The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been working with Food Safety Inspection Services (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to update the export certificate that accompanies meat products exported to the U.S. under FSIS jurisdiction.
The CFIA and FSIS have reached an agreement that allows CFIA inspectors as well as veterinarians to certify meat products under FSIS jurisdiction to the USA. This change has been incorporated in the amended export certificate, the CFIA/ACIA 5733. This certificate is completed by means of a fillable PDF document and is printed on special certificate paper.
The agriculture agencies feel the changes are required for two reasons. First, the change now permits certificates to be signed by either a CFIA inspector or veterinarian. This will streamline the certification process for both CFIA and meat exporters. Second, the FSIS published a final rule that amended the import regulations on September 19, 2014. This rule requires specific information to be provided to FSIS at the time of import as of March 18, 2015. The certificate was amended to include this information. There is nothing preventing the CFIA and meat exporters from using the revised certificate as of February 16, 2015.
FSIS has set a firm deadline of March 18, 2015, beyond which, they will only accept the amended export certificate. In order to prevent disruptions to trade, the CFIA expects exporters to start implementing the amended export certificate, CFIA/ACIA 5733, starting February 16, 2015. This will provide sufficient time to resolve potential issues that may affect the production of this certificate. Please note that the CFIA has tested the amended form and found that it provides a more efficient method of producing the certificate. Nevertheless, there may be situations that require adjustments, and this will provide sufficient time for both CFIA and exporters to react before the FSIS deadline of March 18, 2015.
Should an exporter have difficulties producing the CFIA/ACIA 5733, the CFIA will provide the existing certificate, CFIA/ACIA 4546. The CFIA will, however, cease issuing the CFIA/ACIA 4546 after March 18, 2015, as it will no longer meet FSIS requirements.
It should be noted that in order to meet U.S. animal health import requirements, an additional annex may also be required depending on the product and species.
Exporters should contact their local CFIA official for more information on products that require the certificate and for access to the amended export certificate CFIA/ACIA 5733, including detailed instructions (eventually, the form should be posted on the CFIA forms catalogue here).