Procedures for verifying meat products exports and issuing Official Meat Inspection Certificate
Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements are being phased in over the following 12 to 30 months. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.
On this page
- 1.0 Purpose
- 2.0 Regulatory authorities
- 3.0 Reference documents
- 4.0 Definitions
- 5.0 Acronyms
- 6.0 Operational procedure
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspection staff when verifying meat product shipments and issuing an Official Meat Inspection Certificate (OMIC) CFIA/ACIA 1454 to export meat products fit for human consumption.
This document is intended to be used in conjunction with other guidance document as referenced in section 3.0.
The procedure outlined below is used when meat products are exported to foreign countries. The following recommendations were developed in order to comply with the requirements of foreign countries.
2.0 Regulatory authorities
- Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA), section 48
- Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), Section 15, 17 and 168
The inspector's powers, control actions and enforcement actions authorized by the above legislation and regulation are identified and explained in the Operational guideline – Food regulatory response guidelines.
3.0 Reference documents
- Export certification task tables – Meat – United States (internal access only)
- Certificate of inspection covering meat products (under development)
- Export Application Verification Form – Annex H CFIA/ACIA 5344 (internal access only)
- Industry guidance: Fill in form CFIA/ACIA 5344 – Export Application Verification Form – Appendix H
- Industry guidance: Fill in form CFIA/ACIA 1454 – Certificate of Inspection Covering Meat Products
- Industry guidance: Food exports
- Industry guidance: Export certification
- Industry guidance: Exports requirement library
Unless specified below, the definitions are in the following documents:
- Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Glossary of key terms
- Integrated Agency Inspection Model (iAIM) – Glossary of terms (Annex F)
- My CFIA Glossary of terms
- Applicant establishment
- The licensed establishment or its representative submitting an application for certification and an application for verification of the export of meat products.
This operator of the applicant establishment is the one who has to complete the application/verification form, the OMIC and annexes (if required). This could be a slaughterhouse, processing plant or licensed storage.
- Producing establishment
- The last licensed establishment processing the meat product. This is the establishment number appearing in the legend on the product immediate packaging.
- Shipping establishment
- The licensed establishment where the shipment is assembled and verified. This could be a slaughterhouse, processing plant or licensed storage.
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 Operational procedure for verifying meat products exports
To meet importing country requirements, CFIA inspector verifies:
- that a license holder of a meat establishment which intends to export cannot receive meat derived from food animals slaughtered by non-federal license holders
- for export, the operator must only receive, process, package, label, refrigerate, freeze, store, and/or ship meat product compliant with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). In addition, all activities related to the certification of meat products are only permitted to occur only at licensed establishments. This includes trans-loading/ cross-docking as may be accomplished during remote containerization, see Meat establishment licensing and registration requirements
- cold storage facilities (see Policy for cold storages and export certification) which intend to export meat products and/or store meat products intended for export to other countries must be licensed under the SFCR. Furthermore, these facilities are not permitted to store meat from non-licensed establishments
- the CFIA will only certify meat product for export, from any point of production, if all establishments identified on the certificate are licensed. If a particular product has been identified as being stored in an unlicensed cold storage, the CFIA cannot demonstrate there was continuous federal oversight over the production chain and as such, cannot certify this meat product for export
- no meat product shall be exported unless it has received a final inspection and is found satisfactory. A meat product intended for export must not leave the federal system until the official certificate has been signed by a CFIA official
6.1.1 Verification of the Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344) by CFIA inspector
As a prerequisite for each export shipment, the Export Application/ Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only) form must be presented by the applicant to the Official Veterinarian (OV) or Inspector of the applicant's establishment. It is composed of three parts.
The inspector of the applicant establishment verifies that part 1and 2 of the form were correctly completed by the regulated party. Part 3 is the inspector's declaration that the verification was completed.
Element 1, meeting the importing and labelling requirements of the importing country:
184.108.40.206 Requirements of the importing country are the same as Canadian requirements
Element 1 of part 2 can be verified by a CFIA inspector of the applicant facility, whether this is the shipping or producing establishment because the verification of element 1 confirms the product meets the Canadian standards for edible meat products and is labelled according to Canadian requirements.
