Do you transport loads containing meat or food products that contain meat from the United States? If so, you will want to read on for some positive changes implemented by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspects and certifies all meat shipments from the U.S. before the meat is exported to Canada. As an additional measure to verify the safety of U.S. meat, the CFIA conducts random inspections of incoming meat shipments.Effective May 16, 2011, customs brokers, Importers or carriers can verify inspection details by accessing the new Automated Shipment Inspection Status Search Tool (ASISST) for only those meat shipments presented for electronic release.Online queries can be made by using the customs broker”s 14 digit transaction number or the complete Official Meat Inspection Certificate (OMIC) number. Queries can be made by visiting this website:

http://airs-sari.inspection.gc.ca/ASISST-ORASI/english/common/ASISST-eng.aspx

You can obtain the customs broker”s transaction number when calling them or when checking their online search tool for the status of your Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) entry.For meat shipments presented in paper format, the customs broker, Importer or carrier will have to contact the Meat Import Control Centre (MICC) at 877.682.5191 to obtain your inspection instructions. When calling the MICC, they will ask you for the OMIC number.Queries can be made via ASISST or by phone to the MICC only after your shipment has cleared Canadian Customs. A shipment is considered Canadian Customs cleared when (upon arrival at the border) the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer has stamped the import documents with the CBSA release stamp. The CBSA will no longer use the CFIA "Report for Full Meat Inspection" stamp. Once you have a release stamp on your paperwork, you must verify your inspection instructions (full inspection or skip lot) and proceed accordingly on your journey.If you have any questions about this tool, please call Pacific Customs Brokers at 888.538.1566 for more information.

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While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.