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RG-10 Regulatory Guidance
Importing livestock feeds (mixed feeds and single ingredient feeds) into Canada

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April 2022

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The purpose of this regulatory guidance document is to provide information and direction to feed industry stakeholders concerning the importation of livestock feeds (single ingredient feeds (SIFs) and mixed feeds) into Canada. This guidance document explains the various regulatory requirements associated with feed imports and provides valuable references to assist stakeholders during the importation process.


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is the regulatory body responsible for safeguarding Canada's food supply and protecting the animal health and plant resource base. The importation of livestock feeds may pose risks, either directly or indirectly, to these resources and as such may also negatively impact the Canadian environment or economy. CFIA import controls are an important part of managing these risks and provides the CFIA the ability to ensure livestock feeds imported into Canada are safe, efficacious and labelled appropriately.

The CFIA, in cooperation with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), operates the National Import Service Center (NISC) whose mission is to process import request documentation and data sent by importers. The NISC reviews the information supplied by importers to determine if the Canadian import requirements have been met and provides this decision electronically to CBSA. CBSA will then communicate this decision to the client, broker or importer. In addition, NISC handles telephone inquiries regarding import requirements for all commodities regulated by the CFIA and, when necessary, coordinates inspections for import shipments.

Livestock feeds imported into Canada are subject to the regulatory requirements outlined in the Feeds Act and Feeds Regulations, 1983 as well as the Health of Animals Act and regulations. The importation of livestock feeds may also be subject to other Acts and Regulations administered and enforced by the CFIA such as the Plant Protection Act and regulations or by other Federal departments such as Canada Border Services Agency (Customs Act); Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999) and Health Canada (Food and Drugs Act). It is essential for every importer to be aware and address all applicable import conditions to prevent delays when product arrives at a Canadian port of entry.

Importing livestock feed – what you need to know

The CFIA regularly receives requests from Canadian importers and exporters from other countries regarding the import requirements for livestock feeds into Canada. Livestock feeds can include both mixed feeds and single ingredient feeds (SIFs) which are imported for a specific end use.

CFIA's Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) provides the option to select a variety of end uses, depending on the commodity being imported. With respect to livestock feeds imported into Canada, the following acceptable end uses would be applicable:

Each end use is linked to specific import conditions, thus in order to ensure that the shipment meets all applicable import requirements it is essential to properly determine the intended end use when verifying import conditions. Importers who are aware that the livestock feed may be imported for more than one end use, must declare that fact on their import documentation and adhere to all applicable import requirements.

Note 1: In general, Animal Feed – 09; Bird Feed – 34 and Aquaculture Feed – 71 end uses should be used only in those circumstances where the product being imported is destined for species other than livestock as defined in section 2 of the Feeds Act (that is, horses; cattle; sheep; goats; swine; fish; foxes; mink; rabbits and poultry). There may be specific products, primarily SIFs, where the AIRS system does not provide Livestock Feed as an end use option and Animal Feed; Bird Feed or Aquaculture Feed must be selected. In these cases, all products destined for livestock feed must fully comply with the requirements of the Feeds Act and regulations, regardless of the end use selected. Furthermore, in cases where Livestock Feed and one or more of the above-mentioned options are available, Livestock Feed must always be selected as the end use when the product is to be fed to livestock.

All importers are responsible for knowing the applicable import requirements for any products they wish to bring into Canada and ensuring each shipment meets those requirements when it arrives at the Canadian border. In addition, the importer is responsible for accurately declaring the end use(s) of those products as requirements are often dependent on the intended end use of the imported product. Any false declarations made on import documentation, including incorrect end use, may be subject to compliance and enforcement measures under the Customs Act as administered by the CBSA.

While this document provides guidance on the import requirements for livestock feeds regulated by the Feeds Act and regulations and the Health of Animals Act and regulations, it is important for every importer to be aware and address any additional import conditions outlined under other CFIA legislation and as reflected in program specific guidance materials (for example, D-96-07: Import Requirements for Screenings and Grain and Seed for Cleaning; Terrestrial Animal Products and By-products: Import Policy Framework). In addition and depending on the country of origin, there may be import restrictions set out in other regulations which would prohibit the importation of livestock feed, regardless of the intended end use (for example, the importation of certain rendered animal proteins is dependent on the animal health risk status of the exporting country).

