Operational procedure: Issuing an export certificate for dairy products
On this page
- 1.0 Purpose
- 2.0 Authorities
- 3.0 Reference documents
- 4.0 Definitions
- 5.0 Acronyms
- 6.0 Operational procedure
- 7.0 Appendix
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspection staff on issuing export certificates for dairy products intended for human consumption.
The guidance outlined below should be used when inspection staff receives a request for an export certificate at the issuing CFIA office from an exporter through the Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP) or the offline process when DSDP is down, offline or until such time the certificate is available in DSDP. 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 as referenced in section 3.0.
- Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA), 48
- Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), 17
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
- Industry guidance – Food exports
- Industry guidance – Exporting food: A step-by-step guide
- Industry guidance – Food export requirements library
- Industry guidance – Guide for preparing an Export Certification Control Program (ECCP) plan
- Industry guidance – Assigning establishment identification numbers under the Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations
- Terrestrial Animal Products and By-products: Import Policy Framework
- Standard Inspection Process (SIP)
- Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network)
- Food export certificate application request (accessible only on the Government of Canada network - RDIMS 11409529)
- 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)
- Operational procedure – Replacing export certificates for food
- Code of Ethics for International Trade in Foods (CAC/RCP 20-1979)
- Guidelines for design, production, issuance, and use of generic official certificates (CAC/GL 38-2001)
- DSDP standard operating procedures (accessible only on the Government of Canada network)
- Export DSDP Process and SOPs (accessible only on the Government of Canada network - RDIMS 10879109)
- DSDP Export pathway overview (accessible only on the Government of Canada network - RDIMS 12271926)
- Interim guidance on entering food commodity inspection data into DSDP (accessible only on the Government of Canada network - RDIMS 12369415)
Unless specified below, definitions are located in either the:
- Manufacturer's declaration
- A document provided by the exporter that is endorsed by the manufacturer of the product to be exported
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
Note 1: for the certification procedures for dairy products that are exported as animal feed, refer to the following Animal Health business line guidance:
- TADH-DSAT-IE-2009-2-7: Export Certification Guidelines for Animal Products and By-Products for animal consumption or technical use, including pet food (RDIMS 1437780 - accessible only on the Government of Canada network)
- Veterinary Health Certificates: Animal products / By-products (accessible only on the Government of Canada network)
Note 2: For dairy products destined for the EU, export certificates will be issued using the European's TRACES NT system, as of November 15, 2021. Please consult the Comparative table for EU export certification using TRACES (accessible only on the Government of Canada network - RDIMS 15333580).
6.1 Receipt and review of an export certificate request
6.1.1 Dairy products made in food establishments licensed for the activity (manufacturing, processing, treating, preserving, grading, packaging and labelling) may be certified for export. As it is dependent upon foreign country requirements, refer to the:
- Food export requirements library
- Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network)
for specific country requirements or contact the Operational Guidance and Expertise (OGE) using established communication pathways.
6.1.2 The applicant will submit a service request for an export certificate through My CFIA. The service request will appear in the National Export "Queue Items" queue in DSDP. Within DSDP, the national queue can be:
- filtered by inspection staff
- added to the DSDP dashboard
Service requests for an export certificate are uploaded in chronological order as they are submitted. Inspection staff pick service cases as per the Export Processes and SOPs (accessible only on the Government of Canada network - RDIMS 10879109), refer to Appendix B.1 and the request is then validated as per Appendix E.1.
6.1.3 For export certificate requests outside of DSDP, 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 completion and then submitted to the CFIA local office.
6.1.4 Inspection staff evaluate all export certificate requests to ensure that the exporter meets the following regulatory requirements:
- holds a valid licence [17(2), SFCR]
- has a written Preventive Control Plan (PCP) [86(2), SFCR]
As indicated on the CFIA Food exports page, exporters are responsible to verify and meet the import requirements of the destination country. Documentation of import requirements as issued by the competent authority of the importing country is to be maintained by the exporter for at least 2 years [16(2), SFCR]. When no requirements are available, exporters can export at their own commercial risk and the standard Health certificate for the export of dairy products and dairy based products for human consumption (CFIA/ACIA 5813) can be used. The CFIA/ACIA 5813 includes a note regarding commercial risk. For some countries, certification is not possible.
6.1.5 Inspection staff will verify that the export certificate request includes:
- a client reference number for documentation and tracking purposes
- the account number or method of payment
- date request submitted and contact information of the exporter
6.1.6 An export certificate request is to be submitted at least 5 full working days prior to the loading date of the product into the container. Requests must be received prior to 9 am to count as a full day. This allows time for an export inspection, if necessary.
