Potatoes
12. Requirements for Movement of Potatoes

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12.1 Interprovincial Movement

Potatoes shall not be sent or conveyed from one province to another unless they are packed and marked properly and meet one of the grades established in the Regulations or unless there is a valid test market in effect to cover any additional sizes, grades or packages.

Potatoes moving from the provinces of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario must be accompanied

  • by an inspection certificate; or
  • a release permit issued by an inspector where an inspection cannot be performed

The above two requirements may be waived if the packer is operating as a Registered Establishment (Registered Produce Warehouse).

12.2 Import

All potatoes imported into Canada must be inspected and certified to meet the requirements of Canada No. 1 grade (or test markets issued with respect to the Canada No. 1 grade) and they must be packed and labelled in accordance with the requirements of the Regulations.

Potatoes that are artificially coloured are not acceptable for importation into Canada.

It should be noted that potatoes imported into Canada must also meet all requirements of the Plant Protection Act and Regulations.

A) Potatoes from the United States or Puerto Rico

The CFIA recognizes inspections and certification issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Therefore, potatoes imported from the United States and Puerto Rico or shipped to Canada from another country through the United States, except a lot that is bonded, shall be accompanied by a Federal-State Inspection Certificate, or evidence of such, issued by the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA inspection certificate must state "Meets Canadian Import Requirements".

Potatoes from the United States and certified by the USDA shall be based on the following standards:

U.S. Extra No. 1 or U.S. No. 1 grade

However, potatoes coming from the U.S. must meet the requirements of "slightly skinned" and "fairly clean" as defined in the U.S. Standard for Grades of Potatoes, our maturity requirements as defined in Section 3 of this manual and our size requirements (including those for Test Markets) as defined in Section 2 of this manual.

These requirements apply to properly packed potatoes going for the fresh market. Potatoes imported in bulk for repacking or for processing purposes or those that do not meet the above requirements are subject to Ministerial Exemptions granted by the Minister or his delegate.

Where a lot of potatoes is not accompanied at the port of entry by a USDA certificate, an inspector shall inspect the potatoes either at the port of entry or another authorized inspection point. These are termed as Customs Clearance inspections. The inspection shall be made in accordance with the applicable general tolerances set out in the Potato Grade Standard where the potatoes are inspected at the time of shipping or repacking (i.e., shipping point tolerances).

B) Potatoes from Places Other than the United States and Puerto Rico

Potatoes imported into Canada from other countries shall meet the Canada No. 1, Canada No. 1 Small *(TM), Canada No. 1 Creamer *(TM), Canada No. 1 Chef or Canada No. 1 Large standard or any other test markets issued with respect to the Canada No. 1 grade.

An inspector shall inspect the lot of potatoes either at the port of entry or another authorized inspection point. The inspection shall be made in accordance with the applicable general tolerances set out in the Potato Grade Standard where the potatoes are inspected at a time other than at the time of shipping or repacking.

12.3 Export

There are no Canadian export requirements contained within the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations. Shipments of potatoes therefore need only meet the requirements of the importing country.

Potatoes Going to the United States or Puerto Rico

a) General Requirements

Section 8e of the U.S. Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (Act) provides that when certain domestically produced commodities are regulated under a U.S. federal marketing order, imports of the commodity must be inspected and certified to meet the same or comparable grade, size and maturity requirements.

Potatoes are a commodity that is subject to the requirements of Section 8e of the Act. Grading and quality inspection by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is required for each lot (shipment) of potatoes imported into the United States and Puerto Rico, excluding red-skinned round type potatoes (referred to as round reds) which are currently exempted from U.S. minimum grade, size, quality and maturity requirements, as well as the U.S. inspection requirement. Potatoes shipped to the United States and Puerto Rico must meet the U.S. Import Requirements as outlined in Appendix III.

A Canadian Inspection Certificate is accepted by the USDA for potatoes in lieu of one performed by USDA AMS and certification may be based on a Canadian grade for quality, but must meet U.S. Import requirements for size and maturity.

