By: Forrest Scharf (PAg) Provincial Specialist, Fruit Crops
A number of different factors can prevent Saskatchewan fruit from successfully entering foreign markets. Growers need to ensure they have all necessary and accurate paperwork to enable products to clear customs, that all fruit attributes comply with the export market regulations, and that labels are accurate and meet the import country’s standards. Exporters may also want to reduce risk by purchasing credit insurance from Export Development Canada or through the Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC), and test to ensure that applications of pesticides do not result in fruit exceeding Maximum Residue Limits (MRL’s) set by the importing nation’s standards.
Regulations often change, so growers need to stay up-to-date on regulations in the countries they are shipping to. Foods being shipped to the United States must comply with the United States’ Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law in January 2011. Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP) may be able to help guide exporters through these requirements through their Exporter Readiness Program.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has guidelines for Importing Food Products into the United States, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a Guide for Commercial Importers. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also has an Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) that provides fruit and vegetable permit information, as well as a Fruit and Vegetable Import Requirements (FAVIR) Database and a manual outlining how to use it. Unfortunately, many details regarding how inspections are performed are not included.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recommends that exporters contact the importing country’s Department of Agriculture and/or other relevant government inspection agencies to obtain requirements for importation of fruit. Some countries may require a description of fruit quality characteristics, packaging specifications, labelling and, possibly, health or phytosanitary certification from the CFIA. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service also has a Step by Step Guide to Exporting, and there is even a Canadian “International Business Matchmaking site” that can help facilitate relationships with business links in export markets.
Other sources of information for some specific national import requirements can be found through: