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Procedures for the use of Official Meat Inspection Certificates (OMIC)

On this page

  1. Official Meat Inspection Certificate (OMIC)
  2. Instructions for completing certificates
  3. Australia and New Zealand
  4. Document validation of imported meat and meat products shipments
  5. Acceptable and unacceptable OMIC
  6. Refused Certificates
  7. Replacement of the OMIC

1. Official Meat Inspection Certificate (OMIC)

OMICs for exporting meat products to Canada must be elaborated and authenticated during the procedure of approving the foreign country meat inspection system. The standard form of the certificate is shown in Official Meat Inspection Certificate Form (for all countries other than the United States).

It is the responsibility of the competent authority responsible for meat inspection of the exporting country to customize and reproduce the certificate. Only the authenticated OMIC shall be used for exporting meat to Canada.

Except for the United States, all text appearing on the OMIC, including attestations, data entry box titles as well as all shipment data, must be printed in English, French and at least one of the official languages of the exporting country. For the United States, the certificate is printed in English.

The name of the country, the official country stamp/crest and the name of the competent authority responsible for meat inspection of the exporting country must be printed between box number 3 and box number 4, just above the title "Official Meat Inspection Certificate for Exporting Meat Products to Canada".

The certificate can be reproduced on different sizes of paper (for example: 21.5 cm × 28 cm or 21 cm × 30 cm). If more than one sheet of paper is used for a single certificate, each sheet must contain the entire certificate number, the name and original signature of the official veterinarian, the date of signing and the official stamp. Attestations may require optimal sheets. There may not be enough space on the OMIC if there are additional animal health related attestations. For available options consult instructions for the use of box 17, in section 2.2 (Box No. 17).

If a multi-part (carbon copies) certificate form is used, then the word "original" must be printed on the original certificate and additional multiple copies must have either the word "copy" or "duplicate" printed on them.

The ink colour used for the signature and official stamp (if not embossed) must be different from that used to print the original certificate.

The certificate number in box number 3 must be a sequential number immediately following the country code (for example: AUS 0000). Refer to the list of International three letter country codes. This same number must be stamped on all shipping cartons of product covered by that certificate unless shipping marks are used. Refer to the Use of Shipping Marks for more details.

Some countries may add vertical lines between item number 11, item number 12, item number 13, or item number 14.

Any other modification of the authenticated OMIC will result in the invalidation of the certificate and consequently the refusal of the shipment.

2. Instructions for completing certificates

2.1

American exporters seeking guidelines for completing export certificate "Food Safety and Inspection Service" (FSIS - Form 9135-3) should refer to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) FSIS "Export Requirements for Canada". American exporters should also consult the following section, since the information to be certified will correspond with the FSIS export certificate even where the numbering of boxes and items differ.

2.2

The following box numbers refer to the box numbers on the OMIC format presented in Official Meat Inspection Certificate Form (for all countries other than the United States):

Box No. 1: Name and address of the exporter.

Box No. 2: Name and address of the importer.

Box No. 3: The certificate number, immediately following the country code. Refer to the list of International Three Letter Country Codes. Example: International three letter country code 00001. The certificate number should be printed or stamped; handwritten certificate numbers are not acceptable. Sometimes, the International three letter country code may not precede the export certificate number. In this case, it could be captured in another box separately on the export certificate.

Box No. 4: Slaughtered at: Official number, name of the establishment and the country where the animals were slaughtered and from which the meat in the shipment originated. More than one establishment may appear in this box, depending on the meat products being certified. The establishments may be located in countries different from the country issuing the certificate. All slaughter plants must be eligible to export meat products to Canada.

Box No. 5: Carrier: Name of the carrier, name of the vessel and the voyage number, name of the airline and the flight number, or name of the trucking firm, as applicable.

Box No. 6: Port of loading: Name of the port where the meat product was loaded for export to Canada.

Box No. 7: Date of departure: The date when the meat product left for Canada.

Box No. 8: Processed at: Official number, name of the establishment and the country where the meat product was processed (for example, cutting, curing, cooking). More than one establishment may appear in this box, depending on the meat products being certified. In these instances, the appropriate processing establishment number must also be entered, preceding the product description under item 13, for each product/item line. All processing establishments producing product on this certificate must be eligible to export meat products to Canada and they must all be listed on the certificate.

Box No. 9: Port of landing: The name of the Canadian port where the meat product will be entering Canada.

Box No. 10: Number of exporting establishment: The number of the eligible establishment from where the meat product is shipped.

Box No. 11: Shipping marks: see Use of Shipping Marks. If the OMIC number is being applied on each shipping container in the shipment as the reference to the appropriate OMIC, it is not necessary to enter it in box 11.

Unused space must be crossed out.

Box No. 12: Number and type of packages: The number and the type of packages (shipping containers) used to ship the meat products (for example, combos, cartons, drums). If carcasses are shipped, then the word "carcasses" should be entered after the number.

Unused space must be crossed out.

Box No. 13: Description of the meat products: Where more than one establishment is entered in box number 8, "Processed at", the appropriate processing establishment number must be entered, preceding the product description of each product/item line.

In the case of unmarked meat product, the product description should be: "unmarked (name of the meat product)".

For example: Unmarked Boneless Beef

In the case of hermetically sealed containers, commercially sterile or pasteurized (cans, retortable pouches), the product description, the number and weight of hermetically sealed containers in the shipping carton are required.

For example: Corned Beef 05103 N (24 × 340 g)

In all cases, the correct description of the meat product must be the same as the one on the shipping carton. In the case of a beef carcass, a complete side, a hind quarter, a front quarter, a primal cut or a sub-primal cut:

  1. if the product is graded, the grade name or grade symbol must be part of the product description; or,
  2. if the product is ungraded, the words "ungraded beef" must be part of the product description (for more details, see Grade requirements for imported meat products).

In the case of graded whole poultry carcasses, the common name must be accompanied by the grade designation in the product description on the OMIC as well as on the label. The common names to be used are listed in the Standards for Poultry Carcasses of the Canadian Standards of Identity Volume 7, Meat Products.

In the case of ungraded whole poultry carcasses, the product must be described as "Ungraded" followed by the common name. The label does not have to specify that the product is ungraded. The common names to be used are listed under Standards for Poultry Carcasses in the Canadian Standards of Identity Volume 7, Meat Products.

For meat products shipped under the Alternative Packaging Procedure and shipping marks see Use of Shipping Marks.

Unused space must be crossed out.

Box No. 14: Net weight: The net weight of each category of meat product/product line can be indicated in metric and/or imperial units. The weight units must be entered, following the amount, or, in the case of American certificates, the appropriate weight unit box must be ticked off.

Unused space must be crossed out.

Box No. 15: Container number: Number of the transport container into which the shipping containers of the meat products were placed in the country of origin and are being transported to Canada.

Box No. 16: Official Seal no(s): The number of the foreign official meat inspection seal which is applied to the transport container, trailer, railway car, truck, etc., in the country of origin. All access entries into transport containers must be sealed, when seals are required. Official seals are required on all shipments of meat and meat products imported to Canada from all countries other than the United States. For requirements with respect to the use of official seals, see Use of Official Seals.

Box No. 17: Additional certification: The additional statements/attestations which may be required for the purposes of animal and/or public health. The required additional country and product specific statements/attestations can be found in Countries from which commercial importation of meat products is permitted. The attestations must appear in English, French and in at least one of the official languages of the country of origin from where the meat products are being certified for export to Canada. The appropriate attestations are to be inserted in box 17 of the certificate or be provided in the form of an annex to the OMIC, on the competent authority's letter head paper, with reference to box 17.

If the Annex option is used, each separate sheet should contain the entire certificate number, including the international three letter country code, date, typed name and the signature of the official veterinarian and the official stamp. The bottom of each page shall be numbered as follows: (page number) of (total number of pages).

Unused space in box 17 must be crossed out.

Box No. 18: The attestations as indicated in Official Meat Inspection Certificate Form (for all countries other than the United States), except where a specific agreement exists with some countries: the date on which the certificate was issued and signed, the signature of the official veterinarian. The ink used for the signature must be of different colour from the colour in which the certificate text is printed.

Printed name: The name of the official veterinarian who signed the certificate must be clearly and legibly printed or typed on the certificate in close proximity to the signature.

Box No. 19: Official stamp: The official national foreign meat inspection stamp must be applied in this box. The stamp should be embossed, or if applied by stamp, in a colour different from the colour in which the certificate text is printed.

Note: Unused space designated for item 11, item 12, item 13, item 14 and item 17 must be crossed out to avoid unauthorized additions to the products/items being certified after signing of the certificate.

3. Australia and New Zealand

The Australia and New Zealand Electronic Certificates (E –cert) are automatically validated by the Import Control Tracking System (ICTS). The CFIA has access to Australian and New Zealand certificates, in an electronic form, issued by the foreign competent authorities. The Import Inspection Report (IIR) is populated with certificate data and the required public and animal health attestations. Note that the NISC will not validate for customs clearance any shipments for which the OMIC's data is not registered with the ICTS. In this event, the importer should contact the Australian and New Zealand authorities.

4. Document Validation of Imported Meat and Meat Products Shipments

Imported meat and meat products to Canada must be cleared by the NISC before the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers allow entry of the consignments into Canada.

In the case of Japan, two export certificates, the OMIC issued by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Inspection and Safety Division and the Export Quarantine Certificate issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, must be presented for clearance. If one of these two documents is missing or is incomplete, the shipment shall be refused entry.

It is the responsibility of the importers/brokers, to submit the required documents to the NISC for processing of imported meat shipments.

4.1 CFIA National Import Service Centre

See the National Import Service Centre Web site for more information.

4.2 Documentation Requirements

The CBSA will refer all shipments of meat products to the CFIA for decision before allowing the product to enter Canada except as described in the Procedures for handling in bond shipments.

