Operational procedure: Port of entry violation reported by foreign competent authorities
On this page
- 1.0 Purpose
- 2.0 Authorities
- 3.0 Reference documents
- 4.0 Definitions
- 5.0 Acronyms
- 6.0 Operational procedure
The purpose of this document is to provide the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspection staff with guidance on the steps to follow when responding to a Port of Entry (POE) violation reported by the Foreign Competent Authority (FCA).
This document is intended to be used in conjunction with other guidance documents as referenced in section 3.0.
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
- Standard inspection procedures
- Operational procedures – Procedure for maintaining food export eligibility lists
- Operational guideline – Food regulatory response guideline
- Industry guidance - Port-of-entry (POE) violations and non-compliances
- General Export Requirements
Unless specified below, definitions are located in either the:
- Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Glossary of Key Terms
- Integrated Agency Inspection Model (iAIM) - Glossary of Terms (Annex F)
- My CFIA Glossary of Terms
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
A POE violation reported by an FCA can occur with any type of food commodity exported from Canada. Shipments are routinely inspected upon arrival in the country of destination. Based on the results of the import inspection, the shipment may be determined to be non-compliant with the requirements of the foreign country.
In some cases, the product may meet Canadian requirements but not the foreign country's requirements, resulting in a POE violation. This generally occurs when the importing country has requirements that exceeds or differs from Canadian requirements. The exporter has a responsibility to know the importing country requirements as mentioned in the General Export Requirements page.
Following a POE inspection, if the FCA determines that a consignment fails to meet their import requirements, the consignment may be rejected or detained. The FCA may provide official notification to the CFIA of the POE violation through the Canadian embassy.
An official POE violation notification may identify a timeframe within which the CFIA is required to respond to the FCA. The timeframe as well as the follow-up actions required by the FCA to address the POE violation will be dependent on the FCA at the time of the POE violation notification.
Examples of POE violations include, but are not limited to the following categories:
- microbiological contamination
- other contamination (for example, presence of foreign material)
- chemical residues that exceed the Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) or should not be present (for example, antibiotic, growth promoting hormones, presence of non-permitted animal proteins)
- discrepancies on the certificate: wrong date, wrong shipping mark, wrong number of establishment, wrong address, wrong name of the product
- label non-compliance (for example, failure to declare allergen(s), missing export stamp, expiry date, best before date)
- failure to present (FTP) for Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Import Inspection. All shipments of meat, poultry, and egg products that are intended for import into the United States must be presented for re- inspection at an FSIS official import inspection establishment or at an alternative inspection location authorized by FSIS at the time of importation.
6.1 Reception of official POE violation notification from foreign competent authority
After receipt of an official POE violation notification from an FCA, the following steps are taken by the CFIA and the operator and/or exporter depending on the FCA's request for follow-up actions.
6.1.1 The Food Import/Export Division (FIED) communicates the information contained in the official notification to the National Inspection Division (NID) and provides a copy of the notification, sample results, pictures or any other pertinent document available.
6.1.2 NID immediately notifies the appropriate Area Operation Staff of the POE, sometimes including the immediate actions taken by the CFIA and/or the FCA. This may include de-listing of the establishment(s) from an export list and/or suspension of issuing export certificates from the affected Canadian establishment(s).
Procedures for de-listing of establishments from export lists are described in the following Operational procedures – Procedure for maintaining food export eligibility lists.
6.1.3 The CFIA inspector provides the information to the operator and/or exporter related to the POE violation. The operator and/or the exporter develop and provide to the inspector a corrective action plan (CAP) with corrective and preventive measures that address the POE violation.
6.1.4 The CFIA inspector will review the CAP to ensure it meets the FCA's expectations and includes the elements in the industry guidance on POE violations and non- compliance.
6.1.5 The CFIA inspector will verify the effectiveness of the correction actions by following the applicable SIP or related CVS verification procedures. Once completed, the inspector will advise the operator/exporter of the results of the verification.
Depending on the timeframe established by the FCA for a response, the operator and/or exporter may not have fully implemented their corrective actions by the date a response from CFIA is required. The CFIA inspector must document this as described in 6.1.6 a).
6.1.6 The CFIA inspector prepares/gathers the following documentation and sends them to the operational supervisor for review:
- A letter on CFIA letter head addressed to the operational supervisor and signed by the CFIA inspector elaborating on actions taken by inspection staff to verify the operator and/or exporter corrective actions and preventative plans in response to the POE violation. This letter should include:
- if available, reference the foreign competent authority's POE violation file number
- a description of the POE violation and shipment
- immediate action(s) taken by the CFIA inspection staff including measures taken to identify and control the affected or potentially affected product(s)
- description of the root cause(s) as determined by the operator and/or exporter
- date of the receipt of the operator and/or exporter's corrective action plan, and confirmation that the action plan is acceptable
- indicate the verification activities performed by the inspector to assess the corrective and preventive measures implemented
- if applicable describe what additional actions were or will be taken by the CFIA in response to this notification
- The operator's response letter, as described in Industry guidance-POE violations and non- compliance, detailing the actions taken in response to the POE violation.
It is the responsibility of the operator and/or exporter to provide the corrective action plan in the language requested by the FCA.
6.1.7 The CFIA supervisor reviews and sends the approved documentation package to the NID for review.
6.1.8 The NID with FIED review the responses. If they find that the response package is not satisfactory, the documents are returned to the Area with instructions.
6.1.9 Once the response package is satisfactory, FIED coordinates an official CFIA response to the FCA. The final decision regarding eligibility to export will be made by the FCA.
6.1.10 Specific tasks for meat and meat products
Upon notification of the POE violation, the veterinarian in charge (VIC)/inspector in charge (IIC) conducts CVS Task 3.3.02 – Foreign Country Import Inspections Violations, issues an Inspection Report - Corrective Action Request (IR-CAR) to the operator, and requests a CAP. Depending upon the severity of the POE violation, additional CVS tasks may be required.
CFIA inspector must follow the IR-CAR process as described in: Compliance Verification System (CVS). This includes the process for assessing the operator's CAP.
Letter prepared by the VIC/IIC should indicate issuance of an IR- CAR, the IR-CAR reference number and the date it was issued. Describe the CVS task(s) that were conducted, to assess the corrective and preventative measures implemented by the operator with comments on status of the open IR-CAR (date of closure or explanation why the IR- CAR remains open and how control will be maintained until the CAP is fully implemented and IR-CAR is closed).
If applicable, describe what additional actions were or will be taken by the CFIA in response to this notification, example enforcement activities, change in frequency of CVS task(s) etc.
FCAs may only notify the importer of a POE violation. In that case the importer will notify the exporter, and both parties will respond as necessary. This operational procedure does not apply to POE violations where information is only exchanged between the importer and exporter.
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