The following are some examples of other documentation and information that may be required when importing livestock feed:

The CFIA's Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) is a tool that can assist importers in determining the relevant import conditions for their shipments. Through a series of drop down menus in AIRS, importers must first describe the product to be imported by identifying the applicable International Harmonized System (HS) Codes, the country of origin, the destination, end use and miscellaneous codes. Based on this information, AIRS then leads the user to the import requirements for their specific commodity including any documents or instructions that may be required as well as references to the applicable CFIA Acts, regulations, policies and directives. This provides the importer with the necessary information needed to ensure their product meets all applicable CFIA import requirements before arriving at the Canadian border.

Further information and guidance on the use of this system can be found on the AIRS webpage.

Note 1: Each importer is responsible for determining any additional import conditions stipulated by other government departments or agencies that may be applicable to their shipments. The CFIA does not maintain an exhaustive list of these additional requirements.

Note 2: A CFIA permit to import, if required, can be requested through the Agency's online service portal, My CFIA.

Note 3: There are currently no allowances provided for the importation of livestock feeds for a "travellers and personal use" purpose, for example feed that accompanies livestock coming to Canada for a competition or show. These imports are required to adhere to all applicable requirements outlined in this guidance document.

Import conditions for livestock feeds

Single ingredient feeds (SIFs)

All SIFs must be approved for use in livestock feeds prior to being imported or sold in Canada. Approved ingredients are listed and defined in Part I or Part II of Schedules IV or Schedule V of the Feeds Regulations. SIFs listed in Part I of Schedules IV or V do not require registration before being imported into Canada whereas SIFs listed in Part II of Schedules IV or V require registration by the CFIA prior to their importation and/or sale in Canada. Approved SIFs may be imported into Canada as long as the following criteria are fully met:

An ingredient intended for livestock feeds, which is not listed in Schedules IV or V, is considered an unapproved ingredient and cannot be used in livestock feeds in Canada. Any importation of an unapproved feed ingredient for this purpose is also prohibited, as per section 3 of the Feeds Act. Stakeholders wishing to import unapproved ingredients must first submit a completed application (CFIA/ACIA 0009) along with the required supporting information to the CFIA to have this ingredient approved prior to importation into Canada. Please see Regulatory Guidance (RG-1): Feed Registration Procedures and Labelling Standards for further information.

To request a copy of the most recent version of Schedules IV and V, please send an email with the subject line "Schedules IV and V" to the CFIA at:

Note 1: Materials sieved out in the cleaning of imported cereals, pulses, oilseeds and other field crops, also known as screenings, are not permitted to be used as livestock feeds unless they are approved SIFs as defined in Schedules IV or V. There are currently 4 cereal-based and 4 pulse-based screening products approved for use in livestock feeds consisting solely or as a mixture of wheat, oats, rye, barley and triticale or chickpeas, lentils, peas and beans respectively.

Any screenings destined for use as an ingredient in livestock feed that contain crops not previously mentioned, for example, products consisting solely or as a mixture from oilseeds (canola, flax, soybeans, etc.), would be considered unapproved feed ingredients requiring approval by CFIA prior to being sold or imported into Canada.

Importers wishing to import grains or seeds for cleaning purposes must adhere to all regulatory requirements, including requirements for the by-products originating from that cleaning process.

Note 2: Given the range of different SIFs that may be imported into Canada for feeding to livestock, the conditions for these importations are found in various chapters of AIRS. While it is the responsibility of each importer to ensure they adhere to all import requirements, if difficulties exist identifying the appropriate AIRS code to use for a specific SIF import, the following groups can be contacted for assistance:

Plant-based single ingredient feeds and African Swine Fever

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs. It originated in Africa but is now spreading in various parts of the world. Although not present in Canada, ASF can spread through contaminated feed or feed ingredients and, as such, the CFIA has put controls in place for the import of plant-based single ingredient feeds of concern. Importers of any grains and oilseeds and their associated meals should be familiar with the import requirements for plant-based single ingredient feeds that are being imported for use in livestock feed. They should also understand when and how these controls are applied. For more information on the impacted products and countries as well as the Animal Health Import Permit application process, please visit: Importers: understanding feed controls to prevent African swine fever.

