Bee Products

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TAHD-DSAT-IE-2001-3-6
January 5, 2011

Amendments: This directive has been extensively revised and completely replaces any previous versions.

Note: This directive relates to Terrestrial Animal Health Division import requirements only and does not remove any obligations from the Canadian importer to comply with the import requirements of other CFIA programs and/or other federal, provincial or municipal government departments.

Definitions

Bees:
The insects known as Apis mellifera
Beehive:
Any container fit to shelter a colony of bees.
Beeswax:
A true wax, secreted by glands on the abdomen of worker honey bees. The wax is produced by the bees at the expense of honey production and it can take 6-8 pounds of honey to produce 1 pound of wax.

Beeswax is used in cosmetics; for cold creams, ointments, and lotions; for candle making; and in the bee industry for making foundations for replacement of combs placed into frames for brood and honey production. It is also used in pharmaceuticals, waterproofing materials, polishes and furniture wax, and light lubricants in manufacturing.

Beeswax is processed by melting, straining, filtering, centrifuging, and/or bleaching, and is solidified in blocks of various sizes for shipping.

Honey:
Sweet, viscous liquid produced by bees from the nectar of a variety of plants as well as from secretions of sap-feeding insects. The bees collect the nectar into their honey stomach and take it back to the colony. In this process, certain enzymes are added and sugars altered. The nectar is stored in cells in the combs and the bees work to evaporate the moisture until it is at 16-18 percent. At this stage it becomes honey. Because of its very high sugar content (> 80%), it keeps very well.
Honeycomb:
A mass of natural beeswax cells which are hexagonal in shape, built by bees, with liquid honey sealed in the cells. Its purpose is to contain brood and stores of honey.
Pollen:
Male germplasm of plants. It contains proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins. It is collected by bees from a variety of plants at different times of year. It is the only protein source collected by bees for feeding their brood.

Pollen is a nutritious food high in protein. It has traditionally been collected from bees, frozen, cleaned and placed into retail packages to be sold as a protein food supplement. It requires drying or freezing and careful storage to avoid damage by mites, wax moths or rodents. Collected pollen is used for bee feeding, human consumption, animal feed and pollination of plants.

Propolis:
A sticky, resinous material gathered by bees from trees and other vegetation. Bees use it to reduce the beehive entrance size and encase foreign material. Propolis contains waxes, resins, balsams, oils, and pollen.

It is used in alternative medicine (in tinctures, ointments, creams, etc.) because of its antimicrobial properties

Royal Jelly:
Secreted by the glands in the head of the worker bees, this substance is fed to queens throughout their larval and adult lives, and to young workers and drone larvae. It is high in protein and is synthesized with the aid of proteins from the pollen.

The jelly may be collected by a skilled beekeeper via a labour-intensive process, and frozen for later use. It may be sold in its raw form, as a powder (dust or capsulated), or mixed with other shelf-stable products like honey. It may be processed into a number of forms including capsules, tablets, and cosmetics. It may be sold as a tonic and restorative.

Overview

Many viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic diseases affect populations of honeybees. The most prevalent diseases and pests around the world which could further spread in Canada as a result of the importation of honeybee products are as follows:

  1. Varroa Mite infestation (Varroa jacobsoni and Varroa destructor);
  2. Tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi);
  3. Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida); and
  4. American Foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae).

Small Hive Beetle is present in the following countries: the United States, Australia, Mexico, and all countries in the African continent.

Although some of these diseases and pests may already be present in various parts of Canada, in order to limit their impact and spread, mitigating measures may be placed on imports of bees and their products depending on their place of origin, the time of year of import, the destination within Canada and the end use of honeybee products.

Legislative Authority

The importation of bee products is regulated under the Health of Animals Regulations and includes the following:

  • beeswax (including wax cappings);
  • bee pollen;
  • bee propolis;
  • royal jelly;
  • honeycomb;
  • honey; and
  • beehives.

Bee products for human consumption are also regulated under the Food and Drugs Act, the Food and Drugs Regulations, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations. Additionally, honey for human consumption is regulated under the Canada Agricultural Products Act and the Honey Regulations.

Under the authority of the Feeds Act and Feeds Regulations, 1983, any ingredient for use in livestock feed must be registered with the Feed Division of the CFIA prior to importation. This registration applies to both single ingredients that will be incorporated into feeds and finished livestock feeds.

It is not permitted to import used beehives or used beehive equipment into Canada; this restriction is outlined in section 57 of the Health of Animals Regulations.

Published import conditions for live animals and commodities can be found in the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS). Importers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with all requirements pertaining to importation of bee products.

