CFIA rethinking limits on travellers’ personal food imports

Consultation running until March

The federal government is considering changes to the amounts of food travellers can bring into Canada with them from other countries for their personal use.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Thursday announced public online consultations on the proposed new limits, which CFIA said would “better reflect the volume of foods typically moved by travellers for their personal use but pose no food safety risks to other Canadians.”

Travellers entering Canada may bring food with them for their own personal consumption as long as the amounts are “within the specified personal exemption limits” and the food in question isn’t under restrictions for other reasons.

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For example, travellers coming in from countries known to have African swine fever in their hog populations are not granted any personal exemptions for meat products.

The consultations, which run online from now until March 4, focus strictly on the personal exemption limits and would not apply to commercial shipments of food products, CFIA said.

The idea is “to help ensure that food in Canada is safe without delaying or unnecessarily restricting travellers carrying food for personal use,” CFIA president Siddika Mithani said Thursday in the agency’s release.

For example, the regulations today allow travellers to bring in a total of 20 kg or 20 litres of dairy products other than milk and cream. That category includes ice cream, cheese, yogurt, butter and whey, among others, and the 20-kg/20-litre limit applies to the combined total of imported dairy products.

The new proposed limit for such products would be 20 kg or 20 litres. Milk and cream, now part of that 20 kg/20-litre limit for all dairy products, would be granted a separate 20-litre limit.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, for another example, were previously allowed to a maximum of 20 kg combined in a “fresh fruits and vegetables” category, but fresh fruits and fresh vegetables would each be granted separate categories with separate 20-kg limits. The category for “processed fruit or vegetable products” would be similarly split, each with their own 20-kg/20-litre limits.

Meat and meat products today are lumped into one category with a 20-kg limit for all such products combined. It would also be split into new categories such as chicken, whole and/or parts (10 kg combined); turkey or turkey parts (limit 10 kg of turkey parts or one whole turkey of any size); beef and//or veal (maximum 10 kg); pork (maximum 10 kg) and other meats (maximum 20 kg combined), not counting carcasses from hunted animals.

Some food categories which today are lumped into a single “all other food not mentioned above” category would be split into new categories, each with their own 20-kg/20-litre limits.

Among those new categories are “bread, pastry, cakes, fruit pies, biscuits and baked goods;” “confectionary, sweeteners, snack foods;” “infant foods;” “grain-derived foods” (such as breakfast cereals, oatmeal and cereal bars); “dried products” (including dried fruits and vegetables, spices, herbs and processed nuts); “condiments, dressings;” “fats;” and “nuts, grains, seeds.”

The full list of affected products and their proposed new limits is listed in the consultation document online. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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