An export inspection is completed based on foreign country requirements. Refer to the Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) to determine which countries require an inspection prior to export certification. The inspection is to verify that the attestations can be met. Use the Interim guidance on entering food commodity inspection data into DSDP (accessible only on the Government of Canada network - RDIMS 12369415). If the loading location is not in the same region where the certification request was made, the inspection task in DSDP can be re-assigned to another sub-district.
6.1.7 If some consignment details (for example, total net weight for catch weight product, name of ship, container and seal numbers) are unknown prior to loading, the applicant has 2 complete working days before departure from Canada to forward the complete consignment details and a copy of the shipping manifest indicating date of departure (by air, ocean vessel, ground, or rail). Any change to consignment details could delay the issuance of the certificate and affect the departure date.
Inspection staff request the final information to complete the certificate in DSDP by issuing a Portal task to the applicant. If the request was submitted offline, the details can be requested via e-mail or in the same manner as the request was submitted.
6.1.8 Should the loading location, manufacturer, licence number or establishment identification (ID) number, description of the product, or final destination country change, a new export certificate request must be submitted and will be subject to a new 5 working day period. In DSDP, the original request is to be deactivated by inspection staff by selecting "Cancelled – Request Cancelled by the Party". A note should be included in the file with the reason for the cancellation.
6.1.9 Inspection staff will verify that the export certificate request has been submitted with the following minimum fields completed, as per the application process in My CFIA or in the instructions on the export certificate request:
|My CFIA application % completion||Food export certificate application request field||Description|
|0%, 80%||Section 1: Origin location/Registration No/Licence No.||establishment identification (ID) number (former registration number) and licence number of the manufacturer|
|10%||Section 1: Date of export||date of departure from Canada|
|15%||Section 1||full name, address and licence number of the exporter|
|20%||Section 1||full name, city and country of the purchaser|
|25%||Section 2: Destination country||final destination country|
|35%, 80%||Section 2 Product description||description of the product
|40%||Section 5||the CFIA service(s) requested, for example, export, export inspection, Border Control Post (BCP)|
|50%||N/A||number of product lines for each commodity|
|55%, 80%||Section 1: Applicant name||legal name of the manufacturer and establishment identification (ID) number to appear on the export certificate|
|70%, 80%||Section 1: Inspection location||loading location and date(s)
|75%||Section 3||transportation mode (ocean vessel, air, ground, rail) and vessel name or flight, if needed|
|80%||Section 3 : Specific shipping information||storage conditions, Harmonized System (HS) code|
|N/A||Section 2||net quantity of the product including the number of packages and the size or the total gross weight of the product (canned products) – refer to section 6.1.10|
6.1.10 2 days prior to the shipment leaving Canada, any of the missing information from the export certificate request, accompanied by a Manufacturer's declaration (section 6.1.11) and laboratory results (if applicable), are required in order to issue the export documentation. Any missing information provided less than 2 days prior to departure could delay the issuance of the certificate and affect the departure date.
6.1.11 The Manufacturer's declaration is to be provided to the exporter for completion and then submitted to the CFIA. Refer to the Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) for the Manufacturer's declaration which could be country-specific. Inspection staff will verify that the Manufacturer's declaration has been completed appropriately and provides the necessary information for certification.
An ingredient with a single class name, as defined in the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) subsection B.01.009(1), is not acceptable on the Manufacturer's declaration (for example, modified milk ingredients or milk ingredients). In cases where the list of ingredients of a dairy blend consists of milk ingredients or modified milk ingredients, each dairy ingredient in the blend must be listed separately on the Manufacturer's declaration.
6.2 Use of imported dairy ingredients
6.2.1 Imports of milk products are to follow the Terrestrial Animal Products and By-products: Import Policy Framework.
6.2.2 Imported dairy ingredients may be used in the manufacture of dairy products in Canada and these products may be subsequently exported based on the requirements of the importing country; refer to the Food export requirements library and Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network).
In order to provide certification for these specific requirements, the certifying veterinarian must know the origin of the milk and milk ingredients present in the product to be exported. Even if the dairy ingredients have been legally imported into Canada without export documentation issued by the foreign country, foreign country certification (supporting documentation) is required to enable the export certification of Canadian dairy products containing imported dairy ingredients.
In such cases, the inspection staff ensures that the foreign certification has been received and is satisfactory by completing and submitting the Dairy Products Export Compliance Verification document to the certifying official so that with full knowledge of the facts, can provide veterinary certification for the exported product. Refer to the Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) for the compliance verification document which could be country-specific.
