Canada restricts importing of California leafy greens

| 5/24/2007

Produce truckers who haul into Canada should pay close attention to a new requirement the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced earlier this month regarding the importing of leafy green produce originating from California.

Beginning June 1, the CFIA will require shippers to fill out “Box 22” on a “Confirmation of Sale” form, which documents the origin of the goods. For example, if leafy green vegetables originate in California, shippers must declare in that box that the produce has been handled by a “signatory handler” of the California Leafy Greens Products Handler Marketing Agreement.

Truckers may want to check their paperwork before leaving the shippers because if the shippers don’t fill out the COS correctly, truckers’ loads will be rejected by the Canada Border Service Agency.

Signatory handlers of the leafy green marketing agreement in California must agree to only get their supply from growers that apply the Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Production and Harvest of Lettuce and Leafy Greens or Leafy Green GAPS.

Isabelle Laberge, senior officer of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program at CFIA, said there will be no exceptions by border officials while shippers – and truckers – adjust to the new directive.

To read the CFIA’s import requirements, click here, or call the CFIA at (613) 221-7153

“We are going to have to be quite strict about enforcing this directive,” said Laberge.

Laberge said the import requirements stem from the September 2006 E. coli outbreak linked to bagged spinach grown in California which sickened more than 200 people, including one confirmed case in Canada, and killed three people.

For more information regarding the list of signatory handlers, click here.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer