July 26, 2023

CFIA Temporary Control Measures for Romaine Lettuce

During the period of September 28 to December 20, 2023, romaine lettuce growers in counties Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito and Monterey in the Salinas Valley must conform to the following points to have produce accepted into Canada (items taken directly from inspection.canada.ca):

  1. A preventive control plan includes a written procedure describing how the sampling and testing requirement outlined below is implemented
  2. Each shipment is accompanied by an attestation by the importer, in the form provided by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) (CFIA/ACIA 5961 (2023/06)), attesting that: they have an official Certificate of Analysis for each romaine-lettuce product in the shipment; sampling and testing was conducted according to the temporary Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence conditions (points d., e., and f. below); and E. coli O157:H7 was not detected
  3. Each shipment is accompanied by the Certificates of Analysis issued for the romaine lettuce products included in the shipment
  4. The imported product was sampled and tested for E. coli O157:H7 according to 1 of the 2 sampling options described below (find outline of options here) and the testing conditions outlined in points e. and f.
  5. Testing with both screening and confirmation methodologies must be performed in a laboratory accredited by an accreditation body that is a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) as conforming to the requirements of International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) 17025:2017 for specific tests.

The chosen method must be on the laboratory’s scope of accreditation. The “application” section of the method chosen must be appropriate for the intended purpose, including that it is intended for testing romaine lettuce, leafy greens, or fresh fruits and vegetables.

  1. A presumptive positive result from a screening method is treated as a positive result for E. coli O157:H7 unless a confirmation test is performed on the original enrichment broth within 24 hours of the first test and produces a negative result (that is not detected).

Information regarding the temporary import requirements are available on the CFIA’s website:

  • Notice to industry: Temporary Safe Food for Canadians licence conditions for importing romaine lettuce and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce from the U.S.
  • Industry guidance is posted on the Food-specific import requirements page, under the Fresh fruit and vegetables section.
  • The attestation form can be found on the Find a form page.

Find related operational guidance on the Food inspection guidance: operational directives and special projects page under the Special Projects section.