The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has made a change to its labeling rules for packers that moves the Canadian pork industry a step closer to benefitting from the Canada-European Union trade agreement.

A change to the CFIA Manual of Procedures will now allow packers to apply EU health mark labels after meat has been frozen, according to the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) and Canadian Meat Council. The previous rule require the label be put on boxes before the product was eligible to be exported, creating logistical problems for companies exporting to multiple markets.

Rick Bergmann

“The Canadian Pork Council thanks the CFIA for reviewing its policy surrounding the health mark labels,” said Rick Bergmann, southeast Manitoba hog farmer and chair of the CPC. “The elimination of this barrier enables increased sales which is of utmost importance to a prosperous pork sector.”

The main remaining technical barrier for Canadian meat exports to the EU is related to antimicrobial treatments during processing.

“Now that this issue has been resolved, industry and government must focus its efforts on having the EU approve the full suite of antimicrobial interventions used in Canada to enhance food safety,” said Canadian Meat Council president and CEO Chris White. “These interventions have been accepted by food safety authorities in Canada, the United States, Japan and numerous other countries.”

As a result of the Canada-EU trade deal, which was provisionally applied last month, Canada gains access for 80,549 tonnes of duty-free pork into the EU.

Related: Celebrating CETA while obstacles remain

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