Mixed feeds

All mixed feeds require registration with the CFIA prior to importation into Canada and must be manufactured using only those ingredients that have been approved for use in livestock feeds in Canada and listed in Schedules IV and V. In the case where a mixed feed contains an unapproved ingredient, that ingredient must first undergo the feed ingredient approval process with the CFIA prior to the mixed feed being eligible for registration. Furthermore, any changes to the product formulation of an already registered feed would be considered a significant change requiring re-registration prior to import and sale in Canada.

Once registered, the feed is assigned a registration number. The registration process also includes the assessment and approval of the product label to be used in the Canadian marketplace. The registration number is required on any product labelling and import documentation as verification the product has been registered as prescribed.

In addition to the feed ingredient approval process (if applicable), mixed feeds may be imported into Canada as long as the following criteria are fully met:

Note 1: The conditions for the importation of mixed feeds into Canada for feeding to livestock can be found primarily in Chapter 23 of AIRS (Residues and waste from the food industries; prepared animal fodder) and will have an HS code starting with 23-09-90-XX.

Note 2: Mixed feeds containing animal origin ingredients may be subject to additional import requirements as described in the Terrestrial Animal Products and Byproducts: Import Policy Framework. Animal origin ingredients include all ingredients of livestock feed that are derived from aquatic or terrestrial animals, with the exception of vitamin D originating from lanolin of sheep's wool and vitamin A originating from pig fat.

In-transit shipments

In-transit means the movement from a foreign country, through Canada, to another foreign country. In-transit feeds are required to meet the same regulatory obligations as other imported feeds and must be approved or registered as prescribed prior to their entry into Canada.

Experimental purposes

The importation of a feed into Canada by a governmental, academic or private research establishment for experimental purposes, such as feed to be used in research feeding trials or a feed to be analyzed at a Canadian laboratory, is permitted provided that the importer of the feed receives approval from the CFIA prior to importing the feed into Canada.

As mentioned above, to import feeds for research feeding trials an importer must select AIRS end use code "35 – Scientific use (Research)" and obtain approval from the CFIA prior to the feed being imported. The following highlights some of the information which is to be provided to the CFIA when seeking approval to import feeds for research feeding trials:

Please refer to RG-1 Regulatory Guidance: Feed Registration Procedures and Labelling Standards – Chapter 5 – Research with Livestock Feeds for additional guidance on the information that must be submitted as part of an application.

As mentioned above, to import feed samples that are for analytical testing by a Canadian laboratory, the importer must select AIRS end use code "52 – samples for testing" and obtain approval by the CFIA prior to the import, as per paragraph 3(c.1) of the Feeds Regulations. The following information must be provided to the CFIA when seeking approval to import feeds for laboratory analysis:

The above information must be emailed to the CFIA ( To avoid possible issues at the border, importers should not make shipment arrangements until the approval letter has been issued by the CFIA.

Canadian goods returning to Canada

As previously mentioned, all mixed feeds imported into Canada require mandatory registration, prior to import. Should an exporter wish to return their Canadian origin feed to Canada, a case-by-case evaluation will be done to determine whether Canadian import conditions, such as registration, will be required. In general, the following information would need to be supplied to the CFIA ( in advance of the importation:

The Canadian exporter or re-importer may be contacted by the CFIA to provide additional details to support the import decision, as required.

Feeds may also be subject to additional Animal Health import requirements (Returns and Permit Application Process for Canadian Animals, Semen, Embryos, Animal Products, Animal By-Products, and Finished Pet Food) or additional Plant Health import requirements (Plant Import Procedures).

Note 1: Mixed feeds or SIFs that required certification under the Health of Animals Regulations and which left the country without a certificate, cannot be returned to Canada using this import procedure.

