CFIA Notice – AIRS update on pasteurized / unpasteurized cheese

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a notice to the importing industry advising of changes to import requirements for cheese.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is updating the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) database to distinguish between cheese manufactured from pasteurized and unpasteurized milk.

As of April 3, 2018, cheese importers/customs brokers will be required to identify whether cheese is made from pasteurized or unpasteurized milk by selecting the appropriate Harmonized System (HS) code. This will allow the CFIA to establish inspection priorities and collect informed data.

The AIRS change will incorporate the pasteurization designation through the HS code that is used when submitting the electronic data interchange (EDI) information.

Currently, importers must indicate whether cheese is pasteurized or unpasteurized using the Import Declaration or Annex A.

These changes do not affect food safety requirements. All food sold in Canada, including cheese, must meet Canada’s stringent food safety standards.

For more information, please contact the CFIA.