Language selection

Search

Procedures for verifying meat product exports and issuing Official Meat Inspection Certificates

On this page

1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspection staff on the Export Application Verification Form – Appendix H, the verification of the exported meat product shipments and the issuance of the Official Meat Inspection Certificates (OMIC) for the export of meat products fit for human consumption. The procedure outlined below is used when meat products are exported to foreign countries. The following recommendations were developed to ensure the compliance of meat product exports with the requirements of foreign countries.

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

2.0 Regulatory authorities

The inspector's powers, control actions and enforcement actions authorized by the above legislation and regulation are identified and explained in the Operational guideline – Food regulatory response guidelines.

3.0 Reference documents

4.0 Definitions

Unless specified below, the definitions are in the following documents:

Applicant establishment
Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licensed establishment filling out the Export Application Verification Form – Annex H (hereafter called 'Annex H' in this document), the OMIC and related annexes, if applicable.
Producing establishment
Last SFC licensed establishment where the meat product was processed. The number of this establishment appears in the inspection legend on the immediate product packaging.
Shipping establishment
SFC licensed establishment where the shipment is assembled, verified and/or loaded in its shipping container. This could be a slaughterhouse, processing plant or licensed storage.

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

General:

6.1 Verification of Annex H

Annex H must be presented to CFIA staff by the applicant establishment for each export shipment. Annex H consists of three parts. Parts 1 and 2 are filled out by the applicant as outlined in the industry guidelines: Completion of form CFIA/ACIA 5344 – Export Application Verification Form – Annex H. Part 3 is the declaration of verification by the inspector/official veterinarian of the applicant establishment, declaring that the shipment has been completed.

The inspector of the applicant establishment will review Part 1 and Part 2 of the form to ensure that it has been completed correctly by the regulated party.

6.1.1. Declaration of Element 1a) of Part 2

a) when the importing country has requirements that are equivalent to Canadian requirements

Element 1a) confirms that the product meets the Canadian requirements for edible meat products. This also applies to countries under commercial risk for which Canadian requirements must be met.

Element 1a) of Part 2 is certified by the applicant establishment. The inspector of the applicant establishment confirms this by signing Part 3.

b) when the importing country has different requirements than Canada – only one establishment is involved in the export verification request

The certification of Element 1a) means that the establishment is eligible to export and that the product destined to be exported meets the requirements of the importing country.

Element 1a) of Part 2 is certified by the applicant establishment. The inspector of the applicant establishment confirms this by signing Part 3.

c) when the importing country has different requirements than Canada – multiple establishments are involved in the export verification request

Where the applicant establishment is not the producing establishment, the applicant establishment will be required to send Annex H to the producing establishment for a declaration of compliance from Element 1a) in the "Additional Endorsement" section. The producing establishment's declaration is then confirmed by the inspector of that establishment in the "Additional Endorsement".

Where the applicant is not involved in the slaughter, production or storage of the meat product, the applicant cannot endorse any of the elements of part 2. He/she has to indicate N/A (not applicable) in the box for their certified elements. To avoid possible confusion, the applicant will indicate the statement 'Third party', after the name and title in box 12 'Name and title of person having authority on behalf of the applicant'.

The applicant needs to send two Annexes H: one for the cold storage and one for the processing establishment. Each of the involved establishments will endorse the elements for which they are responsible in the "Additional Endorsement" section and return the completed Annex H to the applicant. The applicant sends these two completed Annexes H to the inspector of the applicant establishment.

Where the export verification involves 3 establishments or more, the applicant also needs to use 2 Annexes H or more, as described above.

Note: supporting documentation may be required (for example, laboratory results, attestation of trichinella, etc.), depending on the requirements of the importing country, to endorse Element 1a).

Alternatives to using the additional endorsement

6.1.2. Declaration of Element 1b) of Part 2

a) where the importing country does not have specific labelling standards

Element 1b) confirms that the importing country does not have a labelling requirement. This also applies to countries under commercial risk.

Element 1b) of Part 2 is certified by the applicant establishment. The inspector of the applicant establishment confirms this by signing Part 3.

b) when the importing country has labelling standards different from Canadian standards – only one establishment is involved in the export verification request

Element 1b) confirms that the labelling standards required by the importing country, such as foreign language statements, batch numbers, production dates, etc. appear on the labels. The content of the label is the full responsibility of the operator. It is not the inspector's responsibility to verify the translation, only to ensure that the appropriate country label is used.

Where only one establishment is involved in the export, Element 1b) of Part 2 is certified by the applicant establishment. The inspector of the applicant establishment confirms this by signing Part 3.

c) when the importing country has labelling standards different from Canadian standards – multiple establishments are involved in the export verification request

Element 1b) confirms that the labelling standards required by the importing country, such as foreign language statements, batch numbers, production dates, etc. appear on the labels. The content of the label is the full responsibility of the operator. It is not the inspector's responsibility to verify the translation, only to ensure that the appropriate country label is used.

Appropriate country labels are affixed during production or at the time of shipment. In both cases, the applicant establishment will need to send Annex H to the shipping establishment to declare compliance with Element 1b) in the "Additional Endorsement" section. The declaration of the shipping establishment is then certified by the inspector of that establishment in the "Additional Endorsement" section.

6.1.3 Part 2 Element 2: Visual verification of the shipment to the inspection site

Once the shipping establishment has completed the shipment preparation steps and declares it ready for CFIA verification, the shipment is presented in such a way as to give the inspector adequate access to the meat products. The entire shipment must be available for the inspector to check. In some establishments where space is limited, the shipment can be presented in parts, so the entire shipment can be viewed, depending upon the measures that are in place and approved by the CFIA.

The inspector visually inspects the shipment, examining a representative sample of the cargo. The size of this sample is decided by the inspector, based on the establishment compliance history and the supervisor's guidelines, if any.

The inspector ensures that:

Supporting documentation may be used to verify the total quantity of meat products listed in Annex H, instead of physically counting the number of boxes/packages.

Note: "continuous loading" may be permitted in establishments that load directly from the production chain output into the trailer/container, without intermediate storage. In such cases, the inspector must be present to verify eligibility for export. The operator must have a written procedure, approved by the CFIA, informing the inspector of the continuous loading schedule.

6.1.4 Element 3 of Part 2: Shipping marks

The shipping marks refer to the export stamp. Export stamps, if required by the importing country, must be applied to the containers. An example of the export stamp is found in Annex L, in the introduction of Ecert.

By default, the export stamp indicates the number of the shipping establishment. Alternatively, it may bear the number of the producing establishment, if the latter has provided a letter of authorization to the shipping establishment. This letter should be renewed annually. Some countries require the number of the producing establishment on the export stamp.

The inspector may delegate to an employee of a licensed establishment the privilege of applying export stamps to boxes/packages. The inspector may authorize the application of export stamps to containers during approved inspection hours, even if he is not present in the establishment. However, the inspector must first ensure that the operator has put in place satisfactory measures, such as those described in the guidance document for the industry Completion of form CFIA/ACIA 5344 – Export Application Verification Form – Annex H.

For more information on the required inspections, please refer to the Operational guideline Use, control and ordering of official certificates, stickers, stamps and seals for export of meat products and the Ecert introduction on this topic.

6.1.5 Element 4 – Transport container

Element 4 is used to confirm that the transport container in which the meat products will be placed is clean and suitable. The verification of the container is usually done visually, on-site. Visual verification of the container may be replaced by verification of supporting documentation, depending upon the operator's programs.

The container number field must be completed. Indicating the trailer number, even if it does not appear on the OMIC, is recommended.

6.1.6 Element 5 – Sealing

The seal used on the transport container may be a CFIA seal or the establishment's, depending on the requirements of the importing country. Use of the CFIA seal by the establishment must be pre-authorized by the inspector, as outlined in the Operational guideline Use, control and ordering of official certificates, stickers, stamps and seals for export of meat products.

The seal number on Annex H can be verified visually or by checking the supporting documentation. The inspector verifies that the seal matches the number in Annex H.

6.1.7 Part 3 of Annex H: Declaration of Verification

The inspector or the official veterinarian (OV) at the applicant establishment verifies, based on the information provided, that the shipment meets the requirements of the importing country and that all elements of the application are deemed satisfactory (Elements 1a), 1b), 2 to 5). To do so, he/she will sign and date Part 3 of Annex H. In addition, the OV verifies the accuracy of the information on the OMIC and its annexes against the information in Annex H. The OMIC and annexes, if applicable, are stamped with the official export certificate stamp (OECS).

If the OV is not on site, the inspector then returns the signed Annex H and the OMIC and annexes to the applicant for certification by the OV. In establishments where a OV is on site, the inspector will provide the OMIC and annexes to the OV for signature. The OMIC and annexes are then given to the applicant.

6.2 Issuance of the OMIC

a) Countries with which CFIA has negotiated agreements

OMICs are official documents negotiated with foreign authorities for the export of meat products. They are used for edible meat products, fit for human consumption; they cannot be used for inedible products. For certain countries, it is possible to fill out the OMIC electronically.

Each OMIC must:

For the ACIA/CFIA 1454 OMIC, Sheets 2 and 3 need only be stamped with the OECS, without being signed. If more than one copy of the OMIC is issued with the signature and OECS, as required by some countries, the word "COPY" must appear on each copy.

If an OV is unable to issue the OMIC because of questions about information on the OMIC or in the supporting documentation (for example, Annex H, test results), the OV should contact the inspector who approved the application or the applicant establishment directly for clarification. If the explanation provided is insufficient, the OV should contact the Area Operations Specialist for further action.

The remote OV must keep a copy of the signed OMIC and a copy of Annex H or a logbook with the same information. The inspector of the applicant establishment will retain all documents pertaining to the export, for example, a copy of the OMIC, Annex H and the related documents.

Note 1: For meat products destined for European Union, OMICs must be issued using the European TRACES NT system, as of November 15, 2021. Please consult the comparative table for EU export certification using TRACES (RDIMS # 15369873).

Note 2: As a result of an agreement between CFIA and the USDA, CFIA inspectors and veterinarians are authorized to issue CFIA/ACIA 5733 for meat products destined for the USA.

b) Countries without an agreement: commercial risk

If the import requirements of a country are unknown, the export of meat products to that country is done under commercial risk, which means that the exporter assumes full responsibility for the export.

The exporter must provide written assurance to the CFIA, on company letterhead, that they have determined that their product will be accepted by the importing country. One letter per OMIC must be provided. The exporter's letter must certify that:

Only CFIA/ACIA 1454 can be issued for meat products exported under commercial risk. Annex A: Attestation for radioactivity and Annex A-1 "Attestation for dioxin" may be issued upon request by the exporter. Annexes A and A-1 are available in Ecert.

Note: Products may only be exported under commercial risk to countries where there are no established requirements for meat products. For example: a country that has agreed to import Canadian beef and pork, but no agreement has been reached on lamb; there can be no export of lamb under commercial risk.

c) Replacement OMIC

A replacement certificate may be issued if valid reasons are given by the applicant. The procedure for issuing a replacement certificate can be found in the Operational procedure: replacing export certificates for food.

6.3 Distribution of the OMIC

a) OMIC with multiple copies

The ACIA/CFIA 1454 consists of three parts. The distribution shall follow the instructions recorded along the bottom of each part.

b) OMIC without multiple copies

For OMICs without multiple copies, a copy must also be sent to headquarters, as described above in subsection a). Since these OMICs are on a single sheet, a photocopy or printout provided by the operator replaces Part 2 of the CFIA/ACIA 1454. An additional copy will also be provided to the inspector for his/her records.

If you have any questions or require clarification on this document, please follow established communication channels, including submitting an electronic Request for Action Form (e-RAF).

7.0 Annexes

Annex 1: Sample letter of communication between inspectors to confirm the approval of the operator's letter of agreement

Place of issue of the letter: (Enter the name of the place)

Date: YYYY-MM-DD

Subject: Transfer of responsibility for Element 1a) in Annex H from the producing establishment to the applicant establishment

I confirm as CFIA inspector of Establishment # (insert producing establishment number) that this establishment is eligible to export to the (name of country) and that the meat products on the enclosed list, dated (insert date on document provided), were manufactured in accordance with the requirements of (name of country).

Since there are numerous daily exports of the same meat products produced at Establishment # (insert producing establishment number), destined for the same importing country (name of country) and shipped from the same shipping establishment # (insert shipping establishment number), an agreement has been reached between the producing establishment and the applicant establishment # (applicant establishment number). The producing establishment has agreed to delegate to the applicant establishment the responsibility of certifying Element 1a) for the meat products listed in the enclosed list.

This letter must be reissued as soon as a there is a change, for example, to the enclosed list of products, the importing country's requirements or the export status of producing establishment. The inspector of the producing establishment # (insert producing establishment number) will notify in writing to the inspector of the applicant establishment # (insert applicant establishment number), of the situation and will provide a new letter with the corrections made. This letter is reviewed, at a minimum, annually by the inspectors.

Signature of CFIA inspector of the producing establishment

Inspector of Establishment # (enter the number of the producing establishment)

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Firstname.Lastname@inspection.gc.ca

Date modified: