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Operational Procedure: Verification of seal number when foreign seal on shipment broken while in transit

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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 procedures to verify shipment integrity when the seal number on a meat shipment conveyance does not match the seal number identified on the Official Meat Inspection Certificate (OMIC).

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

The scope of this operational procedure is limited to the meat shipments destined for Canada and transiting through the U.S or other countries.

2.0 Authorities

The inspection powers, control actions and enforcement actions authorized by the above food legislations 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 use of official seals on transport containers is to ensure that the integrity of the meat products has not been compromised while in transit.

Shipments of meat products destined to Canada, shipped through the United States or other countries, may be subject to inspection by Foreign Competent Authority (FCA) or by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the port of entry. This results in original seals being removed and replaced with new seals. As a result, imported meat shipments may arrive in Canada bearing replacement seals on the transport conveyance which do not match seals identified on the OMIC.

Foreign seals applied and officially documented on the OMIC are verified by a CFIA inspector upon inspection in Canada to ensure the integrity of the shipment for public and animal health purposes. Seals are used by animal health division as a method of control to prevent introduction of foreign animal diseases which may be transmissible via imported meat products.

6.1 Prepare for inspection

6.2 Conduct the inspection

6.2.1 Verification of seal change documents

A document issued by the foreign official who broke and replaced the seal on a meat shipment conveyance is essential to ensure the seal was replaced under continuous official control.

It is the responsibility of the importer to obtain the required documentation from the government official and provide it to CFIA in English or French language. The original, scanned or copied document is acceptable. An email from the foreign government official would also be accepted.

CFIA inspector verifies that:

Note: The foreign official or CBSA officer may leave the original broken seal in the conveyance as additional evidence that meat product remained under official control, however this is not mandatory.

If all the requirements above are met, continue with the inspection of the imported meat product as per the Operational Procedure - Visual inspection of imported meat products or Operational procedure – Organoleptic evaluation of imported meat products.

6.3 Communicate the results

If requirements above are not met, the meat shipment does not meet the animal health policy requirements for seal changes. The inspector may consider detaining the product under section 40 of the Health of Animals Act if necessary. The importer will be given an opportunity to provide CFIA with a document meeting the requirements above.

If a compliant document cannot be provided, the inspector will follow the Operational procedure - Ordering removal, or destruction of unlawful food imports to order removal of the food.

Depending where the meat shipment originated and/or where the seal was broken, the notice to remove will be issued under the SFCA 32(1) or HAA 18(1) according to the animal health risk.

For general inquiries related to this Operational Guidance Document, please follow established communication channels, including submitting an electronic Request for Action Form (e-RAF) - (accessible only on the Government of Canada network).

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