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Operational procedure: Issuing an export certificate for insects intended for human consumption

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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 export certificates for insects intended for human consumption. This document applies when exporting to a country that has a commodity specific export document for insects (for example, the European Union).

The guidance outlined below should be used when CFIA inspection staff receives an application for an export certificate at the local CFIA office from an exporter. The guidance for using TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) for export to the European Union (EU) is also included.

This document is intended to be used in conjunction with other guidance documents referenced in section 3.0.

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.

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


The procedures outlined below are to be used when an export certificate request is received for a country specific document, as indicated in the Food export requirements library. If there is no country specific document indicated, then a certificate of free sale may be issued, refer to section 6.1 below for more details.

For insects destined for the EU, export certificates will be issued using the European's TRACES NT system, as of January 15, 2022. Please consult the Comparative table for EU export certification using TRACES (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 15829426).

6.1 Receipt of an application

6.1.1 The Food export certificate application request (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 11409529) document is to be provided to the exporter for them to complete and submit to the CFIA. Upon receipt of an export certificate request from an exporter, the certifying official (inspector or veterinarian as specified on the certificate) must ensure that the exporter meets the regulatory requirements:

  • holds a valid licence [17(2), SFCR]
  • has a written Preventive Control Plan (PCP) [86(2), SFCR]

6.1.2 As indicated on the CFIA Food exports page, exporters are responsible for knowing and meeting the import requirements of the destination country. If the exporter provides the requirements of the importing country or a document that has not already been identified in the Food export requirements library, please contact the Operational Guidance and Expertise (OGE) through the established communication pathways to ensure that the statements contained in the proposed document accurately reflect the public and/or animal health status in Canada. The requirements of the importing country must be kept on file by the exporter for at least 2 years [16(2), SFCR].

6.1.3 If a request is received for the export of insects to a country that does not have any specific export document requirements, the Certificate of free sale (CFIA/ACIA 5786) can be issued. The exporter should confirm that the CFIA/ACIA 5786 would be accepted by the foreign competent authority. Please refer to the industry guidance: Exporting food: applying for the Certificate of Free Sale.

6.2 Reviewing the application

6.2.1 The certifying official will review the export certificate request to ensure that it is completed correctly. Refer to the specific country Food export requirements library and the Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) for additional information required to be provided, if applicable.

6.3 Processing the export certificate

6.3.1 Before issuing an export certificate, the certifying official must review if there are any specific export documents or identified requirements for the country of destination as outlined in the Food export requirements library and if there are any inspection tasks to be conducted as listed in the respective Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network).

The certifying official may request information from inspection staff that have more knowledge of the operator and their practices. Inspection staff can provide information about the status of the operator's licence, written preventive control plan and traceability controls that are in place, which can be verified through a preventive control inspection using the Operational procedure: Food preventive control and traceability inspection – Compliance verification system.

To support certification, additional information supplied by the operator may be necessary, such as a manufacturer's declaration on company letterhead. The Food export requirements library and the Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) will indicate the details of any additional information.

6.3.2 When the certifying official is satisfied that the applicant and the consignment meet the requirements and has reviewed and determined that the information submitted by the applicant is acceptable, the certifying official will generate the applicable export certificate as indicated on the Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network).

6.4 Issuing the certificate

Export certificates cannot be issued for any shipments that have already left Canada.

6.4.1 All certificates must be signed in blue ink and stamped using red ink. The certificate must bear the date the export certificate was signed. The stamp is to be applied to an area that does not obscure any pertinent information.

The CFIA will issue one original document with a unique certificate number for each request made by the applicant. The unique certificate number is maintained by the local CFIA office.

The stamp used for the certificate must be in the format as per the Operational procedure: Guidance on the purchase, use, control and decommissioning of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency official export certificate stamp (OECS)OG/OO-20150831 (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 12181558).

6.4.2 Each office must keep a record of the export documents issued. There is no standard format but the record must include the tombstone information of the product being exported (for example, consignor, consignee, product, destination country, date certificate issued, certificate number).

6.4.3 All documentation related to this certificate must be kept on file at the local CFIA office. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • a copy of the original certificate, a replacement certificate, or any other documents used to issue the certificate
  • any correspondence from the exporter applying for a certificate
  • a copy of inspection results, if applicable

6.5 Replacement of issued certificate

For the procedure to issue a replacement certificate, please refer to the Replacing export certificates for food (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 10878038).

For export certificates that are issued through TRACES NT, the comparative table (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 15829426) has additional information regarding the replacement function.

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