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Guidance on Canada’s Updated Labeling Requirements

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On Aug. 29, updates were posted to the FSIS Export Library for Canada reflecting changes to Canada’s meat labeling requirements.

In a modification that the U.S. industry has sought for some time, Canada no longer requires boneless meat cuts to be labeled as “boneless” if they are boneless by nature and have not been deboned. However, USMEF is seeking further clarification on the Export Library wording to determine the specific products that fall into this category.

This is one of several labeling requirements that deliver no real value for Canadian customers while creating an unnecessary burden for U.S. exporters. USMEF continues to work with USDA and other trade associations to remove these onerous requirements through proceedings such as the U.S.-Canada nomenclature harmonization project (which is expected to be fully implemented by the end of this year) and the food safety modernization process currently being undertaken by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Labeling requirements for U.S. blade and needle-tenderized beef entering Canada were also updated to reflect Canada’s current regulations for these products. Specifically, the cooking instructions that must appear on the label can now recommend a minimum internal temperature of 63 degrees C (145 degrees F), rather than the previously required 71 degrees (160 degrees F). Further details on Canada’s regulations for blade and needle-tenderized beef, including additional information on case-ready product labeling, can be found in CFIA’s Policy O and in this guidance document.

U.S. companies that produce or package blade and needle-tenderized beef should note that USDA published a proposed rule last year outlining labeling requirements similar to those already in place in Canada, but the rule has not yet been implemented. So products labeled to comply with Canada’s requirements can be sold domestically or in Canada, but products lacking a Canada-compliant label are not eligible for export to Canada.

Exporter with questions about these changes may email Cheyenne Dixon or call 303-623-6328.