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article imageCostco Canada has license to import fish suspended

By Karen Graham     Mar 16, 2015 in Food
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has suspended Costco Canada's license to import fish into the country, according to a March 13 announcement.
The suspension was effective on February 26, 2015, and was issued because Costco Canada was in violation of federal fish inspection regulations, and it was “determined that adequate controls for food safety were not being reliably implemented by the company on a consistent basis … .”
According to the CFIA, there was no product recall involved in association with the license suspension. CFIA stated the company: “may not import fish products into Canada while its import license is suspended and until such time as it has fully implemented the necessary corrective actions and the CFIA is fully confident in the company’s capacity to effectively manage food safety risks.”
According to Costco Canada, the license allows them to bring into Canada a "limited number' of canned tuna products from Europe, and no other fish products Costco Canad sells are affected. A company spokesman said the products were pulled from the store's shelves after the retailer realized it had not submitted the product for proper inspection. This happened because the company usually buys from an importer instead of importing directly.
In an email on Monday to CBC, the company said: "As part of its corrective action plan, Costco is currently updating and strengthening its standard operating procedures to ensure full compliance with CFIA's fish inspection regulations and reinstatement of its fish import licence."
Costco also said the license was suspended for not following three administrative issues in the past two years. Twice the store has failed to notify the CFIA when tuna was imported, and on another occasion, the canned tuna was transported directly to a Costco distribution center instead of being taken to a CFIA warehouse for inspection.
The Business News Network says the tuna product in question was a small shipment of Zarotti tuna fillets in olive oil, from Italy. The tuna fillets were being sold as a product test at a few East Coast locations. Costco has no plans to directly import more fish, and will continue to rely on its vendor network to supply its 89 warehouse stores across Canada.
More about Costco canada, CFIA, fish license, Imports, food safety controls
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