Reading inspection certificates – Part 1

We often receive questions from DRC members asking about how to properly read a CFIA inspection. In this three part series, we will look at the importance of reviewing the information on the inspection certificate. To begin, let’s focus on the elements in the first section as well as the product description section.

The first section of the certificate contains the “requested and performed date and time” for the inspection. This information is important because it helps to establish if the inspection was requested and performed in a timely manner. For example, truck shipments require the inspection to be requested within 8 working hours after the receiver is given notice of arrival and the produce is made accessible for inspection. Boat and rail shipments however allow the inspection to be requested within 24 working hours after the receiver is given notice of arrival and the product has been placed in a location where the produce is made accessible for inspection.

The field “where inspected” indicates the area the inspection took place such as the applicant’s warehouse, the consignee’s warehouse, or any other location. If the product was still loaded when the inspector arrived on site, that information should be noted under the remarks” section.

An important area to review is the “remarks” section at the bottom of the inspection certificate which will include notes the inspector has made about the location of the load, if it was still loaded on the truck or if it was unloaded. This could help determine if the buyer/receiver still has the right to reject the product. For information on “Acts of Acceptance” please review Section 19.1 of the DRC Trading Standards

Information about the applicant, shipper and consignee

The information in this section identifies the parties involved in the transaction. If there is a name under any of these fields with which you are not familiar, you will want to address this with your customer.

Product description

This section should include detailed information about the load such as product, variety, size, maturity, grade and colour, packages (number of cartons or bags available for inspection), type of count and weight.

This information needs to match your invoice and/or purchase order. For example, if you receive a load of different size mangoes at a different price per unit, a discussion for a request for an inspection by size needs to occur.

Another major issue that we often see is the number of cartons inspected. The entire load should be available for inspection. If not, the buyer/receiver needs to have a valid reason as to why the full load was not available.

As a general rule more than 75% of the load must be available for sampling to be considered representative of the full load.

In part 2 of our series on how to properly read an inspection certificate, we will review temperatures and defects.