In addition to certify element 1, if the meat product is produced and shipped from one establishment, then that establishment would be able to certify all five elements of part 2.
If the meat product is produced in a different establishment than where it is shipped, it may involve inspectors at several establishments to verify all five elements of part 2.
220.127.116.11 Requirements of the importing country are different from Canadian requirements
a) One establishment is involved in export certification
The inspector verifies elements 1 to 5 of part 2. Element 1 of part 2 signifies that the establishment is eligible to export and that the product to be exported conforms to the requirements of the importing country as indicated in the Exports requirement library. The documents required for this verification (for example, laboratory results, attestation of trichinella) must be provided to the inspector by the applicant establishment.
b) More than one establishment is involved in export certification
Element 1 of Part 2 (Declaration of Compliance) signifies that the establishments are approved to export to the country and that the products to be exported are in compliance with available technical requirements of the country of destination.
The inspector receiving the application should inform the applicant that the process may be expedited if the necessary supporting documents accompany the Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only) form.
When the applicant is not the same as the producing establishment and the importing country has additional requirements, a statement from the producing establishment indicating that the product conforms to the requirement of the importing country must be provided using the additional endorsement section of the export application/verification form. This statement is corroborated by the inspector of the second establishment in the additional endorsement section of part 2 of the Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only) (element 1). The inspector must verify that the declarations related to the application of support documents include the written declaration of eligibility issued by the producing establishment (for example, letters of guarantee).
When there are numerous daily exports originating from the same producing establishment, destined to the same country, being of the same species and exported from the same shipping establishment, an alternative to the continued use of the additional endorsement is an endorsement letter. The endorsement letter is issued by the producing establishment to the shipping establishment. In this case, should the shipping establishment (applicant) be willing to accept responsibility for the producing establishment, the shipping establishment (applicant) may do so by certifying the export elements normally related to the producing establishment. An updated letter must be provided to the shipping plant (applicant) immediately after a modification to the current export eligibility of the producing establishment or immediately after a modification of the applicable requirements of the importing country. This written confirmation should also be corroborated by the inspector of the producing establishment and must be received by the shipping establishment.
In specific cases when the importing country requires animal health declarations for diseases that are not officially reported in Canada, the certifying veterinarian may seek additional information from the Operational Specialist. For certificates and annexes bearing such animal health declarations, supporting documents should be issued by the veterinarian responsible for the slaughter establishment of origin. A specific example of a supporting document is Annex J, Transfer Certificate for Meat Products. Annex J is available on Read Importing Country Requirements (Read ICR).
6.1.2 Authorization of application of Export Markings by the shipping plant
The inspector may authorize the employee of a licensed establishment to apply shipping marks (stickers and/or stamps) on boxes.
The inspector may deliver the export certificates and permit the stamping of the boxes during approved inspection hours, even if he or she is not present in the establishment. The inspector must, however, verify beforehand that the operator has satisfactory measures in place, such as those described in the Industry guidance: Fill in form CFIA/ACIA 5344 – Export Application Verification Form – Appendix H.
The export stamp will bear the registration number of the shipping establishment.
Alternatively, the export stamp could bear the producing establishment number if requested in writing by the operator of the producing establishment.
The operator may change the certificate number on the export stamp only when authorized by an inspector.
6.1.3 Visual verification of the shipment at the shipping establishment
Once the load has been completely stamped or the stickers have been applied by the licensed operator, the shipment must be presented for inspection in such a way as to provide the inspector with adequate access to the products so that the entire load is available in order for the inspector to verify the export eligibility.
An alternative, such as "continuous loading" in producing establishments, may be permitted. In such cases, the inspector must be present to verify the export eligibility. An agreement between the operator and the CFIA is required so that the inspector is informed of the timetable of the continuous loading in order to facilitate the verification of the shipment by the latter.
The inspector proceeds to visually inspect the shipment by examining a representative sample of the load. The sample size may be based on the compliance history of the establishment, the inspector's judgement, and the supervisor's instructions.
