Annex C: Procedures for the Use of Official Meat Inspection Certificates (OMIC)

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A. Edible Meat and Meat Products

1. Official Meat Inspection Certificate (OMIC)

OMICs for exporting meat products to Canada must be elaborated and authenticated during the procedure of approving the foreign country meat inspection system. The standard form of the certificate is shown in Annex C-1.

It is the responsibility of the competent authority responsible for meat inspection of the exporting country to customize and reproduce the certificate. Only the authenticated OMIC shall be used for exporting meat to Canada.

Except for the United States, all text appearing on the OMIC, including attestations, data entry box titles as well as all shipment data, must be printed in English, French and at least one of the official languages of the exporting country. For the United States, the certificate is printed in English.

The name of the country, the official country stamp/crest and the name of the competent authority responsible for meat inspection of the exporting country must be printed between box number 3 and box number 4, just above the title "Official Meat Inspection Certificate for Exporting Meat Products to Canada".

The certificate can be reproduced on different sizes of paper (for example: 21.5 cm X 28 cm or 21 cm X 30 cm). If more than one sheet of paper is used for a single certificate, each sheet must contain the entire certificate number, the name and original signature of the official veterinarian, the date of signing and the official stamp. Attestations may require optimal sheets. There may not be enough space on the OMIC if there are additional animal health related attestations. For available options consult instructions for the use of box 17, in section 2.2 (Box No. 17).

If a multi-part (carbon copies) certificate form is used, then the word "original" must be printed on the original certificate and additional multiple copies must have either the word "copy" or "duplicate" printed on them.

The ink colour used for the signature and official stamp (if not embossed) must be different from that used to print the original certificate.

The certificate number in box number 3 must be a sequential number immediately following the country code (for example: AUS 0000). Refer to Annex A-1 of this chapter for a list of country codes. This same number must be stamped on all shipping cartons of product covered by that certificate unless shipping marks are used. Refer to Annex D of this chapter for details on the use of shipping marks.

Some countries may add vertical lines between item number 11, item number 12, item number 13, or item number 14.

Any other modification of the authenticated OMIC will result in the invalidation of the certificate and consequently the refusal of the shipment.

2. Instructions for Completing Certificates

2.1 American exporters seeking guidelines for completing export certificate "Food Safety and Inspection Service" (FSIS - Form 9135-3) should refer to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) FSIS "Export Requirements for Canada". American exporters should also consult the following section, since the information to be certified will correspond with the FSIS export certificate even where the numbering of boxes and items differ.

2.2 The following box numbers refer to the box numbers on the OMIC format presented in Annex C-1 for countries other than the United States:

Box No. 1: Name and address of the exporter.

Box No. 2: Name and address of the Canadian importer. The importer must be a Canadian person or a company, with a Canadian address. A c/o (Care of) address is not acceptable.

Box No. 3: The certificate number, immediately following the country code. Refer to Annex A-1: Example: International three letter country code 00001. The certificate number should be printed or stamped; handwritten certificate numbers are not acceptable.

Box No. 4: Slaughtered at: Official number, name of the establishment and the country where the animals were slaughtered and from which the meat in the shipment originated. More than one establishment may appear in this box, depending on the meat products being certified. The establishments may be located in countries different from the country issuing the certificate. All slaughter plants must be eligible to export meat products to Canada.

Box No. 5: Carrier: Name of the carrier, name of the vessel and the voyage number, name of the airline and the flight number, or name of the trucking firm, as applicable.

Box No. 6: Port of loading: Name of the port where the meat product was loaded for export to Canada.

Box No. 7: Date of departure: The date when the meat product left for Canada.

Box No. 8: Processed at: Official number, name of the establishment and the country where the meat product was processed (cutting, curing, cooking, etc.). More than one establishment may appear in this box, depending on the meat products being certified. In these instances, the appropriate processing establishment number must also be entered, preceding the product description under item 13, for each product/item line. All processing establishments producing product on this certificate must be eligible to export meat products to Canada and they must all be listed on the certificate.

Box No. 9: Port of landing: The name of the Canadian port where the meat product will be entering Canada.

Box No. 10: Number of exporting establishment: The number of the eligible establishment from where the meat product is shipped.

Box No. 11: Shipping marks: see Annex D, section 1. If the OMIC number is being applied on each shipping container in the shipment as the reference to the appropriate OMIC, it is not necessary to enter it in box 11.

Unused space must be crossed out.

Box No. 12: Number and type of packages: The number and the type of packages (shipping containers) used to ship the meat products (combos, cartons, drums, etc.). If carcasses are shipped, then the word "carcasses" should be entered after the number.

Unused space must be crossed out.

Box No. 13: Description of the meat products and label registration number (if applicable): Where more than one establishment is entered in box number 8, "Processed at", the appropriate processing establishment number must be entered, preceding the product description of each product/item line.

For all meat products requiring CFIA label registration, the label registration number must be entered following the product description. The product description on the certificate must be identical to that on the registered label. The label registration numbers are unique to the processing establishment and to the immediate package label of the meat product. Only one label registration number may be entered for any one of the product/item lines on the certificate.

In the case of unmarked meat product, the product description should be: "unmarked (name of the meat product)". No label registration is required unless prepared meat products are shipped unmarked for further processing.

For example: Unmarked Boneless Beef

In the case of hermetically sealed containers, commercially sterile or pasteurized (cans, retortable pouches), the product description, as registered with the CFIA Label and Recipe Registration, the number and weight of hermetically sealed containers in the shipping carton and the label registration number are required.

For example: Corned Beef 05103 N (24 x 340 g)

In all cases, the correct description of the meat product must be the same as the one on the shipping carton and as the one appearing on the registered label, if applicable. In the case of a beef carcass, a complete side, a hind quarter, a front quarter, a primal cut or a sub-primal cut:

  1. if the product is graded, the grade name or grade symbol must be part of the product description; or,
  2. if the product is ungraded, the words "ungraded beef" must be part of the product description (for more details, see Annex E-1).

In the case of graded whole poultry carcasses, the common name must be accompanied by the grade designation in the product description on the OMIC as well as on the label. The common names to be used are listed in Annex E-2.

In the case of ungraded whole poultry carcasses, the product must be described as "Ungraded" followed by the common name. The label does not have to specify that the product is ungraded. The common names to be used are listed in Annex E-2. For meat products shipped under the Alternative Packaging Procedure and shipping marks see Annex D, section 2 for the requirements relative to the use of shipping marks.

Unused space must be crossed out.

Box No. 14: Net weight: The net weight of each category of meat product/product line can be indicated in metric and/or imperial units. The weight units must be entered, following the amount, or, in the case of American certificates, the appropriate weight unit box must be ticked off.

Unused space must be crossed out.

Box No. 15: Container number: Number of the transport container into which the shipping containers of the meat products were placed in the country of origin and are being transported to Canada.

Box No. 16: Official Seal no(s): The number of the foreign official meat inspection seal which is applied to the transport container, trailer, railway car, truck, etc., in the country of origin. All access entries into transport containers must be sealed, when seals are required. Official seals are required on all shipments of meat and meat products imported to Canada from all countries other than the United States. For requirements with respect to the use of official seals, see Annex L.

Box No. 17: Additional certification: The additional statements/attestations which may be required for the purposes of animal and/or public health. The required additional country and product specific statements/attestations can be found in Annex A of this chapter. The attestations must appear in English, French and in at least one of the official languages of the country of origin from where the meat products are being certified for export to Canada. The appropriate attestations are to be inserted in box 17 of the certificate or be provided in the form of an annex to the OMIC, on the competent authority's letter head paper, with reference to box 17.

If the Annex option is used, each separate sheet should contain the entire certificate number, including the international three letter country code, date, typed name and the signature of the official veterinarian and the official stamp. The bottom of each page shall be numbered as follows: (page number) of (total number of pages).

