Importing Hot Chocolate Is About To Get Easier (YAY!)

As the weather drops and the sweaters come out, so do the warm and comforting beverages that are oh so tasty. If those beverages contain shelf stable milk products, they will get a little easier to import into Canada due to an announced change by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

On December 16th, 2020 the CFIA is publishing updated import requirements for milk products. These updates are made under the Health of Animals Regulations and will be listed in the Terrestrial Animal Products and By-Products: Import Policy Framework.

On this date the currently published chapter 10.4 of Terrestrial Animal Products and By-Products: Import Policy Framework will be replaced with the new version and the “The Milk and Regulated Milk Products - Import Procedures” will be archived.

The updated requirements align with current international standards for milk products and the new import conditions are less restrictive and will be easier for exporting countries to meet.

Why Is Milk And Milk Products For Human Consumption Regulated Under The Health Of Animals Regulations?

CFIA regulates milk and milk products to prevent the introduction of foot and mouth disease into Canada. Foot and Mouth Disease is a highly contagious viral disease of cattle, sheep and swine that leaves animals that recover weakened and debilitated (not to be confused with the human virus: hand foot and mouth disease). Canada is currently free of this disease and introduction would have a detrimental economic impact both domestically and internationally.

What Products Are Covered By These Changes?

The new milk products requirements are to include the following products when in concentrated, dried, frozen, reconstituted or fresh form:

  • Milk (lacteal secretion obtained from the mammary gland of any ruminant)
  • Partly skimmed milk
  • Skim milk
  • Colostrum
  • Cream
  • Butter
  • Buttermilk
  • Butter oil (ghee)
  • Whey (including whey protein concentrates)
  • Whey butter
  • Whey cream
  • Products for animal consumption containing one or more of the regulated milk ingredients above

Foods and beverages for human consumption containing one or more of the regulated milk ingredients above that are not consumer prepackaged at the time of import (including commodities imported in bulk) or are not shelf stable at ambient temperature before opening

Regulated milk products will need to meet specific treatment requirements as of the date the updated import requirements are published. The treatment requirements are found in Annex 3 to the Terrestrial Animal Products and By-products: Import Policy Framework

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) is scheduled to be updated on February 2nd, 2021 with updated import conditions for foods and beverages containing milk ingredients.

AIRS Key Changes:

Milk, cream, butter, buttermilk and whey: Treatment requirements have been updated. New pH levels are a low final pH of less than 6 that is maintained for a period of an hour.

Foods and beverages with milk as an ingredient: Requirements will no longer be based on the percentage of milk in the product, instead the requirements will be based on:

  • If the product contains milk
  • The product’s shelf stability*
  • Product packaging 
  • Country of Origin

*One of the product types that will become easier to import is consumer pre-packaged shelf stable products. These products can be imported from any country with no zoosanitary certification as of February 2, 2021.

Some products containing less than 50% milk ingredients may be subject to new import requirements as of February 2, 2021. Be sure to review/check the import requirements to ensure you have the required documentation to import the product.

Food Safety and Public Health Requirements under the Safe Foods for Canadians Regulations and Food and Drug are not changing. These regulations address topics such as (but not limited to): labelling, ingredients, and grades. 

HS Tariff Classification Affected

The HS codes and CFIA extension that are slated to be affected by this update on February 2, 2021 are:

Chapter 9 

09.01.21.7300 Coffee pods with milk powder

Chapter 18

18.06.90.3675 Flavoured milk, ice cream, and frozen dessert mixes, containing more than 5% cocoa

Chapter 19 

19.01.10.7100 Infant formula, milk-based

19.01.90.3725 Ice cream and frozen dessert mixes, containing less than 5% cocoa

19.01.90.3726 Caramelized concentrated milk (dulce de leche) 

19.01.90.3727 Cream substitute containing milk ingredients 

19.01.90.3736 Prepared puddings and custards containing more than 10% but less than 50% milk solids 

19.01.90.3739 Food preparations containing less than 50% milk ingredients

  • 01 Condensed beverage sweetener and whitener
  • 02 Evaporated beverage whitener

19.01.90.3740 Food preparations containing more than or equal to 50% milk ingredients

  • 01 Condensed beverage sweetener and whitener 
  • 02 Evaporated beverage whitener/ Blanchisseur de boissons évaporées

Chapter 21 

21.01.20.7082 Tea pods with milk powder

21.06.90.1502 Food preparations containing less than 50% milk ingredients

  • 01 Condensed beverage sweetener
  • 99 Other

21.06.90.7087.02 Beverage base (powder) containing 50% or more dairy/milk ingredients

21.06.90.7087.03 Beverage base (powder) containing 49% or less dairy/milk ingredients/ 

21.06.90.7253 food preparations not otherwise specified or included: Animal Product

  • 05 Milk product and by-product
  • 09 Cattle milk protein dehydrated
  • 10 Dairy food product dehydrated
  • 12 Liquid dairy recycled food products, mixed

Chapter 22

22.02.99.2116.01 Chocolate milk 

22.02.99.2116.13 Beverage containing 50% or more dairy/milk products

22.02.99.2116.14 Beverage containing less than 50% dairy/milk products

So the next time you visit your local grocery store, take notice if there are more options of powdered hot chocolate from which to choose. Then treat yourself this holiday season.

Happy importing!

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About Author
Gloria Terhaar
CCS (CA/US), CTCS, CBSA Prof. Designate

Gloria Terhaar has over 17 years of Canadian customs brokerage experience. She currently works in our Canadian division as a Trade Compliance Supervisor and Regulatory Compliance Specialist. Gloria has extensive experience in all aspects of documentation and regulatory requirements as they relate to importing products into Canada. Gloria is often called upon to train industry with some recent talks for MNP, the Surrey Board of Trade, TFO Canada and the BC Produce Marketing Association. In 2018, Gloria also participated in the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Horticultural Council advocacy event "Fall Harvest" in Ottawa where she participated in advocacy efforts for the Canadain produce industry.

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.