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Import requirements for Mexican fresh coriander (cilantro)

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Imported fresh fruits and vegetables have been linked to past outbreaks of foodborne illness. Investigations of repeated outbreaks of cyclosporiasis in the United States in 2012, 2013 and 2014 implicated fresh coriander (cilantro) from Mexico. Most Mexican grown coriander arriving in Canada comes through the United States. Based on these findings, fresh coriander imported from Mexico is of concern for Cyclospora.

In an effort to reduce the risks of contamination of fresh produce, Mexico's National Agro-Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality Service (SENASICA) developed and is implementing Mexico's System for the Reduction of Contamination Risks (SRRC). Participation by Mexican producers in this system is voluntary. To be certified under the SRRC, producers must meet minimum requirements for good agricultural practices and food safety. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has determined that Mexico's SRRC constitutes an acceptable approach to minimize the risk of contamination of fresh coriander.

Scope of these import requirements

The following import requirements are applicable to all fresh coriander grown and packed in Mexico.

Legislative authority

Section 8(1)(a) Safe Food for Canadians Regulations and Section 4 of the Food and Drugs Act.

Section 8(1)(a) Safe Food for Canadian Regulations states:

Any food that is sent or conveyed from one province to another or that is imported or exported must not be contaminated.

Section 4 of the Food and Drugs Act states:

No person shall sell an article of food that;

  1. has in or on it any poisonous or harmful substance
  2. is unfit for human consumption
  3. consists in whole or in part of any filthy, putrid, disgusting, rotten, decomposed or diseased animal or vegetable substance
  4. is adulterated; or
  5. was manufactured, prepared, preserved, packaged or stored under unsanitary conditions

Import requirements

CFIA will allow the importation of Mexican fresh coriander (cilantro) if the growers/packers have been certified by the Mexican government under the System for the Reduction of Contamination Risks (SRRC).

A list of certified grower/packers can be obtained from the SENASICA website (Spanish only).

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