Streamlining Pre-clearance Review of US Meat Inspection Certificates

The CFIA will streamline the current two-step process for importing US meat and meat products into Canada by eliminating the pre-clearance requirements managed by the Meat Import Control Centre. This change brings consistency to the CFIA's management of imported commodities by having the National Import Service Centre (NISC) complete the review of import documentation. The NISC ensures that imports of plant, animal and food products meet Canadian entry requirements. Once all import documents are reviewed and approved, the CFIA makes a decision on the admissibility of the product, including the need for post-border inspection.

Implementation of this proposal will not compromise food safety. All food sold in Canada, whether domestic or imported, must comply with federal legislation. The safety of the meat crossing the border in either direction relies on the integrity of the meat inspection systems in both countries. As an additional measure to verify the safety of US meat, the CFIA conducts random inspections of incoming meat shipments.

This initiative is directed at streamlining internal processes to improve efficiency across the CFIA's import control program. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspects and certifies all meat shipments from the US before the meat is exported to Canada. Accountability for providing accurate and complete documentation to the NISC will be the responsibility of US exporters and Canadian importers, thereby eliminating the need for a pre-clearance review of USDA meat inspection certificates. This is consistent with the approach for other food commodities.

This initiative is expected to be fully implemented by April 1, 2014.

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