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Operational procedure: Issuing a radiation certificate for shipments of exported food

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

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1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspection staff on issuing a radiation certificate upon request by an applicant for shipments of exported food. A radiation certificate is not issued for country specific export documents that include a radiation attestation.

The Radiation Protection Bureau (RPB) of Health Canada has monitoring programs in place to protect the health of Canadians by continually monitoring radiation levels nationwide. Health Canada has an obligation to report concentrations that exceed the accepted levels of radionuclides allowed in commercial foods.

Some countries require that radiation certification accompany shipments of imported foods. The CFIA can issue the radiation certificate which is not specific to certain radioisotopes or food products. It is a general certification regarding Canada's continual environmental monitoring of radiation levels and that foods produced in Canada are safe to consume.

The guidance outlined below should be used when an inspector receives a request for a radiation certificate from an applicant and the Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP) is not accessible to the inspector (for example, DSDP is down, offline) or until such time the certificate is available in DSDP.

2.0 Authorities

The inspection powers, control actions and enforcement actions authorized by the above legislation are identified and explained in the Operational guideline – Food regulatory response guidelines (internal access only - 10204674).

3.0 Reference Documents

4.0 Definitions

Unless specified below, definitions are located in either the:

5.0 Acronyms

Acronyms are spelled out the first time they are used in this document and are consolidated in the Food business line acronyms list.

6.0 Operational procedure

6.1 Receipt and review of an export documentation request – For food (non-meat)

6.1.1 A radiation certificate can be requested using the Food export certificate application request (internal access only - RDIMS 11409529). Upon receipt of an export documentation request, inspectors must ensure that the applicant meets the regulatory requirements:

The inspector will verify that the manufacturer of the product has a licence by consulting the Safe Food for Canadians Licence Registry or DSDP.

6.1.2 The Export certification inspection task tables (internal access only) indicate some countries that are known to require radiation certification in addition to other export documents. However, radiation certification documents can be issued as a stand-alone document depending upon the importing country's requirements. The radiation certificate can be issued upon request of the operator for any country, including a country for which export is done under commercial risk.

6.1.3 The inspector will review the completed export documentation request and verify that the request was completed correctly. It is not necessary for the exporter to provide documentation that the food is at or below normal background levels of radiation. The inspector attests that food produced in Canada is shown to have radiation levels at normal background levels which are far below levels considered to be harmful to human health. Health Canada supports this attestation by reporting values to the CFIA.

6.2 Receipt and review of an export documentation request – Meat Products

6.2.1 Upon receipt of an Export application verification form (Annex H) (CFIA/ACIA 5344), inspectors must ensure that the applicant meets the regulatory requirements set out in the Export certification inspection task tables (internal access only) and in the Operational procedure – Procedures for verifying meat products exports and issuing Official Meat Inspection Certificate.

6.2.2 Certification in relation to radioactivity (Annex A) documents can be issued upon request of the operator for any country, including a country for which export is done under commercial risk.

6.3 Processing the radiation certificate

6.3.1 For food (non-meat)

When the inspector has determined that the information submitted by the applicant is acceptable, the inspector will populate the Certificate of Inspection Radioactivity Content for the export of food products for human consumption (radiation certificate) (Internal access only - RDIMS 11709857) with the following information:

