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CFIA’s Pause on FFV Grade Standards Sparks Concern

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.

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For more information, contact: 

Nicole MacDonald
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation 
Email: [email protected]
Ph: +1-613-234-0982

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Changes to the Canadian Grade Compendium: Volume 2 – Fresh Fruit or Vegetables

On July 7, 2023, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) published a notice informing the fresh produce industry of changes to the Canadian Grade Compendium: Volume 2 – Fresh Fruit or Vegetables.

These changes reflect feedback received from industry, trading partners, and stakeholders, during the consultation period covering:

• A new standard for greenhouse miniature seedless cucumbers.
• Updates to the grades and requirements for greenhouse long seedless cucumbers, including changes to size requirements and clarifications to terminology for defects and tolerances.

The modified and new standards are found in the following:
Part 2 Grade Requirements for Fresh Vegetables.
Grades and Requirements for Greenhouse Long Seedless Cucumbers, paragraphs 148-154.
Grades and Requirements for Greenhouse Miniature Seedless Cucumbers, paragraphs 200-206.

The CFIA is committed to providing industry with sufficient time to adjust product grading and labels. The transition period begins July 7, 2023, when this change came into force, and ends on January 6, 2024.

As of January 7, 2024, the previous grade requirements will cease to apply, and all regulated parties must comply with the new requirements.

Consult the notice to industry to learn more.

Questions or concerns can be sent to [email protected].

The DRC extends its thanks and appreciation to members of the fresh produce industry review team and other industry stakeholders who contributed to reviewing the existing grade standard and the development of the new grade standard for mini cucumbers. Publication of an updated standard for greenhouse tomatoes is expected in the coming months.

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What Triggers the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation’s (DRC’s) Bonding Policy?

Any membership applicant, current member, or a Responsibly Connected Person, who fail to meet the conditions outlined in the DRC’s Operating Rules may be subject to the DRC’s bonding policy.

The DRC bonding policy requires that bonds or other forms of financial security be provided as an assurance to the membership that the entity posting the security will conduct under the DRC’s By-laws & Operating Rules. Depending on the circumstances, a bond may be posted by an applicant, a member, a responsibly connected person in respect of a member, or an employee of a member.

These are the most common circumstances that may trigger DRC to request financial security:

Membership applicants which:
• Have a CFIA Food safety license issued under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) or a PACA license revoked or suspended within the last five years from the day a membership application is submitted.
• Have been terminated with cause or expelled from membership in the DRC within the last five years from the day a membership application is submitted.
• Have failed to comply with an arbitration award or a mediated agreement within the last five years from the day a membership application is submitted.
• Have filed for bankruptcy or suspended the payment of debts within the last five years from the day a membership application is submitted.
• Have suspended the operations of a business without fully meeting its financial obligations within the last ten years from the day a membership application is submitted.

Members which:
• Have failed to comply with an arbitration agreement or mediated agreement.
• Have failed to comply with DRC Trading Standards General Rules of Conduct.

If a member who has posted financial security violates a provision of DRC’s By-laws and Operating Rules during the bonding period, the DRC may distribute the funds, as provided in the Security Agreement between the member and the DRC.

For more information about the DRC’s Bonding Policy, call 1.613.234.0982 or submit an inquiry through our Help Desk General Inquiry form. 

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AUTOMATED IMPORT REFERENCE SYSTEM

The Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) is a reference tool that shows the import requirements for Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulated commodities.

If you are planning on importing fresh fruits and vegetables into Canada or are an exporter intending to export fresh fruits and vegetables to Canada, CFIA-AIRS will provide you with the requirements that a Canadian company must comply with in order for that product or commodity to be able to enter Canada. A few of these requirements are:

• Dispute Resolution Corporation Membership, unless exempted
• CFIA Safe Food for Canadians License
• Electronic Date Interchange (EDI) – Integrated Import Declaration (IID) or Confirmation of Sale (COS) – Government form
• Labeling
• Phytosanitary if applicable

If you want to learn how to use CFIA-AIRS, click on the following link and follow the instructions:

CFIA Automated Import Reference System

If this would be your first-time using CFIA-AIRS, we recommend using the following tutorial link:

CFIA-AIRS Tutorial

If you have any questions about this tool, do not hesitate to contact us at DRC’s Help Desk.

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