Unused space in box 17 must be crossed out.

Box No. 18: Public Health Attestations, as indicated on Annex C-1, except where a specific agreement exists with some countries: the date on which the certificate was issued and signed, the signature of the official veterinarian. The ink used for the signature must be of different colour from the colour in which the certificate text is printed.

Printed name: The name of the official veterinarian who signed the certificate must be clearly and legibly printed or typed on the certificate in close proximity to the signature.

Box No. 19: Official stamp: The official national foreign meat inspection stamp must be applied in this box. The stamp should be embossed, or if applied by stamp, in a colour different from the colour in which the certificate text is printed.

Note: Unused space designated for item 11, item 12, item 13, item 14 and item 17 must be crossed out to avoid unauthorized additions to the products/items being certified after signing of the certificate.

3. United States

All United States certificates for meat and poultry products for export to Canada must be pre-validated by the Meat Import Control Centre (MICC) in Ottawa, fax number: 613-228-6623, prior to shipping of consignments. It is the responsibility of the United States exporting establishments to have certificates pre-validated. Details of the procedure may be found in the Canadian Export Requirements document found in the FSIS Export Information or may be obtained from the FSIS, Office of International Affairs, Washington, at the telephone number: 202-720-3473; or, by fax, at: 202-205-3469 or 202-720-7990. All replacement certificates must also be pre-validated. The National Import Service Centre (NISC) will not clear shipments where the certificates were not previously pre-validated and data entered into the Import Control Tracking System (ICTS).

Shipments imported from the United States should cross the border within 72 hours of document verification (pre-validation). When shipments are delayed from the United States or pre-verified certificates are cancelled or voided, the exporter must notify the CFIA MICC in Ottawa.

3.1. Australia and New Zealand

Australian and New Zealand certificates for meat and meat products for export to Canada are also being pre-validated (verified) by the CFIA, MPD, Import Program. However, it is not required that the OMIC be faxed to Ottawa for the verification to take place.

The CFIA has access to Australian certificates, in an electronic form, issued by the foreign competent authorities. In addition, the country of origin will also issue a paper certificate (OMIC) which must accompany the shipment upon arrival. Electronic certification data are either entered manually or transferred to the ICTS, and pre-validated. All replacement certificates are also being pre-validated. Note that the NISC will not validate for customs clearance any shipments for which the OMIC's data is not registered with the ICTS. In this event, the importer should contact the Australian authorities.

3.2. All Other Countries

At this time, certificates from other approved countries are not being pre-validated by the CFIA Headquarters.

4. Document Validation of Imported Meat and Meat Products Shipments

In addition to the pre-validation requirements, all foreign certificates (OMIC) for exporting of meat and meat products to Canada must be cleared by the NISC before the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers allow entry of the consignments into Canada.

In the case of Japan, two export certificates, the OMIC issued by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Inspection and Safety Division and the Export Quarantine Certificate issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, must be presented for clearance. If one of these two documents is missing or is incomplete, the shipment shall be refused entry.

It is the responsibility of the importers/brokers, to submit the required documents to the NISC. The shipments must be presented to the CBSA at the point of landing within 72 hours for National Import Service Centre pre-clearance for United States shipments and within 14 days for offshore shipments of meat products.

4.1 CFIA National Import Service Centre

See the National Import Service Centre Web site for more information.

4.2 Documentation Requirements

The CBSA will refer all shipments of meat products to the CFIA for decision before allowing the product to enter Canada except as described in Annex G of this chapter.

For commercial shipments of meat products, the following documents must be presented to the NISC for processing and clearance:

  1. CFIA/ACIA 5272 "Request for Documentation Review";
  2. a copy of the original OMIC;
  3. for Japan, copies of the original OMIC and Export Quarantine Certificate;
  4. for the United States, where pre-clearance is done in Ottawa, the stamped verified copy of the OMIC;
  5. if applicable, the Animal Health Import Permit issued by the Terrestrial Animal Health Division (TAHD);
  6. if applicable, the grading certificate for United States graded poultry carcasses; and
  7. a Canada Customs Invoice or commercial invoice.

