To decrease the risk associated with E. coli in romaine lettuce, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is implementing temporary Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence conditions for the importation of romaine lettuce originating from the United States (US).
Romaine lettuce imported from the US have been associated with several outbreaks of foodborne E. coli illnesses in Canada and the US Food safety investigations from US authorities have identified a recurring geographical area as the source of the outbreaks. This area encompasses the California Salinas Valley counties of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito, and Monterey.
Between September 28 and December 22, 2022, importers of romaine lettuce and/or salad mixes containing romaine lettuce from the U.S. must:
- declare that the product does not originate from counties of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito and Monterey in the Salinas Valley, California, U.S., or
- submit an attestation form and Certificates of Analysis for each shipment to demonstrate that the romaine lettuce does not contain detectable levels of E. coli O157:H7
If importers and the products they import comply with other Canadian legislation, the CFIA will allow the importation of romaine lettuce and/or salad mixes containing romaine lettuce from the US if they comply with the temporary SFC licence conditions and other import requirements, as follows:
- the importer provides a Proof of Origin indicating the state and county where the romaine lettuce was harvested if the romaine lettuce is from outside of the California counties of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito and Monterey
- romaine lettuce and/or salad mixes containing romaine lettuce from the California counties of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey is accompanied by an attestation (using form Importer’s Attestation for Romaine Lettuce Products from the Salinas Valley, California, United States (CFIA/ACIA 5961; 2022/06)) that sampling was conducted according to the temporary SFC licence conditions and by the Certificate of Analysis demonstrating that the product does not contain detectable levels of E. coli O157:H7
- if a Proof of Origin of the romaine lettuce is not available, the attestation and Certificate of Analysis must be provided
- romaine lettuce grown in California has been handled by a certified member of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA). California LGMA Certified Members List
- romaine lettuce grown in Arizona has been handled by a shipper that is a certified member of the Arizona LGMA Arizona LGMA Certified Members List The complete details on the temporary SFC licence conditions can be found here.
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