Canada offers new path for export grain testing

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/SafakOguz
© iStock/SafakOguz

Related tags Grain International trade Export Canadian food inspection agency

CFIA is set to offer grain and feed grain producers a new channel toward phytosanitary certification for product exports.

The change​ in grain testing process to allow use of approved private laboratories was announced​ earlier in August and is expected to start this autumn, reported the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  

Work on the Recognition of Export Grain Analysis by authorized Laboratories (REGAL) program was of interest because of the demand for Canadian grain and feed ingredients, said a spokesperson with CFIA. “Our grain exports have been increasing steadily in recent years and crop yields are expected to continue to grow,”​ she added.

“As Canada’s representative to the International Plant Protection Convention, the CFIA is responsible for certifying that Canadian grain exports comply with the phytosanitary requirements of importing countries,”​ she told FeedNavigator. “This new delivery approach will help us meet the growing pressure to test grain samples and issue phytosanitary certificates.”

Another goal of the program is to provide faster service for exporters so they can better address international demand, the CFIA said. The program is predominately focused on work with India and China, as they are the largest markets by volume.

However, the decision to use a private laboratory is voluntary and industry members will be able to select if they want their feed grain or grain samples to be tested by one of the authorized laboratories or CFIA for “the purpose of phytosanitary certification decisions,”​ said the spokesperson.

The CFIA will continue to be the only “issuer of phytosanitary certificates for all grain export shipments,” ​she said.

Canadian grain exports

The program is being run as part of a partnership initiative with the Canadian Grain Commission.

In 2016, Canada shipped about $5.1bn in grain to China and India.

In 2015-16, Canada tested 12,832 grain and feed grain samples for phytosanitary certification for export to India, China and Mexico.

In 2015-16, CFIA checked 40,527 grain samples being exported to all countries and for all uses.

Feed grain export review process

Work on the process to allow for the use of specified private laboratories for grain testing started in 2014, said the CFIA spokesperson.

“This is a follow-up initiative to the improvements already successfully demonstrated by the existing Canadian Food Inspection Agency laboratory ASD [alternative service delivery] arrangement for testing of canary seed samples destined for export to Mexico that was put in place in 2011,”​ she said.

The program is voluntary for producers exporting grain or grain products, she said. It applies to industry members looking to export grain to India and China.

There also are provisions for one company that ships wheat and canola to Mexico, she said. “Grain samples that require testing for export to other countries will not be eligible for testing by authorized laboratories at this time – these samples will be submitted to CFIA offices for testing by the CFIA,”​ she added.

“India, China and Mexico were selected for the first phase of the REGAL (Recognition of Export Grain Analysis by Authorized Laboratories) program because they import significant amounts of grain from Canada and require that shipments be tested for weed seeds,”​ the spokesperson said.

Exporters are set to be provided with a list of authorized laboratories, she said.

The specified laboratories will be able to test for issues including weed seed presence, percent soil and live insects, the CIFA said. Depending on results from the expansion, the program may be extended for shipments to other countries.

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