the documentation package is complete, the applicant will be advised by the concerned area office by phone and/or e-mail to apply for an animal health import permit using CFIA 5083 and send the application for permit to import to the Centre of Administration (COA) as follows:
Contact number for the COA: 1-855-212-7695
- If the application to import is accepted, the area representative will submit the complete package received from the applicant and the signed Application / authorization form to return legally exported Canadian meat product to the COA.
- If the application to import is refused, the area representative will submit a copy of the Application / authorization form to return legally exported Canadian meat product to the COA. (allowing COA to close the file in the database)
- Link to animal health import permit application CFIA/ACIA 5083
- The concerned area office will inform the COA, the National Import Service Centre (NISC) and Montreal Import Service Centre in writing that the shipment is approved for return by providing the complete document package endorsed by the appropriate officers.
- The permit application will be reviewed by the National Animal Health Technical Specialist Team and /or Animal Import Export Division as appropriate in order to set import conditions. Once the permit to import is issued, the COA will notify the applicant and the concerned area office by email.
- The concerned area office notifies the CFIA inspector at the inspection facility approved for re-inspection.
- In situations where additional information is required to make a decision regarding a return shipment, the files should be referred to Food Import Export Division. The Policy and Programs Branch officer will contact the Foreign Central Competent Authority on CFIA's behalf.
- The importer or broker must submit the required documents to Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the National Import Service Center (NISC) before arrival in Canada as per regular clearance procedures.
- If a seal check is required at the port of entry, the importer or broker must make arrangements with CBSA for the seal check at the first point of landing. Seal information and conditions for seal verification will be detailed on the animal health import permit.
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