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Pilot project commences on imports of onion from U.S.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) advises of an onion pilot program which will begin on January 20, 2014.

In accordance with the Beyond the Border Action Plan, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will conduct an “onion pilot” aimed at removing certification requirements (grade verification) for U.S. grown onions imported from the United States (U.S.).

The onion pilot project will include U.S. grown onions imported from the U.S. that are marketed fresh to consumers or are intended for further processing/repacking (in bulk).

The revised Canadian import requirements for onions will come into effect on January 20, 2014 and will remain in effect until April 30, 2014.  During this time period, inspection/certification by USDA (USDA inspection certificate [FV-205]) or CFIA (custom clearance inspection) will not be required for U.S. grown onions imported from the U.S.  Onions will still be required to meet the minimum grade, labelling and packaging requirements according to the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations.

Onions grown in a country other than the U.S. and imported from a U.S. distributor (not in bond) to Canada will still require an FV-205 or a Conditional Release Form (followed by Custom Clearance Inspection) to be considered compliant with Canadian import requirements.

The Guidelines for Requesting and Administering Ministerial Exemptions for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Section 5.2 of the Ministerial Exemption has been revised to reflect the conditions of the “onion pilot”.  Since USDA will no longer be certifying bulk U.S. grown onions for export to Canada, Ministerial Exemptions (MEs) will no longer be forwarded to USDA. MEs will be printed on CFIA letterhead and signed for each individual load and forwarded to the applicant.  The applicant must ensure that an original ME is at the Canadian point of entry for each load entering Canada. Monitoring (control visits) may be performed to ensure compliance with the terms of the ME.

For those rare instances where onions are grown in a country other than the United States and imported from a U.S. distributor into Canada, the same Ministerial Exemption procedures will apply as for apples and potatoes.

Consult the overview – Import and Interprovincial Requirements for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables document available on CFIA’s website.

View the “Guidelines for Requesting and Administering Ministerial Exemptions for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables”.