Annex J: Procedures for Handling of Non-Complying Shipments

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1. Introduction

Imported meat products identified as non compliant with Canadian requirements are not allowed to enter Canadian commerce and may be ordered out of Canada.

The identification of non compliance with Canadian requirements may occur during import inspection as well as at any time after they have been released into Canadian commerce, for example, during retail inspection or following a consumer complaint. Imported meat products identified to be out of compliance may be ordered out of Canada at any of these inspection points.

Non compliance identified past released into Canadian commerce, will be handled on case by case basis in consultation with the Office of Food Safety and Recall (OFSR) and Enforcement and Investigation Services (EIS).

The non-compliance may involve the shipment totally or partially. For products with minor's non-compliances, inspector has an option to bring the products into compliance with Canadian requirements. See section 9.3 of this annex.

At import inspection, two main types of examination are performed:

  1. visual, organoleptic examination of a sample of the shipments by an inspector; and
  2. laboratory examination of samples.

Laboratory examinations are performed in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) accredited laboratories. Samples are taken by import inspectors during full organoleptic sample examination, according to the CFIA's sampling plans.

2. Legal Basis

Meat Inspection Act

17. (3) Where the owner of a meat product or other thing seized under this Act or the person in possession of it at the time of seizure consents to its disposal, it is thereupon forfeited to Her Majesty in right of Canada and may be disposed of, as the Minister may direct, at the expense of the person consenting to the disposal.

18. (1) Where an inspector believes on reasonable grounds that any meat product is being or has been imported into Canada in contravention of this Act or the regulations, the inspector may, whether or not the inspector seizes the meat product pursuant to section 15, require the importer to remove it from Canada by giving the importer a notice for its removal delivered to the importer personally or sent by registered mail to the importer's business address in Canada.

(2) Where any meat product is not removed from Canada within a period of ninety days after a notice for its removal was delivered or sent to the importer under subsection (1), or within such longer period after the delivery or sending of the notice as may be authorized by the Minister, it shall, notwithstanding section 16, be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of Canada and may be disposed of, as the Minister may direct, at the expense of the importer.

The shipment may be refused totally or partially and the importer has 90 days to remove it from Canada or follow the following options, to be performed under the direct supervision of CFIA inspection staff.

For product that has been refused entry because of misbranding or mislabelling of shipping containers, bring the product into compliance with Canadian requirements. See section 9.3 of this annex.

3. Notification Procedures

3.1 Importer and CFIA Area Office Notification

When an imported shipment of meat products is found not to comply with Canadian requirements, the inspector must immediately hold the meat products and inform her/his supervisor, the Area Program Specialist and the import inspection establishment. At the same time the inspector should advise the establishment management to notify the importer and clearly explain the alternatives should be clearly explained.

3.2 Notice to Remove Meat Products from Canada

Within two (2) working days, while the product is detained and the operator is advised that the imported meat product failed the inspection, the inspector or the supervisor must issue the Notice to Remove Meat Products from Canada. If the importer has the option to make the product compliant and notifies the inspector of it, the notice to remove the products out of Canada will not be given. See section 9.3 of this annex.

The notice must be either hand delivered or sent by registered mail to the importer, who will have 90 days to comply with the order. The inspector or the supervisor must make sure that the importer receives the written notice. If the inspector or the supervisor has not been contacted by the importer after 60 days, then a second notice should be issued to the importer.

In cases where the importer has not responded to the notices and when the 90 days provision has expired, the meat products should be seized and detained by the inspector, and the importer should be notified in writing that the refused meat products are now forfeited to Her Majesty in right of Canada and will be disposed of at his expense within the next two weeks (legal procedures if deemed necessary shall be undertaken within 180 days).

The importers of meat products that were ordered to be removed out of Canada must notify the CFIA of the place and the time of the removal. This is a legislated requirement that allows the CFIA to verify removal of the refused imported meat products from Canada.

4. Non-Compliance Products to the Canadian Requirements (Refusals)

There are two main types of non-compliance shipment refusals:

  1. non-compliance of the complete shipment refusal; and
  2. non-compliance of the partial shipment refusal.

4.1 Non-Compliance of Complete Shipment Refusals

For handling the shipment refer to section 6 and section 7 of this annex and Annex H-1 (available for CFIA personnel use only) of this chapter for entry of the refusal on the Import Control and Tracking System (ICTS).

4.2 Partial Shipments non-compliance Refusals

Occasionally only part of a shipment is refused. If the import failure is limited to a clearly identifiable part of a shipment covered by one certificate, only that part may be refused. In these instances, the importer must request permission to sort the refused lot and must organize removal of the non-compliant meat products from the shipment. In the cases of partial lot refusals, the importer must re-present the sorted, acceptable part of the lot for secondary inspection, to the inspector. Shipments of multiple product items originating from one establishment, covered under one certificate having one lot of the shipment refused and the inspector believes on reasonable grounds that the products of the other lots in the shipment do not comply with the Meat Inspection Act (MIA) and Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 (MIR), these lots should receive full organoleptic inspection regardless of ICTS generated inspection status.

4.2.1 Partial Shipment Non-Compliance

This refers to situations where one or more lots (item lines) identified on Official Meat Inspection Certificate (OMIC) are refused from among multiple lots (item lines) and others lots accepted.

If the non-compliance raised during the inspection of the import is limited to a clearly identifiable lot of a shipment covered by one certificate, only this lot of the shipment will be retained.

When the inspector has reason to believe that the other lots of the shipment do not satisfy the requirements of the Meat Inspection Act (MIA) and the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 (MIR), the lots must be the subject of a complete organoleptic inspection, regardless of the results of the inspection generated by the ICTS.

4.2.2 Partial Lot Non-Compliance

This refers to situations where a part of a single lot alone is refused, following sorting of the affected lot.

When a clearly identifiable imported lot of meat products fails import organoleptic inspection, sorting and removal of the affected part of the lot may be considered. The removed part shall be refused and disposed of accordingly, while the remainder may be accepted following secondary inspection by a CFIA inspector. Refer to section 9.3 of this annex concerning non-compliance products which can be made to conform to Canada.

Sorting of a refused lot may be considered only in cases where the defect is clearly visibly identifiable and the removal of affected product from the lot can be conducted in a fully hygienic manner, resulting in a lot that fully complies with Canadian requirements. Rework and handling of exposed meat products during the sorting process of refused lots is not permitted. Sorting must be carried out in the establishment where the imported meat product is being presented for import inspection.

The importer must notify the inspector immediately of the intention to apply for permission to sort the refused lot. The application must be in writing and must include detailed sorting protocol, including, the proposed date, time and procedure that will be followed. The sorted lot must be presented for secondary import inspection.

5. Marking of Refused Products

Each shipping container of the refused shipments shall be stamped in red ink "Refused CFIA/ACIA Refusé" as illustrated in Annex T-5 (available for CFIA personnel use only).

The "Refused CFIA/ACIA Refusé" stamp must be applied on the main panel of the container without obliterating any information. If this is not feasible, the "Refused CFIA/ACIA Refusé" stamp should be applied on an adjacent panel.

The stamping must be done by an employee designated by the management of the establishment under the control of an inspector. As with other CFIA stamps, the "refused stamp" and "acceptance stamp" are to be maintained under the direct control of the inspector. The refused meat products must be stored separately from any other product until proper disposition.

When a shipment is refused at the port of landing in Canada and the shipment has not been unloaded, the stamping of the export certificate with the "refused" stamp will be sufficient.

In the case of a shipment that has been refused entry for being mixed with incompatible products on the same vehicle (transport container) and where it is not practicable to stamp the shipping cartons, the inspector must immediately notify the National Specialist, Imports Program, MPD, Ottawa, Ontario, of the certificate number and the shipping marks stamped on the shipping cartons, who will issue instructions to prevent the re-importation of this meat product into Canada.

6. Procedures for Refused Certificates and ICTS Data Entry

All original OMICs, covering refused shipments, shall be stamped in red ink "Refused CFIA/ACIA Refusé" as illustrated in Annex T-5 (available for CFIA personnel use only). The inspector shall record the date and their initials adjacent to the stamped impression.

6.1 Partial Lot Refusals

The OMIC shall have the product item line, from the shipping mark to the net weight, circled in red ink. The text "Refused CFIA/ACIA Refusé" shall be hand written within the circle along with the date and the inspector's initials. The same procedure should be followed for the corresponding Multi-Commodity Activities Program (MCAP) Import Inspection Report (IIR). The IIR form should have the release stamp (Annex T-2 - available for CFIA personnel use only) applied for the balance of the shipments.

6.2 Partial shipment refusal

The corresponding MCAP IIR should have the number of cartons and net weight modified to demonstrate the quantities accepted. Similarly the quantities refused must also be indicated.

Inspectors with access to the ICTS shall contact their supervisor before entering the results of inspection for all complete or partial shipments ordered to be removed out of Canada. This is to verify that appropriate refusal type has been entered into the ICTS. Whenever a partial lot is ordered to be removed from Canada or destroyed in Canada, the quantity of rejected product and the reason for non-compliance must be entered in the box comment of the ICTS program only.

7. Procedures for Handling Refused Meat Products Ordered to be Removed from Canada

Procedures for handling refused meat products shipped out of Canada shall be handled in the manner described as follows.

7.1 United States Meat Products

7.1.2 Import Inspector

For United States refused shipments, the form CFIA/ACIA 4320 "Notice of Removal of Imported Meat Products Refused Entry" shall be completed and once the date of return to the United States is known a copy of this form as well as and a copy of the stamped "refused" OMIC will be sent by facsimile to:

Director
Import Export Programs
Office of International Affairs
USDA/FSIS Washington D.C.
Facsimile: (202) 720-7990

The non-complying meat products being removed from Canada are to be shipped in transport container bearing an official seal and a "Warning" sign (form CFIA/ACIA 0077).

