Frequently asked questions
Movement requirements for Ontario cherries

What is Rhagoletis cerasi (European cherry fruit fly)?

The European cherry fruit fly is the most serious insect pest of cherries in Europe. The insect larvae feed on the pulp of the fruit and damage it. The cherries are still safe to eat.

This pest is regulated by Canada and the United States (US) and was not reported in North America prior to 2016.

When was this pest first discovered?

The CFIA became aware of the possible presence of this pest in Ontario in early February 2016, based on a photograph taken by an amateur entomologist in the Riverwood Conservancy, located in Mississauga, Ontario. The photo triggered a CFIA trapping survey in 2016. The CFIA confirmed the presence of European cherry fruit fly in southern Ontario in June 2016, based on samples collected during this survey.

How did this insect enter Canada?

The CFIA cannot determine when or how this insect entered Canada, but based on its wide distribution in southern Ontario, it has likely been present in this area for a number of years.

What damage does the European cherry fruit fly do and what crops does it attack?

European cherry fruit fly is the most damaging pest of cherries in Europe. The insect larvae feed on the fruit pulp, making the fruit unfit for sale. This can result in up to 100% crop loss if left uncontrolled.

The insect can also live on honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) fruit. To date in Ontario, the pest has been found only on invasive honeysuckle in parks or natural settings, and not in cherry orchards.

Read the fact sheet to learn more about the European cherry fruit fly.

What steps is the CFIA taking to respond?

CFIA plant protection directive D-17-03 will come into effect on June 1, 2017. The directive outlines domestic phytosanitary requirements which are intended to prevent the spread of Rhagoletis cerasi (European cherry fruit fly) within Canada.

Can I export fresh cherry fruit produced in Ontario to the US?

No, fresh cherry fruit produced in Ontario is prohibited entry to the US.

Can I move fresh cherry fruit produced in Ontario within Canada?

Fresh cherry fruit (P. cerasus, P. avium, P. mahaleb and P. serotina) produced in Ontario is prohibited from being moved to British Columbia and must be certified free of R. cerasi prior to being moved domestically to other provinces in Canada. Fresh Ontario cherries may only be moved to provinces other than BC if they were produced in orchards that applied control measures targeting fruit flies and if they were inspected and found free of cherry fruit flies. A Movement Certificate, issued by the CFIA, must accompany the shipment.

Why is the CFIA regulating the movement of fresh Ontario cherries to other provinces?

These new restrictions have been put in place to reduce the risk of spreading the European cherry fruit fly to other provinces.

Why is the CFIA prohibiting the movement of fresh Ontario cherries to BC?

Fresh Ontario cherries cannot be moved into British Columbia in order to prevent the spread European cherry fruit fly. More than 90% of Canada's commercial fresh, sweet cherry production is in the southern-interior of British Columbia.

Can I take fresh Ontario cherry fruit with me over the border into the US for personal consumption?

No, all fresh cherry fruit that is produced in Ontario is prohibited from entering the US.

How can I obtain a Movement Certificate for fresh cherry fruit so that I can send it to a province other than BC?

Written authorization, in the form of a Movement Certificate issued by the CFIA, is required to move fresh cherry fruit out of Ontario. Commercial fresh cherry producers in Ontario who wish to move fresh cherry fruit out of the province should contact their local CFIA office in advance of the 2017 cherry harvest.

The CFIA will only issue Movement Certificates after verifying that appropriate fruit fly control measures were applied in the cherry orchard and after inspecting the fruit and finding it free of cherry fruit flies (R. cerasi).

What will happen if the CFIA finds fresh, Ontario cherries in another province and they do not meet the CFIA's requirements?

Fresh cherry fruit from Ontario that is not covered by a Movement Certificate, or that is otherwise non-compliant may be returned to Ontario or be destroyed. Infested shipments may be treated to prevent the spread of pests prior to disposal. The person in possession, care or control of the shipment is responsible for all costs relating to treatment, disposal, removal, or re-routing, including costs incurred by the CFIA to monitor the action taken.

Is processed cherry fruit also subject to movement restrictions?

No, cherry fruit that is frozen, canned or dried does not pose a risk of spreading European cherry fruit fly and is not subject to these phytosanitary requirements.

Can I export fresh cherry fruit produced in a province other than Ontario to the United States?

Yes, fresh cherries grown in any province other than Ontario may be exported to the United States provided that the province of origin is clearly indicated on the packaging and on the paperwork accompanying the shipment.

Following discussions with USDA-APHIS, the CFIA strongly encourages all exporters to include the following statement on the bill-of-lading or other shipping documents for national consistency and to facilitate border crossing:

"The shipper certifies that the cherries in this consignment were produced exclusively in the province of xx, Canada."

Can I export fresh cherry fruit produced in BC to the US?

Yes. Fresh cherry fruit produced in BC may be exported to the US provided that this statement is clearly indicated on the packaging and on the paperwork accompanying the shipment:

"The shipper certifies that the cherries in this consignment were produced exclusively in the province of xx, Canada."

Re-exports of US grown fruit to the US will also require a statement indicating the state of production.

Can I move fresh cherry fruit produced in a province other than Ontario within Canada?

Yes. There are no restrictions on fresh cherry fruit that is produced in any province other than Ontario.

Can I take fresh cherries produced in a province other than Ontario across the border with me into the US?

Yes. USDA-APHIS has indicated that fresh cherries produced in provinces other than Ontario may be carried across the border provided that US border officials can readily verify the origin of the fruit through shipping documents or other proof of origin acceptable to APHIS. As with all items crossing into the United States, the final decision rests with the Customs and Border Patrol agents.

Where can I find more information about European cherry fruit fly? Where can I get a copy of CFIA plant protection directive D-17-03?

Information on European cherry fruit fly can be found on the CFIA's website.

Who should I contact if I suspect that my fresh cherry fruit is infested with European cherry fruit fly?

Please contact the CFIA office nearest you to report signs and symptoms of European cherry fruit fly.

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