Considerations When Importing Fresh Produce Into Canada
Importing produce into Canada represents a critically significant industry, accompanied by distinct challenges.
Understanding the interaction between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is a primary challenge. Produce type, time of year, and packaging can all affect delays and costs at the border. A successful shipment relies heavily on licensing, permits, and meticulous documentation.
For example, fresh potatoes for consumption must meet minimum grade requirements. A document issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) must also be presented as proof of the stated facts. Potatoes are among the few fresh produce items that attract a duty rate and dumping duty. The dump duty amount varies depending on the type of potato, packaging, and the US state where it is grown.
While not all produce commodities are as intricate as potatoes, the fundamental procedures and processes remain similar. Let's take a closer look at considerations when importing fresh produce into Canada.
What to Consider When Importing Produce Into Canada
An excellent first step is ensuring that the type of product you wish to import is admissible into Canada. Certain commodities from certain countries or regions are prohibited entry, such as crab apples from Brazil or sour cherries from Peru.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has created the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS). This is a valuable interactive tool. The website aids importers in assessing the validity of a diverse array of products. Additionally, it offers guidance on any further documentation requirements and the associated regulations.
Importers of fresh fruits and vegetables must meet specific requirements. They must become a Dispute Resolution Corp (DRC) member and reference that membership number on their import documents.
2. Safe Foods for Canadians
In 2019, a new import measure was implemented; Safe Foods For Canadians (SFCR).
SFCR aims to provide Canadian buyers with safe foods, and ensures that all food is held to the same regulatory guidelines whether grown in Canada or another country.
All produce imports into Canada will be required to obtain a SFCR license. In order to obtain one, importers will need to demonstrate the ability to trace goods, and meet packaging requirements and labeling standards.
3. Grades and Container Sizing
Many fruits and vegetables have specific grade standards that must be met to come into Canada. Access the CFIA website to find an overview of the Canadian Grade Compendium.
These regulations are for the import and regional marketing of fresh fruit and vegetables.
For most produce items, containers cannot exceed 50 kg, although container sizes for apples cannot exceed 200 kg.
Just like all imports into Canada, produce must adhere to rigorous guidelines concerning labeling and packaging. All produce labels must:
- Appear in both English and French
- List the common name of the produce item
5. Documentation Requirements
A Canadian Customs Invoice (CCI) listing the name of the vendor and importer, the value of the goods and shipment quantities is a requirement of entry into Canada.
Although no longer a requirement, a Confirmation of Sale (COS) form is, a useful document that lists all produce items in the shipment.
Certificates of Origin, Plant Hygiene Certificates, Plant Protection Import Permits, and CITES Certificates, are all types of additional documents. These documents might be necessary to fulfill the requirements of the CFIA, CBSA, and other Participating Government Agencies (PGAs). Produce is perishable, making it vulnerable to pests. Pest risk is the main reason for extra paperwork.
This involves accurately filling out the form, signing it, and keeping it stored at the importer's business location for six years. Your customs broker can also provide assistance in completing this form.
Importers can greatly benefit from utilizing the CFIA AIRS website as an exceptional tool. It allows them to determine if any further documentation is needed for their commodity. Enter a particular commodity in the search bar, and the system will prompt you for additional details.
Once all variables are satisfied, a list of required documents will appear. Furthermore, by clicking the link, you can access the specific regulations relevant to the commodity.
6. Research and Compliance
To be successful when importing a product, thorough research is essential. This research should include the product itself and the regulations that apply to it. This should be done before the product arrives at the border.
Thoroughly research the specific requirements that apply to your produce commodity. Stay up-to-date on any changes or import regulations. Compliance with these regulations is vital to ensure a smooth importation process and avoid any potential penalties or delays.
Detailed research is key to successful importation.
7. Seek Expert Assistance
Considering the intricate nature of produce importation, it is greatly beneficial to enlist the support of experienced professionals like customs brokers or trade consultants. They can provide valuable insights, assist with completing the necessary paperwork, and ensure compliance with all relevant regulations.
Understand Your CFIA Requirements
Importers may benefit from attending learning events about Importing CFIA Regulated Goods. In this session, you will learn about the relationship between the CFIA and CBSA.
We will also discuss licensing, permits, and documentation requirements. Acquiring the necessary knowledge will optimize your shipments, minimizing the risk of expensive delays.
This is a great opportunity to learn about the extra requirements for importing CFIA-regulated goods. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or an experienced importer. There are additional checkpoints that must be passed.