January 23, 2015

Lacking Reciprocity Canadian Officials Change U.S. Onion Inspection Requirements

By: Tom Oliveri

Officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have reinstated inspection requirements for U.S. grown onions destined for Canada as of January 21, 2015.  The reinstatement applies to onions marketed fresh to consumers or intended for bulk or further processing/packaging and was prompted by the lack of a reciprocal agreement between the two countries that would have eliminated inspections on both sides of the border.  This affects both California and Arizona grower/shippers.


U.S. inspections are required as a result of industry–backed marketing orders issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Growers in areas affected by the orders must secure USDA shipping point inspections on all onions shipped.  The marketing orders also require inspections on all imported onions prior to shipment into the U.S., despite a Canadian pilot program that removed inspections on onions imported into Canada from the U.S.  The Canadian industry voiced concerns to their government regarding reciprocity who in turn reinstated the inspections.