What to consider when shopping online for food, plants or animal products
It's important to know that the same health and safety requirements apply to online products as those sold in stores. Some products may not meet Canadian standards and could pose a risk to human, plant or animal health.
Avoid risky purchases
Know who you're buying from – is the product being sold by a reliable source? Check independent reviews of the seller and their products (not the reviews on the company's website).
Verify that the product is allowed to be sold in Canada. Check food, plant and animal import requirements.
Check if the product has been recalled in Canada for health or safety reasons.
If a deal sounds too good to be true, it may be:
- Food products that cost significantly less than the usual price may be diluted or use cheaper ingredients (for example olive oil, honey, fish, organic products)
- Purebred pets that are priced below average may not come from a reputable breeder and could have costly health problems
- Meat, eggs and dairy products, or other animal-products such as pet food and chews, might carry disease that could impact Canada's farmed and wild animals, and may not be allowed to enter Canada
- Plants or plant products received may not be as-advertised and seeds can be difficult to accurately identify
If information about the product is unclear, contact the company and ask questions. If you are still not sure that the product meets Canadian standards, don't buy it.
Be aware before you buy!
- Riding the e-commerce wave: be aware of risks of some online purchases (Chronicle 360)
- Meet Lacy, a Canada Border Services Agency detector dog (Chronicle 360)
- Food fraud
- Importing by mail (Canada Border Services Agency)
- Online shopping (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada)
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