The inspector ensures that:
- the product is in good condition and wholesome (no apparent off condition odour, torn or damp cartons or other evidence of improper handling or storage)
- the number of boxes/packages matches the number on the application form. This may be achieved by verifying supporting documents
- the correct export stamp/stickers have been applied on boxes/packages
- the product description on the labels on the shipping containers must match the product description on the Export Application Verification form and the export certificate
- the label has all the mandatory information based on available information as indicated in the Exports requirement library
- additional export markings when it is required (for example, marking "for export")
For establishments that have developed appropriate written export procedures for visual verification, approved by the Inspector and maintained to the satisfaction of the Inspector, the supporting documents from these procedures may be used as sufficient evidence to satisfy the requirement of shipping elements 4 and 5 of the Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only) without the inspector's presence. In the context of approved procedures as described above, verification of the total quantity of meat products indicated on the Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only) may be achieved by the verification of these supporting documents instead of physically counting the boxes. Similarly, verification of transport container seal number recorded on the Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only) Annex H (both official and company seals) may also be achieved by the verification of supporting documents instead of visual verification of the intact seal on the transport container doors. In the case of a CFIA seal, it is understood that the use of the seal must receive prior authorization from the CFIA inspector.
6.1.4 Confirmation of part 3 'Declaration of Verification' of the Export Application Verification Form
The inspector of the applicant establishment verifies the accuracy of the information indicated on the Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only) with the information written on the OMIC and its respective annexes. The inspector completes signs and dates part 3 of the application form when all of the aspects of the application are deemed satisfactory. He or she then returns the signed approved application and certificate of export/annexes to the applicant for certification by the official CFIA veterinarian (O.V.).
6.2 Operational procedure for issuing Official Meat Inspection Certificate
- The OMIC CFIA/ACIA 1454 is used for edible meat products destined for human consumption
- The OMIC CFIA/ACIA 1454 is an official export meat certificate negotiated with and accepted by most foreign authorities
- The OMIC cannot be used for inedible meat products
- To issue an OMIC for commercial risk, please refer to section 6.3
6.2.1 Condition to issue the OMIC CFIA/ACIA 1454 for export
OMIC for export of meat products shall only be certified (signed) by an O.V.
The O.V. should verify the following before certifying:
- the OMIC has been completed fully and correctly, and that no part of it is left blank
- since an OMIC is signed based on form Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only), the O.V. should be in possession of that document before signing and/or any other document required by the foreign competent authorities (for example, Annexes, lab results, trichina treatment). Note that part 3 of Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only) must be signed and dated by the inspector of the applicant establishment before the OV can sign the CFIA/ACIA 1454
- some foreign countries require additional certification along with the OMIC such as Annexes. The O.V. must ensure that the establishments are using the most recent versions of the documents. The date on the bottom of the Annex could be checked to verify if the Annex is the last version. The OMIC number must appear on the Annexes
- in cases where the O.V. is remotely located, he or she will keep a photocopy of the signed certificate, a copy of the Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only) or a log book of the same information. The applicant is responsible to return the signed OMIC and a copy of CFIA/ACIA 5344 to the inspector having assigned the certificate
- where the Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only) is to be sent electronically or by fax to the signing O.V, the inspector at the shipping plant will keep the original copy of the Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only) on file. This will insure there has been no tampering with the Export Application/Verification form (CFIA/ACIA 5344)
- the inspector of the applicant establishment will keep all documents on file pertaining to this exportation (for traceability) such as a copy of the OMIC together with the applicable Export Application Verification (CFIA/ACIA 5344 – internal access only) and supporting documents
6.2.2 Issuance of an OMIC
If the O.V. has concerns about the information appearing on the supporting documents (for example, Export application verification form CFIA/ACIA 5344, lab results or on the OMIC, the O.V. contacts the inspector who approved the application and/or the applicant, to address these concerns.
If the concerns are not addressed, the O.V. should document their concerns (for example, the documents are incomplete) and contact the Operational Specialist for instructions.
As a result of an agreement between the CFIA and USDA, CFIA inspectors as well as official CFIA veterinarians are legally permitted to issue the official CFIA/ACIA 5733 export certificate for meat and poultry products to the USA. Refer to the Export Certificate Task Tables – Meat – United States for full details, certain conditions for inspectors apply. Note also that inspectors are only permitted to sign Annex A-1 for beef.
Annex A-1, provides direction on completing OMIC CFIA/ACIA 4159 for China. Annex A-1 is posted on Read ICR on Ecert. The inspector will provide Annex A-1 to the applicant.
6.2.3 Signature of an OMIC
The original (Part 1) of the certificate CFIA 1454 must be signed and stamped. Parts 2 and 3 are to be stamped only.
Only one set of the additional certification must bear the original signature and stamp. If more than one copy bears the original signature and stamp, then each additional copy must bear the word "COPY". The official seal of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency must be applied above the signature.
Ink of a colour other than black must be used for the stamp and the signature.
It should be noted that only official veterinarians of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are authorized to sign the above-mentioned documents.
The seal used for the certificate must be in the following format:
6.2.4 Distribution of OMIC
The OMIC form consists of three parts. The distribution shall follow the instructions recorded along the bottom of each part.
Part 1: To accompany shipment to the billed destination, original. Intended for the officials of the importing country.
Part 2: To be forwarded, without delay, by the Inspector in Charge of the applicant's establishment as specified below:
The copy for headquarters must be mailed to:
Centre of Administration
Floor 2W, Suite 308,
59 Camelot Drive
In addition, any Meat Export form that contains Poultry (even if it is only 1 line item) shall be directed to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) by email at the address below:
Attention: Supervisor Import Control and Data Information Center
Part 3: File of the inspector of the applicant's establishment(s).
6.2.5 Issuance of Certificates for meat products
In addition to the CFIA/ACIA 1454, it should be noted that there are several additional official export certificates supplied by the Agency such as CFIA/ACIA 5733 for the USA, CFIA/ACIA 1482 and 4367 for Japan, CFIA/ACIA 5555, 5553 and 5506 for Russia, CFIA/ACIA 4159 for China, CFIA/ACIA 1480 for the EU, CFIA/ACIA 4583 for Taiwan.
The CFIA/ACIA1454 is to be issued for edible meat product shipments exported to all countries, except for some Latin American Countries, as well as Russia, USA and China.
Certificates issued must be duly completed for each shipment and the copy for headquarters submitted as required in section 6.2.3 (CFIA/ACIA 1454, 5733 and 4159: Part 2; CFIA/ACIA 5555: second page).
6.3 Condition to issue an OMIC in case of commercial risk
When import requirements are unknown, such as when the CFIA has not entered into negotiations with the foreign competent authority, it may be still be possible to issue an OMIC 1454 under certain conditions. Consignments of meat products to these countries are at the commercial risk of the exporter and the exporter assumes full responsibility for the meat products shipment exported under commercial risk.
Normally only the CFIA/ACIA 1454 can be issued for the meat product exported under commercial risk. However, Annex A: Attestation for radioactivity and Annex A-1 attestation for dioxin can be used along with certificate CFIA/ACIA 1454 for commercial risk shipments at the request of the exporter. Annex A and A-1 are available on Read ICR.
Products may only be exported under commercial risk to countries where there are not any established requirements for any meat products as identified in the Export Requirements Library. For example: A country has agreed to import Canadian beef and pork there is no agreement for lamb therefore lamb cannot be exported under commercial risk.
6.3.1 Conditions to be met by the exporter before the CFIA inspector may authorize the export under commercial risk
The exporter provides written assurances on his/her letterhead to the CFIA inspector that he/she has determined that the product will be accepted by the importing country. One letter per lot and per export certificate is required. The letter from the exporter must attest to the following:
- the exporter is aware that no agreement exists between Canada and the importing country
- the exporter (name) has made all due inquiries and testify that there is no known impediment to entry of the product into the market (name of the country)
- the exporter accepts that the CFIA certificate is given in good faith based on the exporter's written assurances that all due enquiries have been made and that there is no known impediment to entry of the product into the country concerned
- the exporter is aware that the products certified under certificate number (write certificate number here) are exported at his or her own commercial risk
- the exporter releases CFIA from all responsibility including financial for the product certified under certificate number # (write certificate number here)
6.4 Replacement of issued certificates
6.4.1 If requested by the applicant, inspectors may issue a replacement certificate for legitimate reasons. For the procedure to issue a replacement certificate, please refer to the Operational procedure: Replacing export certificates 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).
Last updated: 13 November 2019
- Date modified: