Archive for the ‘Importing Food Products’ Category


2017 Designation Maintenance Begins in our Professional Development Courses!

T if for Trade Compliance Education

A new year means a new start for most everything and this includes a reset to the maintenance requirements of your professional designations set forth by the credential’s governing body. We are well into the year now and our Professional Development Courses for fall 2017 are about to launch.

Whether you are a Canadian or U.S. Certified Customs Specialist (CCS), a Certified Trade Compliance Specialist (CTCS), a Certified Export Specialist (CES), a designate with the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) or accounting professional, taking any of Pacific Customs Brokers’ seminars and webinars will earn you maintenance points, credits and hours towards a variety professional designations.

Review and plan your maintenance for the second half of 2017 by clicking on the course’s name below:

(Fall registration opens at midnight on July 15, 2017)

CDN Importing for Beginners Part 1
CDN Importing for Beginners Part 2
US Importing for Beginners Part 1 1
US Importing for Beginners Part 2 1
FDA Regulated Goods 2 2 1
CFIA Regulated Goods 2 2
NAFTA for Beginners Part 1 1 1
NAFTA for Beginners Part 2 1
Shipping Perishables – NEW! 5 5 3 3
CDN Trade Compliance Part 1 5 5
CDN Trade Compliance Part 2 5 5 3
Exporting from Canada 5 5 3 3
US Trade Compliance Part 1 5 5 3
US Trade Compliance Part 2 5 5 3 3
HS Tariff Classification 5 6 4
Free Trade Agreements and Rules of Origin 5 5 5
Customs Valuation 5 3.5
CFIA 5 5
FDA 5 5 3
CTPAT 3 3 2 2


If you have never attended one of our Professional Development Courses before, the following information might help you decide on attending the next one.

Professional Development Courses – Webinars

Our webinars are designed to meet the demands of the global trade community. These live webinars are a convenient way for trade professionals to stay ahead of new regulations with international trade and gain additional knowledge in key areas. The benefits of attending an online course include:

  • Cost-effectiveness – More affordable than industry standards and some even offered complimentary
  • Global accessibility – Travel is removed from the equation for companies with multiple locations or branches
  • Convenience – Attend from the comfort of your desk
  • Concise training – In a fast-paced industry, efficiency becomes just as important as staying compliant
  • Industry recognized sessions – Earn points towards maintenance of your industry designations

Professional Development Courses – Seminars and Workshops

At these in-person sessions, you will learn the best practices on being compliant as an importer and/or exporter helping you expedite your commercial shipments rather than triggering costly delays. Our experts share their knowledge on international and cross-border shipping to keep you current with customs and participating government agency regulations.  The benefits of attending an in-person seminar or workshop include:

  • All day access – Get our experts to answer your questions one-on-one
  • Case studies and real-life examples – Examine other attendees’ trade compliance issues
  • Cost-effectiveness – More affordable than industry standards
  • Range of topics – Choose from a wide variety of seminar topics
  • Certificate of Completion – Receive a certificate for each course you attend
  • Handouts – Take home your own set of course material
  • Industry recognized sessions – Earn points towards maintenance of your industry designations
  • Networking – Connect with other like-minded professionals

For future reference, download your own 2017 Fall Trade Compliance Program today!

Perishables Shipping | 12 Questions Every Shipper Must Ask

Perishables Shipping | 12 Questions Every Shipper Must Ask

Seldom do shippers or product owners know or understand the terminologies or intricacies of perishables shipping to ensure safe, and seamless passage of their goods. Without industry expertise, critical shipment details may be overlooked resulting in product damage or contract loss. Here are tips and tools to be a successful perishables exporter.

When we are contacted to move perishables shipments, the conversation may include the commodity trade name and that it must be kept at a specific temperature. It is packed in boxes, on skids, and is delivering to a foreign city, ready for pickup tomorrow. We then ask them the following questions:

  • What are the Incoterms® (terms of sale)?
  • Is there a letter of credit (L/C) involved?
  • How many commodities (SKU) make up the shipment?
  • What are the weights and dimensions of each shipping piece?
  • Are any pallets used certified and does the product contain the required markings?
  • Have the pallets been shrink-wrapped and were corners used?
  • Are there temperature recorders on the freight?
  • *What export documentation has been prepared to accompany the shipment?
  • Will your company file the B13A export document for Statistics Canada?
  • ** Does your product require phytosanitary certificates and has the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) completed the
  • inspection?
  • What mode of transport is optimal: air, ocean, or highway?
  • Has this shipment been pre-quoted – what is the quote reference?

TIP: Be ready to share your knowledge of the shipment to ensure proper handling and transportation to destination.

This list of condensed questions will start a conversation about a perishables shipment. It is important to note that although the client is familiar with their products and may not understand the need for these questions, we are not and therefore are required to ask in order to meet your specific shipping requirements. This ever-changing field is a constant learning process for freight forwarders and carriers. The freight forwarder, the person in charge of the shipment, must have a clear understanding of the shipment to be able to react to any situation following pickup from origin door. This would include after hours and weekends when the shipper is not available.

TIP: Be proactive and start the discussion early.

From this list of questions the conversation continues until we have a complete picture of the shipment and knowledge of where, when and how it must move. From door to door any number of issues, security measures or documentation questions can arise that would cause a delay and/or negative result.

Conversely the carriers – truckers, steamship lines and airlines – have a similar list of questions when the freight forwarder is booking the shipment. If we are not able to provide a complete understanding of the shipment, those carriers may have doubts about a successful delivery, which could affect them supplying a booking confirmation and final freight rates as a matter of liability. All parties involved in a freight movement want to deliver the shipment in its best possible condition, on time and as quoted. Carriers are bound by the information contained in the bill of lading and/or in the booking confirmation. Therefore, all questions must be asked, answered and understood, and itemized on the export documentation and on-hand with the freight forwarder.

TIP: Exporters must be as detailed as possible when organizing their shipments. Be ready and prepared to share all information with your freight forwarder so they can ensure the documentation is correct and in order, as well as being your conduit to the carriers. If your freight forwarder does not ask all these questions or is not available 24/7, you will require a freight forwarder that better meets your needs.

Finally, do not hesitate to ask any and all questions of your freight forwarder. They may not have all the answers exactly when you ask them but they gain the knowledge and reply as promptly as possible, as to put your mind at ease that you are receiving the best possible service.

We hope you will drop in again as this series on perishables shipping continues. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the movement of perishable commodities, please do not hesitate to call us at 888.538.1566.

CBSA Will Use a New Cargo Inspection System to Pre-screen Northbound US Cargo

Cargo Inspection System - Pacific Crossing 2017


CBSA will open the first land border

Gamma Ray Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System to improve processing of US Cargo

at Pacific Highway sometime in the summer of 2017.

Contributed by Jan Brock,

Senior Trade Advisor
Former Chief of Commercial Operations Pacific Highway crossing

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced in its Report on Plans and Priorities that it intended to invest in detection tools to assist the Border Services Officers with detecting high risk cargo.

Examinations may be performed with the use of specialized tools e.g. gamma ray imaging vehicle and cargo inspection system, ion scanners and detection dogs and may include a full or a partial offload of the goods to detect the presence of prohibited or restricted goods.” CBSA


Gamma ray imaging is a non-intrusive tool that cargo inspection services can use quickly and effectively to verify the presence of legitimate goods and to investigate suspicious and unknown materials. This technology assists with reducing border wait times and costs associated with cargo inspections.  

The Gamma Ray Imaging Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System being built at Pacific Highway is a stationary fixed location system contained within a building.

This technology performs the best for  detecting the presence of high density items  such as  steel or low density like narcotics.  It is capable of scanning an entire  semi truck and trailer ,intermodal shipping containers and automobiles for contraband.

This Cargo Inspection system  is a fast screening tool that will aid in facilitation of  cargo inspection at land borders. Large sized targets can be examined without unnecessarily opening or disturbing the contents of the load or incurring the cost of unloading or de stuffing the container.  

An offload will incur a cost to the importer, carrier and to CBSA cargo inspection services as it is very labour intensive.

The gamma ray image this system presents to the Border Services Officer (BSO) after the scan of the cargo and/or vehicle has been completed will assist in the officer’s decision on whether a more intrusive examination is warranted and the load may be redirected back to the warehouse for offload or destuffing by CBSA or the CBSA Contracted Cargo Inspection Service.

The efficiency, reduction in cargo inspection services and avoidance of costs associated with such action will make this new Cargo Inspection System a welcome addition to the Pacific Highway Port of Entry  and to Canadian Freight!

Have more questions on cargo inspection systems or cargo inspections services? Contact us and we are happy to assist.

For more detail please refer to the linked resource below :

Link: CBSA Report on Plans and Priorities

Want to learn more about the fundamentals of cross-border shipping? Attend a Customs Compliance Seminar hosted by Pacific Customs Brokers and learn from the experts.

Have questions or comments regarding importing to Canada? Leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.

Canadian Food Importers: New Regulations Affecting your Imports

Canadian Food Importers: New Regulations Affecting your Imports

Canadian Food Imports - Update 03-2017

The Government of Canada has introduced the Safe Food for Canadians Act. This act is meant to modernize, simplify and strengthen rules for food commodities imported into Canada.

The act is also to provide increased export opportunities for Canadian producers.  If your business is a Canadian food importer, exports food to another country, or sells food across provinces, you may be subject to the proposed requirements.

Major Changes That Will Affect Importers of Canadian Food:

After reviewing the act, we have summarized the areas that will most affect importers.

Licensing Requirements

Currently there are a few industries (dairy, meat and fish) that require a license under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulations. Under the new regulations, however, licenses may become mandatory for certain food types imported, exported, or traded inter-provincially. Under the proposed regulations, most food businesses would require a license to:

  • Import food
  • Manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package, or label food to be exported or sold across provinces
  • Export food that requires an export certificate, even if not preparing the food
  • Slaughter food animals where the meat product is to be exported or to sold across provinces
  • Store and handle a meat product in its imported condition for inspection by the CFIA.

Preventative Control Plan

It is proposed that every company who deals with food has a preventative control plan in place  which documents all aspects of the operation including equipment, food preparation, hygiene, transportation and storage. The plan will seek to identify all hazards and critical control points as well as procedures related to monitoring, corrective action, verification, and record keeping.

Recall Traceability Plan

To insure efficient response to food safety incidents, companies will be required to have (but not limited to) a recall traceability plan that is accessible in Canada, data that can be provided to the CFIA electronically, and you must be able to trace the food forward and backward, with records kept.

Non-Resident Importers

Of particular concern is the requirement for a license, which many Non-Resident Importers may not have. This has been addressed as a stakeholder concern and CFIA’s response is included in the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement below:

“Many importers currently operate from outside of Canada. A requirement to have a Canadian fixed place of business could result in significant costs associated with setting up an office in Canada.”

CFIA response:

“The proposed Regulations would allow for importers who do not have a fixed place of business in Canada to hold a license if they have a fixed place of business in a foreign state that has a food safety system that provides at least the same level of protection to that of Canada. Canada has such an arrangement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which was signed in 2016.”

The Foreign Food Safety Systems Recognition (FFSSR) Arrangement, is the arrangement referred to in the above statement from CFIA. It will set out principles and areas of cooperation between the FDA and Canadian participants relating to food traded between the two countries, and allow Canada to recognize all or part of a foreign food safety control system.

Current Timeline

The CFIA is proposing a phased approach for the coming into force of the proposed Regulations that reflects the different levels of industry readiness and the concerns of small businesses. The table below provides an overview of the phased implementation. Please note that changes will take effect immediately upon the Act coming into full force.

Overview of phased implementation timelines

This table presents an overview of the phased implementation timelines.
Meat, Fish, Eggs, Processed Egg, Dairy, Processed Products, Honey, Maple products Fresh Fruits and Vegetables All Other Foods (see footnote 16)
>$30K and ?5 Employees >$30K and <5 Employees ?$30K
Licence (see footnote 19) Immediately + 2 years + 2 years + 2 years
Traceability Immediately (+1 year for growers and harvesters of fresh fruits and vegetables) + 2 years + 2 years + 2 years
Preventive controls (see footnote 20) Immediately + 1 year + 2 years + 3 years + 3 years
Written PCP (see footnote 21) Immediately + 1 year + 2 years + 3 years Not required (see footnote 22)


The CFIA will maintain open and transparent communication with stakeholders to facilitate the transition and implementation period for the proposed Regulations through the CFIA website.

CFIA recently launched a 90-day consultation on the proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations to better protect the health of Canadians. This consultation allows for anyone affected by the Safe Foods for Canadians act to have their say before legislation is put in place.

If you have further questions regarding this act and how it may affect your business, we have compiled a list of helpful links below.

Helpful Links:

To read the regulation in full, visit this website.

For an overview on the Safe Food for Canadians Act and a summary of what business need to know please watch this video.

Use the CFIA’s interactive tools to find out if you would need a license, a written Preventive Control Plan or what your traceability requirements would be.

To learn more and have your say before the consultation closes on April 21, 2017, visit the CFIA Safe Foods for Canadians webpage.

To determine if your business will require a license, use this interactive tool.

You may wish to review the Foreign Food Safety Systems Recognition (FFSSR) Arrangement questions and answers.

Visit the Canadian Gazette article on this act.

Canadian Food Safety CFIA Proposed Regulations 2017

A Canadian Food Import | How-To Guide

A Canadian Food Import How-To Guide by Gloria Terhaar

Food products are some of the most misunderstood imports that a Customs Broker handles.  Depending on the commodity it can be regulated by one or more Government Acts and agencies and must meet all requirements of each to be imported as a Canadian Food Product. 

Food products are a definite case of just because you can buy it outside of Canada, doesn’t mean you can import it.

Regulations for Specific Food Products

Being aware of the varied rules and regulations which apply to these food products will save you both time and money. Therefore we have created some basic guidelines for certain types of food imports.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are regulated under various plant protection directives of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). These directives promote Canadian food safety as well as protect the consumer, Canadian agricultural producers and the environment from invasive pests.  Importation, with few exceptions, requires a Dispute Resolution Corporation membership or a CFIA produce License and a Confirmation of Sale. Depending on the commodity and where it originates it may also require other certifications, phytosanitary certificates or permits.

Meat and Products Containing Meat

Meat for consumption, such as beef, chicken, pork and lamb and products that contain meat such as soups, broths, and other processed foods, whether fresh, frozen or processed, are regulated under the Meat Inspection Act.  This act ensures safe handling practices, traceability, and liability in case of contaminated products.  

These products must enter Canada in full compliance with the Meat Inspection Act regulations by way of meat inspection certificates issued by the exporting country or, in the case of products containing less than 2% meat content, a Importers attestation letter and calculation as well as commercial invoices.

Some imports will also be flagged for inspected by the CFIA after import at an approved cold storage facility.

The quantity of Chicken, Turkey, Beef and Veal imported is also regulated by the Export and Import Controls Division of Global Affairs Canada under Tariff rate quotas. Quota, if held by an Importer, allows a predetermined quantity to imported into Canada at a reduced duty rate.  If you do not have quota then the duty rate on these items is prohibitively high; over 200% in most cases.

Dairy Products

The importation of Dairy products requires a commercial invoice. If you wish to import cheese, you will also need a Cheese Import License.

Some Dairy Products will also require a Zoosanitary certificate issued by the country of export in order to confirm treatment and that the product meets import requirements.

The Import of whole dairy products such as Milk, Cheese, Margarine, Yogurt and Ice Cream is also regulated by the Export and Import Controls Division of Global Affairs Canada under Tariff rate quotas. Margarine quota is issued on a first come first serve basis, so there is no need to apply for an allocation. However, you must apply for an allocation of the quota for Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, and Ice Cream products.  This quota, in most cases, is issued yearly to a predetermined list of historical importers. Again, If you do not have a quota, then the duty rate on these items is prohibitively high.  

Fish and Seafood Products

Fish, shellfish, and amphibious mammals are all regulated by the Fish Inspection Act and require a fisheries license to import as well as commercial invoices.  

Susceptible species of aquatic animals are regulated under the National Aquatic Animal Health Program which addresses aquatic animal diseases and is in place to prevent the spread of such illnesses.  Aquatic animals regulated under this program in many cases require an import permit issued by the CFIA and possibly a Zoosanitary Export Certificate issued by the exporting country, in addition to a fisheries license.

All aquatic animals and portions thereof require their taxonomic species number, and the species name is listed on the invoice.

To import food products in which fish or fish products are an ingredient of in any quantity you must hold a fisheries license.

Safe Food For Canadians Act

The Safe Food for Canadians Act is legislation that consolidates the authorities of 13 current regulations into one Act and will regulate food products that currently are not required to be registered under current federal regulations.  It modernizes and strengthens food commodity legislation to better protect consumers. Under proposed regulations, those who import, prepare food for export or for inter-provincial trade or export of a food product, would be required to hold a license, provide traceability, and have preventive controls and preventive control plan (PCP).

The proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, under the authority of the Safe Food for Canadian Act, were published in Part 1 of the Canada Gazette on January 21, 2017.

How do you know what requirements need to be met to Import food products?

Your customs broker can help you, but there are a few details that should be ascertained before you contact your customs broker to confirm import requirements.  Things you should know are:

  • What is the food product?
  • Where is the item grown or manufactured?
  • Where is it destined to in Canada?
  • If processed, what is the ingredient list (request a copy of the label or list)?
  • What is the end use?
  • How are the items packaged?
  • Is the exporter familiar with export requirements?  This is especially important for produce, meat, fish and products containing meat or fish.

Once you have this information, your customs broker can assist you in understanding the import requirements and equip you with the knowledge to avoid costly and time-consuming border delays.  

If you would like to have a broker review your requirements and quote on the service to manage your Canadian food imports please use this form below: