Northwest Horticultural Council
Population: 38,232,593 (July 2022 est.)
Official Language(s): English and French
Please click on the above link for a list of chemical MRLs.
II. CHEMICALS AND ADDITIVE INFORMATION
A. Chemical residue standards:
All produce sold in Canada must conform to the chemical residue level (MRL) standards found in Canadian Food and Drug Regulations. Under these regulations, Canada sets a generic tolerance of 0.1 ppm for all commodity/pesticide combinations for which a specific tolerance has not been established. However, Canada has proposed eliminating this generic tolerance in the near future.
B. Monitoring chemical residues:
The Department of Health and Welfare monitors domestic and foreign produce on a regular basis at all points of sale – most often at the wholesale level. Randomly selected shipments of specified commodities are monitored for chemical residues. Any MRL violations will result in the subsequent 15 shipments of product shipped from the same source to undergo either: 1) intensified testing by Health and Welfare; or 2) obtain pre-certification by a recognized laboratory that the produce meets Canadian standards. If option 1 is chose, shipments will be held until compliance is verified. If option 2 is chosen, the designated laboratory must provide its results within 24 hours.
C. Restrictions on use of waxes:
Provisions exist under Table VIII, Division 16 of the Canadian Food and Drug Regulations for the food additive use of paraffin wax, petrolatum and mineral oil as coatings on fresh produce at a maximum level of 0.3% (based on the weight of the fruit or vegetable). Other substances traditionally considered as food ingredients (e.g. cottonseed oil, palm oil, etc.) and food additives (e.g. beeswax, candelilla wax, carnauba wax, etc.) are not regulated for use as fruit coatings. However, the Health Protection Branch provides advisory opinions on the acceptability of use of these materials as components of fruit and vegetable coatings on a case-by-case basis.
III. ORGANIC FRUIT REGULATIONS
No distinction is made between organic and non-organic foods with regard to import requirements. All Canadian packaging and labeling, grade and inspection regulations apply equally to organic and conventionally produced foods.
Under a determination of equivalence between the U.S. and Canada, producers and processors that are certified to the National Organic Program (NOP) standards by a U.S. Department of Agriculture accredited certifying agent do not have to become certified to the Canada Organic Product Regulation standards in order for their products to be represented as organic in Canada. Both the USDA Organic seal and the Canada Organic Biologique logo may be used on certified products from both countries. There is an important exception that may affect some producers of tree fruit: products produced with the use of sodium nitrate shall not be sold or marketed as organic in Canada.
For more information on Canada’s Organic Products Regulations, see the Canadian Food Inspection Agency web site.
Apples, pears, stone fruits, and sweet cherries are allowed into Canada duty-free.
V. NON-TARIFF BARRIERS
A. Labeling requirements:
The required markings for shipping containers are:
- Product name – Apples
- Variety name – e.g. Red Delicious
- Size range, if loose packed
- Net quantity in pounds and/or kilograms
- Name and address of packer, shipper, etc.
- Country of origin
Apples may be imported into Canada in any package commonly used in the United States.
Required markings for pre-packaged products, such as poly bags are:
- Common name of the product (if the product is not readily visible) / For apples: The
variety names are required so the common name, i.e. “apple,” is not required per the Food Safety for Canadians Regulations (FSCR).
- Net quantity, as 1.36 kg (3 lb.) or 2.27 kg (5 lb.), Metric units must be expressed first. Net quantity is not required for fruit packaged in an “unsealed transparent protective bag,” such as cherries in a pouch bag, when sold by weight at retail.
- Name and address
- Country of origin
- Lot Code*
- All markings except packer’s name and address must be shown in English and in French.
- For organic product, the label must also state the name of the organization that certified the product being organic.
- Common name of the product (if the product is not readily visible) / For apples: The
*Under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), the lot code can be numeric, alphabetic or alphanumeric. Examples of lot code include: production date, best before date, establishment number, or SFCR license number. In addition, for fresh fruits or vegetables, the lot code may also be the harvest date, grower identification number, growing region or any other code that may be used for traceability purposes. Additional details are available here in the 2020 Traceability Guidance Document for Industry Compliance with SFCR from the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA).
All the required labeling may be applied, attached, or accompany the bag (including on the closure tag). The grade, variety, country of origin, and diameter size range (if applicable) may be on a sticker and/or in the check-off form on a bag of apples. For more information go here.
The province of Quebec has additional requirements concerning the use of the French language. Specifically, a PLU sticker that contains additional information other than a recognized trademark and/or the name of the firm must be translated into French. For example: “Product of USA” would need to be translated into “Produit de USA”. (See PLU frequently asked question 3.)
Fresh fruits and vegetables, whether pre-packaged or sold in bulk, are exempt from mandatory nutrition labeling. However, they lose their exempt status if: 1) Other ingredients are included in the package; or 2) Nutrient content or health claims are made. U.S. nutrition facts labels are not allowed in Canada and any labels must be in both English and French.
B. Licenses and quotas:
C. Currency Issues:
D. Pest and plant disease restrictions:
There are no restrictions on pears or cherries. Starting in 2022, apple shipments transiting British Columbia no longer need a phytosanitary certificate. At exporter request, a phytosanitary certificate may be issued; no additional declarations are required.
Stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and prunes) destined for British Columbia, Canada must be fumigated or approved under the “Oriental Fruit Moth Certification Program.” The packing facility must also be registered with the Northwest Fruit Exporters.
Stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and prunes) shipments that transit British Columbia destined for other Canadian provinces or the U.S. must meet the entry requirements of British Columbia or be shipped by a bonded carrier and must be accompanies by a completed Form A8B.
Canada accepts only Federal phytosanitary certificates (FPC’s), PPQ Form 577, for eligible commodities entering Canada from the United States.
To qualify for FPC, fumigation treatments, such as those done for the export of stone fruit to British Columbia, Canada, must be conducted in a USDA APHIS-certified fumigation chamber or, if treated in non-certified chambers, must be monitored using a fumiscope (or a similar device) to document methyl bromide concentrations and the length of the fumigation. To become USDA certified, a fumigation chamber must undergo the type of testing required to qualify chambers such as those used for the fumigation of sweet cherries and apples to Japan. Fumiscopes are available from: Key Chemical and Equipment Co., Inc., 13195 49th St. No., Unit #A, Clearwater, FL 33762, Phone: (727)572-1159.
U.S. Apple Exports to British Columbia:
Apple exports to British Columbia require a phytosanitary certificate (PC), indicating state and county of origin. Fruit must be free from Rhagoletis pomonella (apple maggot). Canada has released a directive entitled “Phytosanitary Requirements to Prevent the Introduction and Spread of Apple Maggot,” effective June 1, 2016, that provides shippers with three options to conform with this requirement:
Option 1: Shippers may provide a declaration that the apples come from a county that has been designated free from apple maggot through official annual surveys. Canada’s declaration provides a list of counties where this applies in Appendix 2.
Option 2: A commercial orchard that is free from apple maggot, but located within a county where apple maggot exists, may be designated as a Pest Free Production Site (PFPS) by USDA-APHIS. The process for certification is included in the directive.
Option 3: Shippers may employ a cold treatment, as detailed in Appendix 3.
This directive also includes an exemption from cold treatment requirements for apples grown in an area of British Columbia designated as free from apple maggot, packed in Washington state, and re-exported to British Columbia.
Lastly, the directive details a treatment and inspection process for empty containers destined for British Columbia that have been used to transport apple maggot host materials.
F. Food Safety
The CFIA has begun the process for establishing new food safety standards as required under the Safe Food for Canadians Act.
G. Other trade restrictions:
1. Canadian produce importers must present a completed Confirmation of Sale (COS) form to Canada Customs for Agriculture Canada before the load will be released.
Loads not accompanied by a COS form for Agriculture Canada will be held by Canada Customs until one is presented.
No other document will be acceptable to Agriculture Canada. The COS may also be used to satisfy invoice requirements for Canada Customs (2 copies) and Health and Welfare Canada (1 copy) at time of release.
Photocopies and facsimiles of the COS form will be accepted at time of release by Canada Customs.
Two signatures are required at time of release, however, in cases where this is not possible, one signature of either the buyer or the seller or their agents on the COS form will be acceptable at the time of release. The second signature with date of signing is then required on the COS form within 24 hours of the product arriving at its scheduled destination.
2. Under the authority of the Canada Agricultural Products Act, Canada prohibits bulk imports (and interprovincial trade) of fresh apples and pears unless the importer can obtain a special ministerial waiver of standard packaging rules. The prohibition applies to containers weighing more than 25 kilograms for apples and 50 kilograms for pears. Agriculture Canada only issues the waivers (also known as exemptions or easements) when local, domestic supplies are not available.
Effective May 4, 2015, Canada initiated a three-year pilot program to gradually reduce grade inspections on bulk apple imports from the U.S. to 50 percent, 25 percent, and then 5 percent of total shipments. Canadian guidelines for ministerial exemptions can be found here.
3. Effective May 17, 1995, compulsory grade standard inspection requirements were eliminated for many types of produce including pears. Compulsory USDA grade standard inspections remain in place for apples. Apples from the U.S. must meet Canada Extra Fancy or Canada Fancy Grade.
4. Effective July 25, 2003, when a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspection is requested at destination for apples or pears, condition defects will be reported on the certificate but they will not be scored against the grade and the product will not be detained for conditions defects. This is a suspension of CFIA’s special detention rules.
For more detailed information on exporting to Canada, please visit the Canadian Import, Export and Interprovincial Requirements for Fresh Fruit & Vegetables website.
H. Solid Wood Packing Material (SWPM) Regulations:
Please refer to the SWPM section of the NHC’s Technical Bulletins and Industry Advice.
VI. MARKETING REPRESENTATIVES FOR PACIFIC NORTHWEST TREE FRUIT INDUSTRY:
Northwest Cherry Growers:
Washington Apple Commission:
VII. OTHER RESOURCE LINKS:
- The World Factbook (Central Intelligence Agency)
- Canada (U.S. Commercial Service/Department of Commerce)
- U.S.-Canada Trade (USDA/FAS)
- U.S. Embassy
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
- Canadian Import, Export and Interprovincial Requirements for Fresh Fruit & Vegetables
VIII. ADDITIONAL COMMENTS
Effective July 1, 2020, the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) will not require a specific certificate of origin as was required by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Form 434 (NAFTA certificate of origin) is not mandatory under the USMCA. USCMA requires a “certification of origin”; and a NAFTA certificate of origin contains the elements required by the USCMA certification of origin. However, any format is acceptable, provided it contains the following nine minimum data elements set out in USCMA, Annex 5-A:
- Importer, Exporter, or Producer Certification of Origin
- Description and HS Classification of the Good
- Origin Criteria
- Blanket Period (if applicable)
- Authorized Signature and Date
The data elements must indicate that the goods claiming preferential treatment originate and meet the requirements of USMCA Chapter 5 detailed in CBP’s USMCA Interim Implementing Instructions, see Appendix III, page 38. This information may be provided on an invoice or any other document. The information must describe the originating good in sufficient detail to enable its identification and meet the requirements as set out in the Uniform Regulations.
For more information on certification requirements and the data elements listed above, please see USMCA, Article 5 and Annex 5-A, available at the U.S. Trade Representative website and the CBP website. Additionally, Canada Produce Marketing Association has a sample document that can be found here.