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Canada relaxes rules for U.S. romaine imports

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has removed recently enacted rules concerning the import of romaine lettuce from the U.S., no longer requiring proof of origin letters.

The CFIA announced the change on Jan. 17, according to Canada’s Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp. The federal agency notified the DRC on Jan. 19 that the Automated Import Reference Service (AIRS), was updated to reflect the return to standard import procedures for all U.S. romaine.

As of Jan 21, the CFIA’s website had not been updated with the information.

In a Jan. 21 note to DRC members, president and CEO Fred Webber advises Canadian importers to refer U.S. trading partners to consult the AIRS system, which has been updated.

The CFIA established the new import rules for U.S. romaine on Nov. 30, mandating that imports of the lettuce from California be accompanied by a letter showing proof of origin signed by the exporter, stating the city, county and state where the romaine was harvested. Salads containing romaine from any U.S. state required a similar letter. U.S.-grown salad mixes not containing romaine needed a letter stating the absence of the lettuce.

The regulations were added during an outbreak of E. coli in the U.S. and Canada, linked to California romaine. Canadian authorities declared its outbreak over on Dec. 24, with 29 Canadians sickened, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared the U.S. outbreak over on Jan. 9, with 62 cases.