What we heard report – Consultation on the proposed changes to maximum quantity limits for personal use exemption
On this page
- Consultation overview
- Who we heard from
- What we heard
- Next steps
The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) set out maximum limits on the amount of food that can be moved by travelers across borders for their personal use. These limits are specified in a document that is incorporated by reference into the SFCR called: Maximum quantity limits for personal use exemption.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recently proposed changes to how much food individuals can bring with them into Canada, aiming for personal limits that reflect the weight or volume of foods typically brought by travelers for their personal use. The CFIA sought feedback about the proposal through a 27-day public consultation in early 2020. Participants included consumers, industry members, and government representatives.
This report summarizes the feedback CFIA received during the consultation period. The CFIA would like to thank all those who participated in the consultation.
The CFIA consulted on the maximum quantity limits for personal use exemption, which is divided into 31 categories of foods, through an online consultation from February 6, 2020 to March 4, 2020.
The objective of the consultation was to seek feedback from Canadians on the proposed personal use limits for food.
Who we heard from
The CFIA received 161 submissions outlining questions and proposed adjustments to the values of the maximum quantity limits for the personal use exemption:
- 3 national industry associations
- 6 producer and manufacturer organizations
- 15 CFIA employees
- 137 members of the general public
What we heard
Stakeholders provided valuable perspectives and information on the proposals for personal exemption limits. The proposed maximum quantity limits appeared to be well received for some food categories. Some respondents identified food categories that should be adjusted to better reflect typical personal use weights or volumes.
Depending on the type of food, there was general support, mixed views, or indications that the proposed limit was too high or too low. The following summarizes what was heard. Note that not all respondents responded to all categories.
There was general support for the proposed limits for honey, maple syrup, and maple products, processed egg products, and all foods not otherwise identified in a specific category (categories 8, 9, 10, 16 and 31).
Respondents expressed varying viewpoints with respect to dairy products, including milk and cream (categories 1 and 2), fish and seafood (category 4), fresh fruits and fresh vegetables (categories 6 and 7), and meat products other than chicken, turkey, beef or veal (category 11). Some respondents said they favour an increase to the proposed limits while others want to see the limit decreased.
Additional comments included:
- a suggestion to maintain the dairy categories as one combined category as it is currently and has been historically in regulation, and
- an indication that the limit for fish and seafood should not include caviar because of the uniquely high cost-to-weight ratio of this food.
Proposed level too high
Respondents indicated that the personal import limit for eggs (category 3), dry fish (category 5) and oils, including olive oil, (category 26) is too high and should be reduced. In the case of eggs, it was suggested to reduce the limit to 2 or 3 dozen.
Proposed level too low
For several categories, some respondents said the proposed personal exemption limit was too low. These include:
- chicken, turkey, beef or veal and pork (categories 12 to 15)
- some respondents indicated the limit should be raised to the current and historical regulatory limit of 20 kg for all meat products combined
- processed fruit products and processed vegetable products (categories 17 and 18)
- non-alcoholic beverages; water; confectionary, sweeteners, snack foods; bread, pastry, cakes, fruits pies, biscuits; multiple-ingredient foods (for example, protein drinks, sandwiches); infant foods; and fats (categories 19 to 25)
- for some of these categories some respondents indicated that there should be no limit and travelers should be permitted to bring in as much as they would like
- grain-derived foods (such as breakfast cereals); dried products (for example, dried spices and herbs); condiments, dressings; and nuts, grains and seeds (categories 27 to 30)
- some respondents indicated travelers should be permitted to bring in as much food in these categories as they would like
CFIA is reviewing all of the comments provided as it considers adjustments to the proposed limits. The revised personal use exemption limits will be posted on CFIA's website in a document that is incorporated by reference in the SFCR entitled: Maximum quantity limits for personal use exemption.
CFIA's website will also be updated to include guidance and compliance promotion material related to the maximum quantity limits for personal use exemption.
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