For commercial shipments of meat products, the following documents must be presented to the NISC for processing and clearance:

  1. CFIA/ACIA 5272 "Request for Documentation Review"
  2. a copy of the original OMIC
  3. for Japan, copies of the original OMIC and Export Quarantine Certificate
  4. if applicable, the Animal Health Import Permit issued by the CFIA Center of Administration (COA)
  5. if applicable, the grading certificate for United States graded poultry carcasses

The above documents can be faxed to the NISC.

If there are errors, omissions, missing required documents etc., a Rejection Notice or the Request for Release Approval stamped "Refused CFIA/ACIA refusé" is returned to the custom broker or importer. For acceptable documents, the Request for Release Approval cover sheets will be stamped by the CFIA, to indicate that the certificate and documents have been cleared by the CFIA and the shipment may enter Canada. The importer will be invoiced the applicable fees as per the CFIA Meat Products Inspection Fees, Part 10, table 1 of section 5.

5. Acceptable and Unacceptable OMIC

The OMIC must be complete, accurate, and legible to be acceptable. Handwritten copies are acceptable but must be all handwritten or all printed except for the certificate number which should be printed or stamped. In addition, only original certificates with an original signature of the foreign government official are acceptable. For the purpose of documentation clearance, the CFIA will accept copies of the original certificates as the proof that the imported products comply with the provisions of the pertinent Canadian legislation.

Photocopies and carbon copies of health certificates are not acceptable for the purposes of import inspections at Canadian establishments licensed for re-inspection of imported meat.

The imported shipments of meat products will not be subjected to the required import inspection until the inspector is presented with the original OMIC.

Certificates are not acceptable if any of the item descriptions listed below are erased, typed over, altered, or changed by any other means. If this occurs, the certificate shall be refused and a replacement certificate must be obtained if the meat product is to be considered for importation.

  1. description of the meat product
  2. shipping marks
  3. number and kind of pieces, containers, packages, etc.
  4. net weight
  5. foreign establishment number
  6. signature of the foreign government official
  7. certificate number

Certificates which contain obvious misspelled words may be accepted.

Unacceptable certificates shall be refused. The refused certificates must be cancelled and the inspection results entered into the ICTS.

6. Refused Certificates

At the written request by the importer, the inspector may provide the importer with the refused cancelled original certificate.

7. Replacement of the OMIC

When a shipment of meat product being imported is refused by a CFIA inspector for reasons that can be corrected by a replacement certificate.

The importer/broker must notify the appropriate CFIA inspector of their intent to obtain a replacement certificate. This must be given within two working days from the time the inspector notified the importer/broker that the shipment was refused. The importer is responsible for arrangements with the exporter to obtain a replacement certificate from the competent authorities. For replacement certificates from Australia or New Zealand see section 7.2. If the appropriate CFIA inspector is not notified within the two day period, the involved product shall be ordered out of Canada.

The issuing competent authority may request that the first original OMIC be returned to them before they will issue a replacement. This is a security practice to assure that there are no two original OMICs in circulation for the same certified shipment.

Alternatively, instead of returning the refused original OMIC to the importer, arrangements may be made with the National Specialist of Import Programs to notify the competent authority that the first original OMIC was duly cancelled and is in possession of the CFIA. The competent authority may accept this assurance in lieu of insisting that the first original OMIC be returned to them.

7.1 Replacement Certificate Procedures

A replacement certificate may be accepted by the NISC only when the previous certificate for the shipment has been officially refused by the CFIA and the refusal has been entered into the ICTS.

A copy of the replacement certificate must be presented by the importer/broker to the NISC, following the normal entry procedures described in section 4. The NISC will modify the existing Import Control Number to reflect the new certificate number and distribute the IIR following normal procedures. The CFIA fees for review of import documentation shall be applied to all replacement certificates.

Following document processing, the importer/broker must keep the original replacement certificate at the location where the shipment is detained. The imported meat shipment awaiting inspection may be inspected and released if found to be acceptable and the original replacement certificate has been presented to the inspector.

7.2 Replacement Certificates for Countries with Electronic Transmission of Export Information (Australia and New Zealand)

The CFIA is currently receiving all Australian and New Zealand certificates in an electronic form. The electronically received certification data is pre-validated by CFIA E-cert system and entered automatically in the ICTS. In case the CFIA system rejects Australia or New Zealand certification data, a message is automatically sent to Australia and New Zealand E-cert systems about the rejection and a reason is provided. Australia and New Zealand are requested to provide a replacement certificate. The replacement certificates from Australia and New Zealand follow the same process as the original E certificates and are presented electronically to CFIA E-cert system for validation of export data.

7.3 Replacement Certificate Statement

When an OMIC is replaced, one of the following statements must be entered in the main body of the certificate, before the certificate is signed:

"Issued in lieu of certificate No. space"; or,
"This certificate replaces certificate No. space"; or,
any similar statement.

In the case of countries stamping the export certificate number on the shipping cartons (boxes), the following additional statement is required:

"The export certificate number on the shipping cartons (boxes) covered by this certificate shows certificate number space"; or,
any similar statement.

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