Field descriptions for the Certificate of inspection radioactivity content for the export of food products for human consumption
Export document field Description
Certificate reference number use the CFIA's off line certificate numbering system. Refer to Appendix 1 for the Area maintained certificate tracking sheets.
Manufacturer: the legal name and address of the establishment where the product was manufactured or prepared
Reg No. Registration number or licence number of the establishment where the product was manufactured or prepared
Consignor the name and complete address
  • it is recommended that telephone and fax numbers or the email address be given
Ref. No. use the export certificate number as indicated on accompanying export documents (for example, export certificate or the Certificate of free sale)
Consignee the name and full address, etc. of the physical or legal person to whom the consignment is shipped
Competent Authority the name of the Central Authority of the country of dispatch which is responsible for the certification
  • enter Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Country of destination enter the country of destination
  • where mentioned, the ISO codes use the two-letter country code in compliance with the international standard ISO 3166 alpha-2
Import Permit No record import permit number if supplied by the exporter
Shipping date date of departure from Canada
Transportation mode a transportation mode must be indicated on the certificate
  • if the importing country has no specific requirement, the expression “ocean vessel” or “vessel” or “aircraft” or “truck” etc. must be indicated
  • if the name of the vessel, the flight number or the airway bill number is indicated on the export document request form, it is assumed that it must be indicated on the export document
Storage and transport temperature indicate the appropriate condition
Total net weight indicate the total net weight in metric units (MT, KG or grams)
HS Code record code supplied by the exporter
Container and seal number provide the identification number(s) of the container(s), and the seal(s) used to secure the container(s)
Product description the name of the product as indicted on the package or label, lot number and quantity
Done at indicate the place where the Certification in relation to radioactivity is issued (city, province)
On (date) indicate the date of the issuance
  • the format to use is YYYY-MM-DD
Name and address of CFIA official type name of inspector and address of work location
Signature the signature of the inspector upon issuance
Stamp refer to section 6.4 below

6.3.2 For meat products

When the inspector has determined that the information submitted by the applicant is acceptable, the inspector will populate the Certification in relation to radioactivity (Annex A) (radiation certificate), specific to meat products, with the following information:

Field descriptions for the Certification in relation to radioactivity (Annex A)
Export document field Description
Addition to Health Certificate CFIA-ACIA 1454 number: (or other OMIC) indicate the official meat inspection certificate related to the issuance of the Certification in relation to radioactivity
Product description of the product(s)
  • the name of the product(s) as indicted on the OMIC
Net weight indicate the total net weight in metric units (kg) or as required by the importing country in the Export certification inspection task tables (internal access only)
Done at indicate the place where the Certification in relation to radioactivity is issued (city, province)
On (date) indicate the date of the issuance
  • the format to use is DD-MM-YYYY
Signature the signature of the official veterinarian and name in bold letters (handwritten or stamped)
Stamp refer to section 6.4 below

As indicated on the CFIA Food export page, exporters are responsible to verify the import requirements of the destination country. Documentation of import requirements as issued by the competent authority of the importing country is to be maintained by the exporter for at least two years [16(2) , SFCR]. When no requirements are available, exporters can export at their own commercial risk.

6.4 Issuing the certificate

6.4.1 For food (non-meat) a radiation certificate can be issued independently, depending upon the importing country's requirements. Refer to the Export certification inspection task tables (internal access only) for country requirements.

For meat products, the radiation certificate must only be issued with an OMIC.

For all commodities, export certificates, OMIC and its relative annexes cannot be issued for food product shipments that have already left Canada.

All radiation certificates must be signed in blue ink, and stamped using red ink. The CFIA will issue one original document with a unique certificate number as per the manual numbering sequence (for food (non-meat) refer to Appendix 1) for each request made by the applicant.

The stamp used for the certificate must be in the following format:

Stamp

6.4.2 A copy of the signed certificate is to be placed in the applicant file which is maintained by the issuing office. For food (non-meat) all required information from the certificate issued is to be entered into the Area maintained tracking sheets (refer to Appendix 1). Once DSDP is fully functional, export cases will be created for these certificates, and the issued certificates will be uploaded into the export case. If the radiation certificate accompanies other export documentation issued through DSDP, the radiation certificate is to be uploaded into the corresponding export case.

6.5 Replacement of issued Certification in relation to radioactivity

For all commodities, if a radiation certificate needs to be replaced, a replacement export certificate or replacement OMIC with its relative Annexe(s) (if applicable), will be issued along with the replacement radiation certificate.

For the procedure to issue a replacement certificate, please refer to the Operational procedure: Replacing for food.

For general inquiries related to this Operational Guidance Document, please follow established communication channels, including submitting an electronic Request for Action Form (e-RAF).

Appendix 1 – Area maintained certificate tracking sheets

As mentioned in section 6.4.2, certificate tracking sheets are to be used by the Areas which include the minimum data that is to be captured. Each Area will need to develop its own yearly tracking spreadsheet and procedure for tracking the certificate numbers and ensure numbers are only used once. The Area created tracking sheets RDIMS reference numbers are to be entered into the National template: Manual issuance numbers (internal access only – RDIMS No. 11352480).

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