Temporary exemption available for selling provincially-inspected meat across Canada


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has created a temporary ministerial exemption process that opens the door to inter-provincial movement of meat and poultry products from establishments that are not federally-licensed.

Normally, meat from provincially-inspected facilities is not allowed to be sold beyond a province’s boundary, but the federal agency is offering an exemption if such trade becomes necessary to alleviate meat shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CFIA emphasizes that it is a temporary measure, and has not provided any details on the possible volumes that could be allowed to move inter-provincially.

“To enable inter-provincial movement of provincially-inspected meat and poultry products, an ME (ministerial exemption) could be issued to exempt food businesses from certain requirements of the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) which prohibits the sending or conveying from one province to another of a food commodity that does not meet the requirements of the regulations,” says an industry notice that appears to have been quietly posted on May 21, 2020.

Opening up inter-provincial trade of meat has been suggested by industry experts and policy-makers as a tool to help address supply chain issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. It will likely be a welcomed reduction of red tape by businesses in the food sector.

To initiate the ministerial exemption process, the CFIA says food businesses experiencing a shortage should reach out to their provincial or territorial authority to inform them and to determine if the situation requires or warrants a ministerial exemption.

You can find a full list of the appropriate contacts by province here

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