Regulatory requirements: Fresh fruits or vegetables

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, other requirements will be introduced in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

On this page

1.0 Introduction

While the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) include a set of general requirements that apply to a broad range of foods, there are some requirements that apply only to certain foods. This document provides an overview of the regulatory requirements specific to fresh fruits or vegetables found in Part 6, Division 6 of the SFCR.

2.0 Fresh fruits or vegetables of different types packaged together with or without other food - Exemptions

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Sections 110 and 111

Rationale

Consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables of different types that are packaged together with or without other food may be exempt from certain import requirements specific to fresh fruits or vegetables, grade and grade name requirements, standard container size requirements and country of origin labelling requirements found in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR).

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for additional information on labelling, grade and standard container size requirements for fresh fruits or vegetables.

What this means for your food business

To help you understand, specific criteria and resources are provided below. Key terms throughout the text have been hyperlinked to the SFCR glossary.

Section 110: Fresh Packs, Stew Packs and Vegetable Packs

  • Fresh Packs, Stew-packs or Vegetables for Stew do not need to:
    • comply with the applicable import requirements for fresh fruits or vegetables found in sections 113 to 121. See an explanation of these requirements below.
    • have the expression "Product of" or "Produce of" or "produit de", "Grown in" or "cultivé dans" or "Country of Origin" or "pays d'origine", followed by the name of the foreign state in which the fresh fruits or vegetables were grown, or other words that clearly indicate the foreign state, on the principal display panel.
    • comply with the applicable Standard Container Sizes requirements found in Division 2 Part 10 of the SFCR that pertain to consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables.
    • comply with the applicable Grades and Grade Names requirements found in Part 12 of the SFCR.

Keep in mind

"Fresh Pack"

The term "Fresh Pack" when used in Part 6 – Commodity-Specific Requirements of the SFCR refers to consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables that contain more than one type of fresh fruit or vegetables, but no other food and

  • have a label applied or attached to the container that bears the expression "Fresh Pack" or "emballage frais";
  • no one type of fresh fruit or vegetable in the container exceeds 1 kg net weight; and
  • the net weight of the fresh fruits or vegetables in the container does not exceed 10 kg.

"Stew-pack" or "Vegetables for Stew"

The terms "Stew-pack" and "Vegetable for Stew" when used in Part 6 , Division 6 – Fresh Fruits or Vegetables of the SFCR, refer to consumer prepackaged fresh vegetables that contain more than one type of fresh vegetable, but no other food and

  • have a label applied or attached to the container that bears the expression "Stew-pack" or "légumes mixtes" or the expression "Vegetables for Stew" or "légumes pour ragoût";
  • no one type of fresh vegetable in the container exceeds 1 kg net weight; and
  • the net weight of the fresh vegetables in the container does not exceed 10 kg.

Section 111: Gift Packs and Combo Packs

  • Gift Packs or Combo Packs do not need to:
    • comply with the applicable import requirements for fresh fruits or vegetables found in sections 113 to 121. See an explanation of these requirements below.
    • have the expression "Product of" or "Produce of" or "produit de", "Grown in" or "cultivé dans" or "Country of Origin" or "pays d'origine", followed by the name of the foreign state in which the fresh fruits or vegetables were grown, or other words that clearly indicate the foreign state, on the principal display panel.
    • comply with the applicable Standard Container Sizes requirements found in Division 2 Part 10 of the SFCR that pertain to consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables.
    • comply with the applicable Grades and Grade Names requirements in Part 12 of the SFCR  that pertain to fresh fruits or vegetables.

Keep in mind

"Gift Pack or Combo Pack":

The terms "Gift Pack" and "Combo Pack" when used in Part 6 , Division 6 – Fresh Fruits or Vegetables of the SFCR, refer to consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables that contain more than one type of fresh fruits or vegetables together with other food and:

  • have a label applied or attached to the container that bears the expression "Gift Pack" or "emballage-cadeau" or the expression "Combo Pack" or "emballage mixte";
  • no one type of fresh fruit or vegetable in the container exceeds 1 kg net weight; and
  • the net weight of the fresh fruits or vegetables and other food in the container does not exceed 10 kg.

Exemptions:

The exemptions provided under sections 110 and 111 of the SFCR do not apply to the following prepackaged foods as these do not contain more than one type of fresh fruit or vegetable:

·apples of different varieties packaged together and labelled "Gift Pack", "Combination Pack" and "Variety Pack in accordance with subsection 8(2) and section 10 of the Canadian Grade Compendium Volume 2 – Fresh Fruit or Vegetables, or

·pears of different varieties packaged together and labelled "Gift Pack", "Combination Pack" and "Variety Pack in accordance with subsection 69(2) of the Canadian Grade Compendium Volume 2 – Fresh Fruit or Vegetables

3.0 Import of certain whole fresh fruits or vegetables – Grade Requirements

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Sections 112 to 121

Rationale

Grade standards provide an established understanding of the quality of fresh fruit or vegetable which helps facilitate trade and allows consumers to make informed choices.

Due to the economic significance of apples, onions and potatoes in Canada, it is a regulatory requirement to have imported apples, onions and potatoes certified as meeting the Canadian grade requirements to avoid a negative impact on the Canadian market.

Note: There are additional grade requirements in the SFCR that apply to imported fresh fruits or vegetables. These are found in:

Keep in mind

There are additional plant health requirements for certain imported whole fresh fruits or vegetables, such as potatoes. Please refer to the Automated Imported Retrieval System (AIRS)

What this means for your food business

To help you understand these requirements, specific criteria and examples are outlined below. The examples are not exhaustive but help illustrate the intent of the requirement and offer examples of what you can do to comply. Key terms throughout the text have been hyperlinked to the SFCR glossary.

Sections 112, 113, 117 and 119: Requirements for whole potatoes imported from the United States

  • Whole potatoes that you import into Canada from the United States must meet the following requirements and be accompanied (at the Canadian port of entry) by a serially numbered certificate or evidence in the form of a facsimile or a copy of an email message issued by the federal department responsible for agriculture in the United States that establishes that those requirements are met:
  • The potatoes are considered to meet the requirements for Canada No.1 if they:
  • The serially numbered certificate or evidence is to be endorsed with the expression "Meets Canadian Import Requirements for Grades, Packaging, Labelling and Standard Container Size" or "satisfait aux exigences d'importation du Canada visant la classification, l'emballage, l'étiquetage et la taille des contenants normalisés".
  • If the potatoes are not accompanied at the Canadian port of entry with the serially numbered certificate or evidence, and do not meet the requirements in Parts 10 to 12 of the SFCR, the potatoes will need to:
  • If the potatoes you import into Canada from the United States are part of a shipment that consists of not more than 15 containers of potatoes with an aggregate net weight of not more than 250 kg of potatoes, they do not need to be accompanied at the Canadian port of with a serially numbered certificate or evidence, nor be certified by CFIA.

Keep in mind

Section 120 of the SFCR states that if fresh fruits or vegetables are sent or conveyed to Canada in an in bond shipment from a foreign state other than the United States and pass only in transit through the United States, the fresh fruits or vegetables are not considered to have been imported from the United States.

Section 112, subsections 114(2),(3) and sections 117 and 119: Requirements for whole apples imported from the United Sates

  • Whole apples that you import into Canada from the United States are required to meet the following requirements and be accompanied (at the Canadian port of entry) by a serially numbered certificate or evidence in the form of a facsimile or a copy of an email message issued by the federal department responsible for agriculture in the United States that establishes that those requirements are met:
  • The apples are considered to meet the requirements for Canada Extra Fancy or Canada Fancy if they:
  • The serially numbered certificate or evidence is to be endorsed with the expression "Meets Canadian Import Requirements for Grades, Packaging, Labelling and Standard Container Size" or "satisfait aux exigences d'importation du Canada visant la classification, l'emballage, l'étiquetage et la taille des contenants normalises".
  • If the apples are not accompanied at the Canadian port of entry with the serially numbered certificate or evidence, and do not meet the requirements in Parts 10 to 12 of the SFCR, the apples will need to:
  • If the apples you import into Canada from the United States are part of a shipment that consists of not more than 15 containers of apples with an aggregate net weight of not more than 250 kg of apples, they do not need to be accompanied at the Canadian port of with a serially number certificate or evidence, nor be certified by CFIA.