Completed parts 1 and 2 of the form CFIA/ACIA 4320, a copy of the stamped OMIC shall accompany the shipment to the port of exit. Prior to the arrival of the meat product at the port of exit, an electronic notification should be sent by the import inspector to the CFIA inspector at this port. Part 3 of the form is faxed then mailed to the Area Program Specialist.

7.1.3 Port of Exit Inspector

The driver is required to stop and report to the CFIA at the port of exit. The inspector at the port of exit shall endorse the form in section 3 and shall give Part 1 to the driver and keep the other one for his file.

The inspector at the port of exit is responsible to send by facsimile Part 2 of the form to the Area Program Specialist where the product was refused entry. The Area Program Specialist shall send a copy of the completed CFIA/ACIA 4320 to the inspector at the import facility and a copy to the person in charge of import meat products at the Area Office where the product was refused entry to complete the file.

For United States shipments refused entry at port of landing and which are returned to the United States, the inspector responsible shall issue form CFIA/ACIA 4320 and send it by facsimile to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

7.2 Other Countries

The refused non-complying meat products being removed from Canada are to be shipped in a transport container bearing an official seal and a "Warning" sign (CFIA/ACIA 0077).

Completed parts 1 and 2 of the form CFIA/ACIA 4320, are to be sent by facsimile by the import inspector to the CFIA inspector at the port of exit and to the Area Program Specialist. The inspector at the port of exit shall endorse the form in section 3 when the refused product is shipped from Canada and send the completed form by facsimile to the Area Program Specialist where the product was refused entry.

The Area Program Specialist shall send a copy of the completed CFIA/ACIA 4320 to the inspector at the import facility and a copy to the person in charge of import meat products at the Area Office where the product was refused entry to complete the file.

8. Records to be Kept by the Inspector

The inspector must maintain a log book with the following information:

  1. country and establishment of origin;
  2. type of product;
  3. number of containers;
  4. total weight;
  5. location of the product;
  6. date of departure of the product from Canada;
  7. certificate number; and
  8. CFIA import inspection control number.

Copies of all document (OMIC, IIR, Refused Import Shipment Report, Notice to remove) must be kept on file, referenced to the log book.

9. Disposition of Refused Entry Product

9.1. Removal from Canada

The importers of refused meat products must notify the CFIA of the place and the time of the removal. This is a legislated requirement that allow the CFIA to witness removal of the refused imported meat products from Canada. The Notice to Remove Meat Products from Canada requests that the importer provide the information on place, date and time of removal from Canada. The inspector is responsible to assure receipt of this information. This information must be kept on file, with other documents pertinent to the refused imported shipment.

9.2. Destruction

As an alternative to removal from Canada, the importer may arrange for disposal of the product in a manner acceptable to the CFIA and under inspection supervision. All costs related to the disposal including the CFIA supervision are at the importers expense.

9.3. Bringing of Non-Complying Product into Compliance

  1. The lot shall be rejected if any sample unit fails to meet Canadian labelling requirements.
  2. For rejected lots, the importer or representative may be allowed by the inspector, to sort the lot by removing all non-complying containers; or may correct any shipping container labelling deficiency, except shipping marks, by re-labelling, stencilling, or obliterating the incorrect markings on all non-complying shipping containers.
  3. An inspector shall refuse entry of any shipping container on which the shipping marks are missing, incorrect, or are completely illegible, (no character of the shipping mark is identifiable). However, shipping containers on which part of the shipping marks is legible are permitted entry provided the identifying characters are identical to complete shipping marks of the other containers in the lot. In addition, shipping containers on which the shipping marks are missing, incorrect, or are completely illegible will be permitted entry provided an official of the foreign government inspection and certification agency responsible, affixes shipping marks to these containers. These shipping marks must be affixed in accordance with Canadian labelling requirements, under the supervision of an inspector, in an establishment registered for inspection of imported meat products.
  4. Lots rejected for shipping marks and shipping carton labelling deficiencies may be offered for reinspection provided all non-complying containers were removed or corrected.

    In cases of partial rejection, the complying part of the shipment may be accepted on basis of the original OMIC and the quantities originally entered in to the Import Control System must be corrected. The sorted out, non-complying, part of the shipment may be accepted, following correction of deficiencies and on basis of the issuance of a new OMIC certifying only the part of the load that was corrected.

    In cases of entire shipment rejections, the original OMIC is to be stamped as having been rejected and the shipment is to be rejected on the ICTS. A replacement OMIC will be required when the shipment is represented for inspection, following correction of deficiencies. Accordingly, the inspector shall select the appropriate sample size in accordance with the sampling plan and re-examine the lot.

    In cases where the certification is correct and only the product marks or shipping container labelling is incorrect on all or part of a shipment, the entire shipment shall be detained until correction of the non complying product. The original certificate is not required to be replaced. Where changes to shipping marks on product is required, the new markings must be applied under the supervision of an official government representative of the exporting country.

  5. Refused lots, pending correction, must remain under inspector's control, preferably by being placed under detention.
  6. The additional inspection duties, related to supervision of the correction of the deficiencies, are subject to inspection fees as per section 6, Part 10, Meat Products Inspection Fees.
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