Should a Canadian exporter of potatoes not wish to have their potatoes, other than round reds, inspected in Canada prior to shipment to the United States or Puerto Rico, they should be informed to contact the appropriate fresh commodity inspection office in the United States prior to entry for specific details on how to obtain a release from U.S. Customs Service.

Note: Bulk, field run potatoes for processing purposes do not require an inspection to meet the U.S. import requirements. However, the applicant is required to provide a copy of the U.S. Importer's Exempt Commodity form (FV-6) to U.S. Customs and to the Marketing Order Administration Branch (MOAB) of USDA AMS at the time of entry into the United States. The Importer's Exempt Commodity Form (FV-6) is not required for round reds destined for processing, livestock feed, charity or relief purposes in the U.S.

b) Certification

As indicated above, the USDA accepts CFIA inspection certificates. In order to meet this acceptance, inspectors must certify potatoes according to Canadian quality standards but must take into consideration the U.S. marketing order requirements for size and maturity.

Inspectors must witness the load going into the vehicle. Only in instances where a positive lot identification system is in place could a warehouse inspection be performed. This could either be if the warehouse itself has a positive lot identification system or if the load is taped and identified by the inspector. The inspection certificate, however, must indicate the lot identification numbers. If the inspector is informed of the identification number of the vehicle into which this lot will be loaded, this information is to be recorded under the "Remarks" heading of the certificate, i.e., "Shipper advised produce to be shipped via trailer license number …".

*Refer to the Inspection Manual for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables for procedures on positive lot identification.

Note: Under no circumstances are warehouse inspections to be performed on produce being shipped to the U.S. where individual lots cannot be distinguished from one another at time of inspection.

The following statement must appear on the inspection certificate for potatoes, other than round reds, going to the U.S. under the "Certification" heading:

"Meets U.S. Import Requirements of 7 U.S.C 608 e-1."

An inspection certificate attesting that round reds meet U.S. import requirements of 7 U.S.C 608 e-1 is not required given that the U.S. have waived mandatory inspection and minimum quality requirements for this type of potato.

Regarding size requirements for all types of potatoes, inspectors must consult the current U.S. Import Requirements for potatoes (Appendix III). For example:

Canada No. 1 long type potatoes allow specimens of 89 mm (3 ½ inches) or more in length to have a minimum diameter of 44 mm (1 ¾ inches). This tolerance is not acceptable for the U.S. when their import requirement specifies their minimum size as 51 mm (2 inches). However, our requirement of 60% of specimens having a diameter of at least 57 mm (2 ¼ inches) must be applied if they are labelled as Canada No. 1.

Canada No. 1 Creamers (19 mm to 41 mm or ¾ inch to 1 ⅝ inches) from long type varieties may be certified for export to the U.S. as this size meets the minimum diameter requirements set out in the U.S. import requirements for potatoes. Canada No. 1 Creamers from round red varieties (all flesh colours) may also be exported to the U.S. since round reds are exempt from a U.S. minimum size requirement.

Potatoes being shipped as Canada No. 1 that do not meet the Canadian size requirements but do meet the U.S. import requirements for size should be labelled to reflect the size of potatoes packed within the containers.

For example:

The Canada No. 1 designation for white round type potatoes implies that the size is 57 mm (2 ¼ inches) to 89 mm (3 ½ inches). However, U.S. import requirements for all round type potatoes, other than round red varieties, allow for the size to be a minimum of 2 inches. Therefore, containers labelled with the Canada No. 1 designation must also include the appropriate size range (e.g. Canada No. 1, 2 inches and up).

Should the potatoes arrive at a U.S. destination and containers not be marked with the specific size designation as above, they will be inspected to the Canada No. 1 grade and may be held for misbranding.

For more information on the U.S. import requirements, please consult with your supervisor.

Under Part II, Packaging, Section 8. (a) and (c) of the Regulations, all potatoes must be packed in containers that are securely closed, new, clean and free from stains.

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