Import Requirements by Commodity

1. Honey for human consumption

The importation of honey for human consumption must meet the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and its Regulations, the Canada Agricultural Products Act, and the Honey Regulations. For further information about these requirements, see Canadian Import, Export and Interprovincial Requirements for Honey (Part V of the Honey Regulations). At this time, there are no Terrestrial Animal Health Division requirements when honey is imported for human consumption.

2. Other bee products

Propolis, frozen or dried royal jelly, and honeycomb for human consumption must comply with the Food and Drugs Act and its Regulations. There are no Terrestrial Animal Health Division requirements at this time.

3. Pollen (bee-derived) for human consumption

As with importation of bee pollen for animal feed or industrial uses, the importation of bee pollen for human consumption requires an import permit. The conditions for importation are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by Terrestrial Animal Health Division at CFIA Headquarters and will be based on the country of origin, the country of transit, the quantity being imported, the processing methodology, and final use.

Please note that the importation of pet foods containing bee pollen (or other bee products) or bee pollen as a supplement ready to be fed to pets requires approval from the CFIA's Pet Food Program.

4. Bee products

Honey and frozen or dried royal jelly for industrial use or livestock feed may be imported from any country, provided that the following is true:

  1. The shipment is accompanied by the following:
    • an import permit; and
    • an official zoosanitary veterinary certificate stating that the product:
      • contains no live honeybees or bee brood; and
      • has been treated by means of irradiation (10 kGray)

    or

  2. The shipment is transported under official seal of a CFIA or Canadian Border Services Agency inspector directly from the point of entry into Canada to an establishment where irradiation is performed. (Arrangements must be in place for irradiation before the arrival of the shipment in Canada.)

Below is a list of the establishments offering irradiation services in Canada; other facilities may be available. A certificate must be presented to the CFIA inspector for release of the shipment demonstrating that irradiation was performed at one of these facilities, or another facility which a CFIA inspector has, upon inquiry, deemed acceptable for the irradiation of bee products.

Isomedix (Steris)
184 Crown Court
Whitby, Ontario L1N 7B1
Telephone: 905-433-1202
Facsimile: 905-433-2419

Iotron Technologies Corporation
1425 Kebet Way
Port Coquitlam, British Columbia V3C 6L3
Telephone: 604-945-8838
Facsimile: 604-945-8827

Acsion Industries
Building 402, Ara Mooradian Way
Pinawa, Manitoba R0E 1L0
Telephone: 204-753-2255
Facsimile: 204-753-8466

The conditions listed on the import permit must clearly state that the importer is a feed mill or farmer with facilities for mixing ingredients for livestock feeding.

Any other importers wishing to import bee products for livestock feeding will be assessed on an individual basis to qualify for this type of importation.

Please note that beeswax is not approved for use as a livestock, swine or poultry feed ingredient in Canada. Should an importer wish to use beeswax in a livestock feed, an application must be submitted to the CFIA's Feed Division for approval as a new ingredient.

5. Bee products for bee feeding such as honey, pollen, and frozen or dried royal jelly

The importation of bee products for bee feeding requires an import permit. Conditions for importation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Terrestrial Animal Health Division at CFIA Headquarters. If this review is favourable, an import permit will be issued. The permit must be received prior to the arrival of the products in Canada.

6. Beeswax (including wax cappings) for any end use

  1. Unprocessed beeswax (cappings, slumgum and wax blocks)
    1. May be imported from countries designated free of Small Hive Beetles with an export certificate of origin stating that the country is free of Small Hive Beetle.
    2. May be imported from countries affected by the Small Hive Beetle (see Overview, above) with an Import Permit issued ahead of the arrival of the product in Canada by the Terrestrial Animal Health Division and under the following conditions:
      • Beeswax is imported from these areas only between the following dates:
        • October 1 and March 31 (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories); and
        • December 1 and March 31 (British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces).

        (Note: Summer and fall importations are not permitted in Canada.)

      Also, all of the following must be true:

      • All wax shipments are to be frozen; refrigerated transports must display a temperature reading of -20 °C (-9 °F) upon reaching the port of entry in Canada;
      • Importation may only occur into facilities previously approved by a CFIA inspector for the rendering and processing of beeswax;
      • All shipments of wax are to be received in an enclosed, non-insulated, unheated building, where the wax will stay until such time as it can be processed;
      • Upon completion of the importing season, all receiving facilities are to receive professional extermination services, and a certificate of extermination is to be presented to a CFIA inspector; and
      • Any wax debris in the transportation vehicles or storage buildings swept from the floor is to be incinerated as soon as possible and is never to be swept outside.
  2. Processed beeswax (beeswax that has been refined or rendered) in sealed containers

    Beeswax that has been refined or rendered may be imported from any country with a commercial invoice.

7. Used beehives or bee equipment

The importation into Canada of used beehives or bee equipment is prohibited under the Health of Animals Regulations, paragraph 57(a).

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