For service cases within DSDP, an inspection task can be created to record and upload any support documentation. Use the Interim guidance on entering food commodity inspection data into DSDP (accessible only on the Government of Canada network - RDIMS 12369415).
6.2.3 Inspection staff may sign a certificate based on a documented official inspection or decision by another inspector. Some countries may have specific requirements, refer to the Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network).
6.3 Processing the certificate
Inspection staff will not issue any export documentation for products that have already left Canada.
When all the required information is received, the export documentation is to be issued within 2 working days.
6.3.1 Before issuing a certificate, inspection staff must review:
- if there are any negotiated or identified requirements for the country of destination
- if there are any inspection tasks to be conducted in the respective Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) as outlined in section 6.1.6
The identified additional tasks that are not automatically generated within the DSDP inspection case associated with the service request are to be created to record the inspection details.
6.3.2 When inspection staff is satisfied that the exporter and the consignment meet the requirements, the applicable export certificate as indicated on the Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) is generated.
If the certificate is automated within DSDP, it will be pre-populated by the applicant in the Certificate Record section of the service request. Non-automated certificates are populated by inspection staff with the compulsory information which is found either on the Generic Export Certificate Application form in DSDP or the offline Food export certificate application request. Refer to the Export certification inspection task tables (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) for available templates describing compulsory information.
6.4 Issuing the certificate
6.4.1 Not all certificates are automated within DSDP. All automated certificates in DSDP are generated electronically and will have a unique system generated certificate number pre-populated on the certificate.
An offline certificate may be issued for a certificate that is within DSDP but issued offline due to DSDP being down or if the export request was not made through My CFIA. For these certificates, the unique manually generated certificate number is used. Refer to Appendix 1 for the Area maintained certificate tracking sheets.
If an applicant applies for a certificate through My CFIA and it is a non-automated certificate in DSDP, the unique system generated certificate number is used. A certified copy of the issued certificate is to be uploaded into the DSDP Export Permission case.
For export certificates that are issued through TRACES NT, the comparative table (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 15333580) has additional information regarding its use.
6.4.2 If the certificate consists of several sheets of paper, the sequence of sheets must be numbered so as to indicate a particular page in a finite sequence (for example, page 2 of 3) and must contain the certificate number, be stamped and signed.
All certificates must be signed in blue ink and stamped using red ink. The name, qualification and title of the certifying officer must be in typed or stamped in capital letters next to the signature. The certificate must bear the date on which the certificate is signed and issued.
Within DSDP, only the standard certificate can be electronically signed for those destination countries which allow electronic signatures (identified in DSDP). All standard certificates issued offline will continue to have a signature signed in blue ink.
The original document must carry the official CFIA red stamp in the area indicated to that effect. 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).
The CFIA will issue 1 original document with a unique certificate number as described in section 6.4.1 for each request made by the applicant. For the offline process, if an electronic (scanned) copy is requested by the exporter, it must indicate the name of the certifying officer but not be stamped.
6.4.3 The original document is sent to the exporter. Should there be a need for a certified copy of the original document, it shall bear a red ink stamp "Certified Copy" "Copie Conforme" with the date of issue and initials or name of the certifying officer. If the certifying officer issuing a certified copy is not the certifying officer that signed the original document, the name of the certifying officer and not the initials are required on the certified copies. Certified copies are considered an export document and the appropriate fees are to be applied.
If the original export certificate request was made in My CFIA, certified copies are automatically generated and can be printed directly from the applicant's portal.
6.4.4 When inspection staff issues a certificate, all documentation related to this certificate must be kept in the DSDP service request. For offline requests, it is 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 Operational procedure: Replacing export certificates for food.
For export certificates that are issued through TRACES NT, the comparative table (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 15333580) has additional information regarding the replacement function.
The issuance of a cancellation / replacement is at the discretion of the CFIA. The requirement for cancelling / replacing or amending a certificate may trigger the inspection of future shipments using the Standard Inspection Process (SIP) – Preventive control inspection (PCI).
6.6 Return of exported products to Canada
Refer to Operational guidance – Return of exported products to Canada (under development).
For general inquiries related to this Operational Guidance Document, please follow established communication channels, including submitting an electronic Request for Action Form (e-RAF).
Appendix 1: Area maintained certificate tracking sheets
As mentioned in section 6.4.1, certificate tracking sheets are to be used by the Areas for certificates that are issued manually. The tracking sheets are to include the minimum data that is to be captured. Each Area will need to develop its own yearly tracking spreadsheet and procedure for tracking the certificate numbers and ensure numbers are only used once. The Area created tracking sheets RDIMS reference numbers are to be entered into the National template: Manual issuance numbers (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS No. 11352480).
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