BCTA knows the importance of fruits and vegetables

LANGLEY, B.C. — Unable to digest an amendment to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) policy that was introduced seemingly unnoticed, the B.C. Trucking Association went looking for a change of diet.

An enquiry Wal-Mart Transportation brought the issue to the BCTA’s attention and in turn, the lobby group convinced the CFIA to reverse amendments to Policy Directive D-95-08. The amendment required a phytosanitary management system (PSMS) and certificate for fresh fruits and vegetables traveling from the U.S. through Canada.

The problem with the amendments, which were originally effective June 5, is that companies like Wal-Mart, who do not directly export fruit and vegetables to Canada, but merely transport them in-bond through Canada, do not have a PSMS system in place and have no means of obtaining a phytosanitary certificate.

In addition, CFIA did not broadcast changes to the directive widely enough. Neither the Canadian Trucking Alliance nor the provincial associations were informed, so that carriers were arriving at the border with no awareness of the new requirements.

Beginning June 5, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) began enforcing the policy and turning away shipments of fresh fruit and vegetables, regardless of whether their final destination was in Canada or the U.S.

Following discussion with BCTA, CFIA agreed to withdraw the amendments. CFIA will be working with the US Food and Drug Administration to harmonize phytosanitary requirements so CFIA can formulate a new policy that will make it possible for all stakeholders (importers, exporters and in-bond shippers) to comply.

These changes are not expected to come into effect for some time. Until then, the requirement for a PSMS and certificate does not apply to in-bond shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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