Note 2: Feed returned to Canada would be permitted to be sold in Canada providing a CFIA inspector has confirmed the applicable regulatory standards are met, for example labelling requirements, general and safety standards, and the ingredients are approved for use in livestock feed in Canada.

Note 3: Feed returned to Canada which does not meet the applicable regulatory standards must be handled and stored in a manner that prevents cross-contamination with other SIFs or mixed feeds until such time that the feed can be re-worked to comply with the Feeds Act and regulations and Health of Animals Act and regulations or disposed of using appropriate measures.

What to do if there are issues with importing feeds into Canada

It is important for importers to contact the CFIA's National Import Service Centre (NISC) and/or their local CFIA inspection office for assistance. Importers should have the following information available to assist with CFIA's follow-up:

Stay up to date

Canadian importers and foreign exporters can stay up to date on news and updates for the feed industry by subscribing to the Email Notification Services: Animal Information. In addition, the CFIA publishes Feed Industry Notices to advise of policies and guidelines enforced with respect to the importation of certain livestock feeds.

To get email updates for the AIRS database, importers can subscribe to the Email Notification Services: general updates and select "Imports: AIRS, EDI and NISC updates and notices" under the "Subject" heading.

For additional questions or clarification on the importation of livestock feeds into Canada, please contact the Animal Feed and Veterinary Biologics Division (AFVBD) of the CFIA by email:


Feed is defined under section 2 of the Feeds Act as:

"… any substance or mixture of substances containing amino acids, anti-oxidants, carbohydrates, condiments, enzymes, fats, minerals, non-protein nitrogen products, proteins or vitamins, or pelletizing, colouring, foaming or flavouring agents and any other substance manufactured, sold or represented for use

  1. for consumption by livestock
  2. for providing the nutritional requirements of livestock, or
  3. for the purpose of preventing or correcting nutritional disorders of livestock

or any substance for use in any such substance or mixture of substances".

Grain means a commodity class for seeds intended for processing or consumption and not for planting.

Livestock: Feeds for the following species of livestock are currently regulated under the Feeds Act and Regulations: cattle, horses, sheep, goats, swine, poultry (chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese), fish, foxes, mink, and rabbits.

Note: Feeds for other species are exempt from the Feeds Act and regulations. However, they may still be subject to import requirements under other authorities administered by the CFIA.

A mixed feed is a feed that contains 2 or more single ingredient feeds. All mixed feeds must only be manufactured using ingredients that have been approved for use and listed in Schedules IV and V. A mixed feed includes products such as supplements, premixes, minerals, milk replacers and viable microbial products.

novel feed means a feed, comprising an organism or organisms, or parts or products thereof, that

  1. is not set out in Schedule IV or V, or
  2. has a novel trait;

novel trait, in respect of a feed, means a characteristic of the feed that

  1. has been intentionally selected, created or introduced into the feed through a specific genetic change, and
  2. based on valid scientific rationale, is not substantially equivalent, in terms of its specific use and safety both for the environment and for human and animal health, to any characteristic of a similar feed that is set out in Schedule IV or V

Safe disposal means that the feed, livestock, and all animal products or by-products from the research trial do not enter into the food chain, the feed chain, or the environment. Note that rendering is not considered a safe disposal option, as rendered products may re-enter the food chain through their use as feed.

Any disposal into the environment must be in accordance with federal, provincial and municipal environmental regulations.

For an imported Research Feed, any remaining feed and animal products from animals fed that feed may need to be incinerated prior to disposal in a landfill facility. If they are not incinerated, the remaining feed and animal products may be composted only in a suitable landfill or waste disposal facility once the conditions have been authorized.

Screenings means separable foreign materials such as weed seeds, other grains, straw, chaff, hulls, etc., removed from grain or seed during the cleaning process.

Seed means a commodity class for seeds for planting or intended for planting and not for consumption or processing

A Single Ingredient Feed is defined in the Feeds Regulations as "any substance or mixture of substances that is assessed or evaluated as being acceptable for use in feeds and that is described in an item of Schedule IV or V".


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