The Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC)-led initiative to amend the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) Compendium 2, Canadian Grade Compendium: Volume 2 – Fresh Fruit or Vegetables Grades and Requirements has stalled. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) implemented a pause to the phased updates to individual fresh fruit and vegetable (FFV) grades.
Fresh Produce Alliance (FPA) organizations consisting of the DRC, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, and the Fruit & Vegetable Growers of Canada were recently advised by CFIA that it will continue to review its priorities and allocate resources to the highest-risk areas.
The CFIA has informed the FPA of their intention to pause work to develop a more efficient model for grades that will facilitate trade, support economic growth, and align with the CFIA’s mandate. They further indicated that they are redirecting resources to prioritize and complete this engagement in a timely manner. The CFIA will continue to engage with the FPA to better understand the role that grade standards play in the marketplace, including the role and value of the standards.
The FPA points out that the pause to phased updates will delay the completion of the grade standards, which are required for Canada to remain competitive and provide Canadians with affordable fresh fruits and vegetables.
The horticultural industry is particularly eager for the proposed changes to be implemented as the pause raises concerns with quickly approaching Test Market Authorizations (TMA) that will expire soon. For instance, a TMA for nectarines is set to expire on July 5, 2024.
While the new stand-alone grade standard for nectarines would address elements of the TMA, an extension may not be possible, and the proposed new standard may not be implemented by July as a result of the pause.
The DRC looks forward to providing further updates and discussion on grade standards at the upcoming FVGC AGM to be held in Ottawa from March 4-7, 2024.
For more information, contact:
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation
Email: [email protected]