The Canadian Food Inspection Agency tests honey imported into Canada for veterinary drug residues and chemical contaminants, as well as for adulterants such as sugars or syrup added to honey.
Honey imports found to be adulterated are returned to their country of origin or destroyed.
Foreign companies that send adulterated honey into Canada may face enforcement.
“Responses may include seizure and detention, removal orders from Canada, disposal and import lookouts for known non-compliant products or importers. The CFIA can also undertake enforcement actions such as recommending prosecution for companies who import adulterated food products,” the agency said in an email.
The CFIA evaluates each instance of non-compliance on its own merits to apply the most appropriate regulatory response.
Foreign producers and traders that have been caught sending adulterated honey into Canada may be targeted at the border for future directed inspections to verify compliance with Canadian laws and regulations.
The CFIA can also target honey originating from specific countries for testing.
“When results show a history of non-compliance, those countries are targeted for testing of future shipments of honey. Currently, the targeted countries are Argentina, China, Hong Kong, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran and Mongolia.”
The CFIA has never sought prosecution of any company or individual for importing adulterated honey into Canada.
However, it has changed how it regulates food imports with the introduction of the Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations (SFCR), which become effective Jan. 15.
The new laws for federally regulated food requires businesses that import, export or prepare food to be sent across provincial or territorial borders to be licensed by the CFIA.
“The CFIA may suspend, refuse to renew or cancel licences of companies who fail to meet regulatory requirements for food enforced by the CFIA,” the agency said in an email.
“(The) SFCR may be used in the future to respond to instances of adulterated honey, be it imported or produced here in Canada.”