The above documents can be faxed to the NISC.

For the United States and all other countries requiring pre-clearance an import control number is assigned to the shipment at time of pre-clearance verification by Ottawa. The NISC will confirm that the faxed copy of the original OMIC and copy of the pre-cleared verified copy of the OMIC are identical except for the number of cartons, the net weight and the name of the signing veterinarian, which may be different from the verified copy. The CFIA inspector will complete the data entry for all pre-cleared shipments. For all other countries, the NISC will verify the copy of the original OMIC and complete the data entry to generate the import control number and Import Inspection Report (IIR). The NISC is responsible for distribution of IIRs to the CFIA import inspectors for all countries other than the United States.

If there are errors, omissions, missing required documents etc., a Rejection Notice or the Request for Release Approval stamped "Refused CFIA/ACIA refusé" is returned to the custom broker or importer. Refer to Annex T-5 of this chapter (available for CFIA personnel only). For acceptable documents, the Request for Release Approval cover sheets will be stamped by the CFIA, to indicate that the certificate and documents have been cleared by the CFIA and the shipment may enter Canada. See Annex T-1 for an example of the CFIA clearance stamp (available for CFIA personnel only). The importer will be invoiced the applicable fees as per the CFIA Meat Products Inspection Fees, Part 10, table 1 of section 5.

Meat shipments permitted to enter Canada must be handled by the importer in accordance with inspection plan instructions on the IIR. Refer to the copy of the IIR included in Annex H of this chapter.

With the exception of United States skip lots, the original copies of OMICs must be forwarded to the inspector in charge of designated import inspection establishments prior to inspection. United States skip lots are not required to be presented for inspection at an import inspection facility. The original documents for United States skip lots must be forwarded by the broker, importer or exporter directly to the NISC that cleared the shipment.

5. Acceptable and Unacceptable OMIC

The OMIC must be complete, accurate, and legible to be acceptable. Handwritten copies are acceptable but must be all handwritten or all printed except for the certificate number which should be printed or stamped. The guidelines of section 2 of this annex should help inspectors identify acceptable certificates. In addition, only original certificates with an original signature of the foreign government official are acceptable. For the purpose of documentation clearance, the CFIA will accept copies of the original certificates as the proof that the imported products comply with the provisions of the pertinent Canadian legislation.

Photocopies and carbon copies of health certificates are not acceptable for the purposes of import inspections at Canadian registered establishments, except where replacement certificate guarantee has been accepted by the MPD, Import Programs, in Ottawa (see section 7 (Replacement of the OMIC) and section 8 (Guaranteed Replacement Certificates) of this annex).

The imported shipments of meat products will not be subjected to the required import inspection until the inspector has in his possession the original OMIC, or a copy of the guaranteed replacement certificate.

Certificates are not acceptable if any of the item descriptions listed below are erased, typed over, altered, or changed by any other means. If this occurs, the certificate shall be refused and a replacement certificate must be obtained if the meat product is to be considered for importation.

  1. description of the meat product;
  2. label registration number;
  3. shipping marks;
  4. number and kind of pieces, containers, packages, etc.;
  5. net weight;
  6. foreign establishment number;
  7. signature of the foreign government official; or
  8. certificate number.

Certificates which contain obvious misspelled words may be accepted.

Unacceptable certificates shall be refused. The refused certificates must be cancelled and the inspection results entered into the ICTS.

6. Refused Certificates

An original refused OMIC shall be cancelled by stamping it in red ink "Refused CFIA/ACIA refusé" as illustrated in Annex T-5 (available for CFIA personnel only) and should be sent by the import inspector to the CFIA Meat Import Control Centre (MICC) in Ottawa with the IIR. The CFIA inspector is responsible to immediately enter certificate refusals into the ICTS to ensure that requests for replacement certificates are not delayed.

At the written request by the importer, the inspector may provide the importer with the refused cancelled original certificate. In this instance a copy should be sent to the CFIA MICC in Ottawa, accompanied by a copy of the IIR. The inspector must indicate on the report that the original of the refused certificate was cancelled and returned to the importer.

7. Replacement of the OMIC

When a shipment of meat product being imported is refused by a CFIA inspector for reasons that can be corrected by a replacement certificate, the importer/broker may decide to request a replacement certificate or a guaranteed replacement certificate. Refer to section 8 of this annex for details on guaranteed replacement certificates.

The importer/broker must notify the appropriate CFIA inspector of their intent to obtain a replacement certificate. This must be given within two working days from the time the inspector notified the importer/broker that the shipment was refused. The importer is responsible for arrangements with the exporter to obtain a replacement certificate from the competent authorities. For replacement certificates from Australia or New Zealand see section 7.2. If the appropriate CFIA inspector is not notified within the two day period, the involved product shall be ordered out of Canada. See Annex J for more details.

The issuing competent authority may request that the first original OMIC be returned to them before they will issue a replacement. This is a security practice to assure that there are no two original OMICs in circulation for the same certified shipment. At the written request by the importer, the CFIA inspector may return the original OMIC, stamped "refused," to the importer. In this instance, a copy of the refused OMIC must be sent to the CFIA MICC in Ottawa, accompanied by the original replacement certificate and by a copy of the IIR. On the report, the inspector must indicate that the original of the refused certificate was returned to the importer.

Alternatively, instead of returning the refused original OMIC to the importer, arrangements may be made with the National Specialist of Import Programs to notify the competent authority that the first original OMIC was duly cancelled and is in possession of the CFIA. The competent authority may accept this assurance in lieu of insisting that the first original OMIC be returned to them.

7.1 Replacement Certificate Procedures

A replacement certificate may be accepted by the NISC only when the previous certificate for the shipment has been officially refused by the CFIA and the refusal has been entered into the ICTS.

A copy of the replacement certificate must be presented by the importer/broker to the NISC, following the normal entry procedures described in section 4. The NISC will modify the existing Import Control Number to reflect the new certificate number and distribute the IIR following normal procedures. The CFIA fees for review of import documentation shall be applied to all replacement and guaranteed replacement certificates. Replacement certificates from countries where pre-clearance of certificates is required must also be pre-cleared before they are presented to the NISC.

Following document processing, the importer/broker must forward the original replacement certificate to the inspector at the location where the shipment is detained. The imported meat shipment awaiting inspection in the registered establishment may be inspected and released if found to be acceptable and the original replacement certificate is in the inspector's possession. Inspectors shall send copies of the original replacement certificate, the refused certificate (or copy thereof if returned to the importer) and the IIR to Ottawa.

7.2 Replacement Certificates for Countries with Electronic Transmission of Export Information (Australia and New Zealand)

Requests for Australian and New Zealand replacement certificates must be directed to the Import Program of the MPD, in Ottawa. The MPD is currently receiving all Australian and New Zealand certificates in an electronic form, in addition to the traditional paper certificates. The electronically received certification data is pre-validated in Ottawa and entered in the ICTS, in a manner similar to the pre-validation of the United States imports. Whenever an Australian and a New Zealand paper certificate (OMIC) is refused and a replacement certificate would correct the reason for refusal, the inspector should inform Ottawa Headquarters (CFIA, MPD, Import Program), since the certificate must be refused and a replacement requested electronically. The information must include the certificate number, control number and the detailed reason for refusal. All other operational procedures remain unchanged.

7.3 Replacement Certificate Statement

When an OMIC is replaced, one of the following statements must be entered in the main body of the certificate, before the certificate is signed:

"Issued in lieu of certificate No. space"; or,
"This certificate replaces certificate No. space"; or,
any similar statement.

In the case of countries stamping the export certificate number on the shipping cartons (boxes), the following additional statement is required:

"The export certificate number on the shipping cartons (boxes) covered by this certificate shows certificate number space"; or,
any similar statement.

8. Guaranteed Replacement Certificates

When there is an emergency and a delay due to a request for an original replacement certificate which could compromise the integrity of the products, the CFIA may accept copies of guaranteed replacement certificates in lieu of the originals to allow import procedure to continue and release the shipment. The guarantee must be given to the effect that the original replacement certificate shall be delivered to the CFIA MICC in Ottawa within 30 calendar days of the issue of the guarantee.

8.1. Guaranteed Replacement Certificates for Meat Products Imported from the United States

The guarantee is given by the exporter. The guarantee form, obtained from the CFIA MICC in Ottawa, is completed by the exporter.

8.1.1. Guarantee and Document Verification of United States Replacement Certificates

The guaranteed replacement certificate must be pre-cleared at the CFIA MICC in Ottawa, as is the case for all other certification of meat products imported from the United States. The refusal of the original refused certificates must be entered by the CFIA inspectors into the ICTS prior to the guarantee of replacement certificates. A copy of a duly signed guarantee form completed by the exporter must be faxed to the CFIA MICC in Ottawa along with the pre-verification form "Notification of Intent to Export Meat Products to Canada" and the replacement USDA export certificate to be verified.

In all instances, the signature of the representative of the exporting United States establishment will be accepted as the proof of guarantee that the original replacement certificate shall be delivered to the address below within 30 working days from the date of signature:

Meat Import Control Centre (MICC)

Tel.: 613-221-1484
Fax: 613-228-6623

The USDA export certificate must have a statement in the "remarks" section indicating that this is a replacement certificate and the number of the certificate it replaces, since the shipping cartons in the shipment will have that number stamped on them. The verified guaranteed certificate will be stamped which will identify the certificate as having been guaranteed. See Annex T for an example (available for CFIA personnel only).

There must be no difference in information between the original replacement certificate and the verified copy of the guaranteed replacement certificate.

8.1.2. Original Guaranteed Replacement Certificates from the United States

The exporter is responsible to ensure that the original guaranteed replacement certificate is received at the CFIA MICC in Ottawa within 30 working days from the signed date of the guarantee. Failing this, no other guarantees of replacement certificates from any American exporter will be accepted until the offending original guaranteed replacement certificate is received in Ottawa. The National Import Operations Division of the CFIA will track all the received guarantees.

8.2 Use of Guaranteed Copies

The verified copy of the guaranteed replacement certificate is to be submitted by the importer to the NISC following the same procedures outlined in section 4 of this annex.

The imported meat shipments awaiting inspection in the registered establishments may be inspected and released if found to be acceptable and a copy of the guaranteed replacement certificate is in the inspector's possession.

The CFIA inspectors shall follow normal procedures for entering inspection results and handling of documentation, with the exception that a copy of the guaranteed replacement certificate rather than the original replacement certificate will be submitted to Ottawa.

8.3. Guaranteed Replacement Certificates for Meat Products Imported from Countries Other Than the United States

The guarantee is given by the embassy of the country of the certifying foreign competent authority. The guarantee form, duly signed by an appropriate official of the embassy must be submitted to the CFIA, MPD, National Specialist, Import Programs in Ottawa. The embassy is also responsible for submitting the original of the guaranteed certificate to Ottawa.

Other conditions, requirements and procedures are identical to those described in section 7.1 (Replacement Certificate Procedures) and section 8.2 (Use of Guaranteed Copies) of the present annex.

B. Inedible Meat Products

Inedible meat products may be imported only from countries where certification format and text has been approved by the CFIA, MPD.

It is the responsibility of the CFIA, MPD, Import Programs to negotiate certification format and text with the competent authority of the interested exporting country.

Examples of certificates for inedible meat products from approved countries are provided in Annex F-1 (available for CFIA personnel use only).

Data on importation of inedible meat products is currently not being captured in the ICTS.

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