Sections 112, 118 and 119: Requirements for apples imported from New Zealand

  • Whole apples that you import into Canada from New Zealand are required to meet the following requirements and be accompanied (at the Canadian port of entry) by a serially numbered certificate or evidence in the form of a facsimile or a copy of an email message issued by the ministry responsible for agriculture in the New Zealand that establishes that those requirements are met:
  • The serially numbered certificate or evidence is to be endorsed with the expression "Meets Canadian Import Requirements for Grades, Packaging, Labelling and Standard Container Size" or "satisfait aux exigences d'importation du Canada visant la classification, l'emballage, l'étiquetage et la taille des contenants normalises".
  • If the apples are not accompanied at the Canadian port of entry with the serially number certificate or evidence, in addition to meeting the requirements in Parts 10 to 12 of the SFCR, the apples will need to:
  • If the apples you import into Canada from New Zealand are part of a shipment that consists of not more than 15 containers of apples with an aggregate net weight of not more than 250 kg of apples, they do not need to be accompanied at the Canadian port of with a serially numbered certificate or evidence nor be certified by CFIA.

Keep in mind

Section 120 of the SFCR states that if fresh fruits or vegetables are sent or conveyed to Canada in an in bond shipment from a foreign state other than the United States and pass only in transit through the United States, the fresh fruits or vegetables are not considered to have been imported from the United States.

Sections 112, 115, 117 and 119: Requirements for whole onions imported from the United States

  • Whole onions that you import into Canada from the United States are required to meet the following requirements and be accompanied (at the Canadian port of entry) by a serially numbered certificate or evidence in the form of a facsimile or a copy of an email message issued by the federal department responsible for agriculture in the United States that establishes that those requirements are met:
  • The onions are considered to meet the requirements for a particular grade of onions, as outlined in the Canadian Grade Compendium - Volume 2, Fresh Fruits or Vegetables if they:
  • The serially numbered certificate or evidence is to be endorsed with the expression "Meets Canadian Import Requirements for Grades, Packaging, Labelling and Standard Container Size" or "satisfait aux exigences d'importation du Canada visant la classification, l'emballage, l'étiquetage et la taille des contenants normalisés".
  • If the onions are not accompanied at the Canadian port of entry with the serially numbered certificate or evidence, in addition to meeting the requirements in Parts 10 to 12 of the SFCR, the onions will need to
  • If the onions you import into Canada from the United States are part of a shipment that consists of not more than 15 containers of onions with an aggregate net weight of not more than 250 kg of onions, they do not need to be accompanied at the Canadian port of with a serially number certificate or evidence nor be certified by CFIA.

Keep in mind

Section 120 of the SFCR states that if fresh fruits or vegetables are sent or conveyed to Canada in an in bond shipment from a foreign state other than the United States and pass only in transit through the United States, the fresh fruits or vegetables are not considered to have been imported from the United States.

Sections 112 and 115: Requirements for whole fresh fruits or vegetables, other than whole onions, potatoes and apples, imported from the United Sates

Keep in mind

Section 120 of the SFCR states that if fresh fruits or vegetables are sent or conveyed to Canada in an in bond shipment from a foreign state other than the United States and pass only in transit through the United States, the fresh fruits or vegetables are not considered to have been imported from the United States.

Section 112, subsections 113(1), 114(1) and sections 116 and 119: Requirements for onions, potatoes and apples from foreign states

  • To import whole onions and potatoes into Canada from a foreign state other than United States and whole apples from a foreign state other than United States and New Zealand, the following requirements are to be met:
    • The onions meet the requirements for a particular grade of onions, in accordance with the general tolerances for inspection at a time other than at the time of shipping or repackaging, as outlined in the Canadian Grade Compendium – Volume 2, Fresh Fruits or Vegetables.
    • The potatoes meet the grade requirements for Canada No. 1, in accordance with the general tolerances for inspection at a time other than at the time of shipping or repackaging, as outlined in the Canadian Grade Compendium – Volume 2, Fresh Fruits or Vegetables.
    • The apples meet of the grade requirements for Canada Extra Fancy, Canada Fancy or Canada Commercial, in accordance with the general tolerances for inspection at a time other than at the time of shipping or repackaging, as outlined in the Canadian Grade Compendium – Volume 2, Fresh Fruits or Vegetables.
    • The onions, potatoes and apples meet the following requirement in the SFCR, as applicable:
      • - SFCR Part 10 – Packaging
      • - SFCR Part 11 – Labelling
      • - SFCR Part 12 – Grades and Grade Names
    • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) certifies that the onions, potatoes and apples meet the above requirements
  • The onions, potatoes and apples do not need to be certified by the CFIA if they are part of a shipment that consists of not more than:
    • 15 containers of onions with an aggregate net weight of not more than 250 kg of onions;
    • 15 containers of potatoes with an aggregate net weight of not more than 250 kg of potatoes; and
    • 15 containers of apples with an aggregate net weight of not more than 250 kg of apples.

4.0 Dispute Resolution Corporation membership

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Section 122

Rationale

Certain fruit or vegetable dealers must have a Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC) membership in order to trade fresh fruits or vegetables. The requirement for a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Produce Licence has been discontinued and these licences will expire when the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) comes into force.

The DRC is a not-for-profit corporation serving the produce trade. It is the single dispute resolution body for the fruit and vegetable trade in Canada. The DRC provides trading rules for its members to help avoid trade disputes. Information on DRC membership is available on the DRC website.

What this means for your business

To help you understand, specific criteria and resources are provided below. Key terms throughout the text have been hyperlinked to the SFCR glossary.

Subsection 122(1): Trade prohibition

  • Unless you meet the exception criteria listed below, you cannot:
    • sell any fresh fruits or vegetables that are to be exported, sent or conveyed from one province or territory to another
    • purchase or negotiate the purchase on another person's behalf of any fresh fruits or vegetables that are to be imported or sent or conveyed from one province or territory to another
    • receive any fresh fruits or vegetables that have been imported or sent or conveyed from one province or territory to another
    • send or convey from one province or territory to another, import or export any fresh fruits or vegetables

Subsections 122(2) and (3): Exception criteria for the trade prohibition

  • The above requirement related to trade prohibition does not apply to the following persons:
    • members in good standing of the Fruit and Vegetable (DRC).
    • any person who only sells fresh fruits or vegetables directly to consumers and that person paid less than $100,000 in the previous 12 months for the fresh fruits or vegetables they sold to consumers
    • any person who trades in less than one metric ton of fresh fruits and vegetables per day
    • any person who only sells fresh fruits or vegetables that they have grown themselves
    • a registered charity or club, society or association
  • The above requirement related to trade prohibition also does not apply to nuts, wild fruit and wild vegetables

5.0 Destination inspection services

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Section 123

Rationale

The CFIA offers destination inspections services, including an impartial report which may be used for the resolution of disputes between buyers and sellers regarding the quality of fresh fruit and vegetables.

What this means for your business

Specific criteria and resources are provided below. Key terms throughout the text have been hyperlinked to the SFCR glossary.

Section 123: Damaged or defective fresh fruits or vegetables

  • If your shipment of fresh fruits or vegetables is imported, or sent or conveyed from one province or territory to another and it arrives at its destination in a damaged or defective condition, you may make a request to the CFIA's Destination Inspection Service (DIS) for:
    • a written report that describes the condition of any damaged or defective fruits or vegetables at the time of the inspection; or
    • a written notice of disposition that describes the amount of fresh fruits or vegetables that have been disposed of and the place and time of their disposal
  • If you request a written report or notice as described above:
    • you make the fresh fruits or vegetables readily accessible to a CFIA inspector at the time of inspection in order to determine their condition, or
    • you make sure that the disposition of the fresh fruits or vegetables is witnessed by a CFIA inspector

Keep in mind

The CFIA's DIS continues to provide destination inspections for buyers of shipped fresh fruits or vegetables to provide an impartial inspection report for use in the resolution of buyer/seller disputes on quality of the fresh fruits or vegetables traded. Refer to Destination Inspection Service for information on the operations of the DIS.  Request for DIS service should be done by completing form CFIA/ACIA 5479.

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