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Old May 14th, 2011, 03:15 PM
woofendog woofendog is offline
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Pet Food Imports

I have been crossing the U.S. Canada border for years now between Vermont and Quebec. Over the last few years I have been bringing back into Canada dry cat food (Meow Mix- Made in the USA.). Normally the customs officer would ask if there was any beef products in the cat food. I made sure to bring back the variety that does not contain any beef products. On a recent trip in April 2011, I was told by a customs officer that it was now okay to bring back cat food with beef as long as it was made in the USA.
My last day trip back was in May 2011 and I declared a bag of cat food. This was the same variety as the April trip and I was quite willing to pay any taxes and/or duties. The officer asked if I had the cat in the car with me to which I replied no. He then informed me that for the last two years, that in order to bring back cat food, the cat must accompany me on the trip to Vermont in order to bring back the cat food. He did not charge me any tax or duty but told me that the next time I would be taking the cat food back to the Vermont cottage if the cat was not in the car.
I have found information on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Pet Food Program) that states the same including the fact that this imported food must only be fed to the cat who accompanies me on the trip!!!
Now I must decide what vacinated cat gets to go down on the next trip. I just hope that the customs officer doesn't expect him to fill out any declaration forms. I could always buy the same cat food at Walmart Canada at a much higher price as they only carry the small bags of the Hairball Control variety. Does anyone have any information on these regulations which I find quite amusing. Thanks
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Old May 14th, 2011, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woofendog View Post
Does anyone have any information on these regulations which I find quite amusing. Thanks
Not a clue, but that sounds really weird. Here are the ingredients in the Hairball formula.

Quote:
chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, ground yellow corn, brewer's rice, powdered cellulose, soy hulls, beef tallow (preserved with mixed tocopherols), animal digest, soybean oil, turkey by-product meal, salmon meal, ocean fish meal, ... salt, brewer's dried yeast, ... menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), ...red 40, taurine, yellow 5, blue 2
Food colouring, by-products, sawdust, fish (which cats shouldn't be eating on a daily basic) and an excessive amount of carbohydrates in the form of poor quality grains. Your cats would be much better off if you fed them a decent canned food, and you'd probably save money in vet bills over the long haul. www.catinfo.org
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Last edited by Ford; May 14th, 2011 at 09:31 PM.
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  #3  
Old May 14th, 2011, 03:53 PM
SamIam SamIam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woofendog View Post
Now I must decide what vacinated cat gets to go down on the next trip.
Pick a big one or a very active one so they won't question the volume/frequency you import.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 05:18 PM
woofendog woofendog is offline
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Smile Sylvester should qualify.

Sylvester who we posted (pets.ca) as found kitten in Brossard in December 2004 and then decided to keep would be the one to take the day trip. Actually our previous two cats were in good health until they passed away at 19 or 20 years old. Same goes for the woofendog. They were all fed a mix of dry and canned food as are our present pet cats who range from the baby Sylvester to the oldest at 12 years of age. All our healthy with very few trips to the vet. Thanks.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 05:58 PM
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Unfortunately; the Officer is correct.

Here is a blurb from CFIA's AIRS website that points out under condition d, the product is fed only to the animal that accompanies the person into Canada.

CONDITIONS OF IMPORT
Personal importation of pet food from the United States may be
permitted if the following conditions are met:
(a) the country of origin of that product is the United States;
(b) the person, on entry into Canada from the United States, was in
possession of the product and was accompanied by the animal to which
it is fed;
(c) the person legally imported both the product and the animal into
Canada; and
(d) the product is fed only to the animal that accompanied the person
into Canada.
e) the pet food must be commercially prepared and processed pet food
either wet or dry and it must be in its original packaging and the label
must clearly indicate the list of ingredients and the origin of the
product.
f) the limit of the amount of pet food will be 20 kg total.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woofendog View Post
Actually our previous two cats were in good health until they passed away at 19 or 20 years old.
George Burns lived to 100 smoking a dozen cigars a day, doesn't mean it's the secret to longevity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by woofendog View Post
All our healthy with very few trips to the vet.
Sylvester looks quite a bit overweight to me, which would likely be due to eating a high carb dry food such as Meow Mix. Also, even though a cat eating poor quality food might appear not have any current health issues, the damage is cumulative and often doesn't manifest until later in life. Like you, I thought my cat was "healthy" all of his life, until one day he wasn't (diagnosed with diabetes as a senior). Seriously, look at those ingredients I posted and ask yourself if that's something an obligate carnivore should be eating. And read that link. Your cats will thank you.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woofendog View Post
He then informed me that for the last two years, that in order to bring back cat food, the cat must accompany me on the trip to Vermont in order to bring back the cat food. He did not charge me any tax or duty but told me that the next time I would be taking the cat food back to the Vermont cottage if the cat was not in the car.
Soo...apparently the cat has a quota, but not you? I was unaware of this. Maybe you can work something out. "Dude, if you claim the cat food, I'll totally say the extra bottle of booze is mine."
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Old May 14th, 2011, 10:46 PM
SamIam SamIam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klmccallum View Post
(d) the product is fed only to the animal that accompanied the person into Canada.
Okay, so let's say, Woofendog opens a bag of cat food and free-feeds Sylvester in a large dish that says "Sylvester" on it. Would Woofendog be legally required to monitor said dish at all times to ensure other resident cats don't steal any of Sylvester's food that Woofendog fed ONLY to Sylvester?
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Old May 14th, 2011, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamIam View Post
Okay, so let's say, Woofendog opens a bag of cat food and free-feeds Sylvester in a large dish that says "Sylvester" on it. Would Woofendog be legally required to monitor said dish at all times to ensure other resident cats don't steal any of Sylvester's food that Woofendog fed ONLY to Sylvester?
SamIam...I don't make up the rules & regulations but when it comes to questions such as Woofendog's, I enjoy seeking out answers regarding import requirements.

At the time of importation, I would suspect that our border guards are merely enforcing the regulations that an Other Government Department has enforced. In this instance, they (Customs) request that the pet be present at the time of importation to substaniate the the feed is being imported for it's intended purpose.

Unfortunately for some cross border shoppers, odd enforcements come as a surprise for those of us that do not know the rules and regulations at the top of their head.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 11:39 PM
SamIam SamIam is offline
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I'm not holding you responsible for such a crazy rule, just wondering if there might be a legal way to bring back food for the whole family without all the cats having to make the trip.
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  #11  
Old May 16th, 2011, 11:52 AM
woofendog woofendog is offline
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Exclamation Pet Food Imports

There is a legal way for an individual to import the pet food without having to bring the cat along on the trip to the U.S.A. One can apply for an import permit from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency at a single entry permit cost of $35.00 (valid for three months) or a multiple entry permit (valid for one year) at a cost of $60.00.
I have questioned why these regualations exist. Canada Border Service agent replied that there was too much pet food entering Canada.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency agent replied that it had to do with the MELAMINE PET FOOD RECALL in 2007 when the FDA in the United States learned that certain pet foods were sickening and killing cats and dogs.The products used in these pet foods,contaminated with melamine, were imported from China.
So it seems that if you bring your pet along there is no problem importing the pet food and no concern about the safety of the pet food.
If on the other hand you do not bring your pet along, there is suddenly a concern about the safety of the pet food and an import permit is required.
No one could explain my question concerning the enforcement of the clause stating that the imported product is fed only to the animal that accompanied the traveller into Canada.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:17 PM
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How much are you bringing back if it is only one or two bags than just throw it in your trunk and say you forgot to bring it in yesterday when you went shopping. I used to do this all the time when I had Buddy and used to buy his food in the US for half the price.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 07:28 PM
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I'm sorry, but this seems like an awful lot of trouble for a food that is, in my (I like to think well-educated) opinion, poor quality and already quite cheap? I just don't think you are doing your cats any favours by feeding them this...
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Old May 16th, 2011, 10:37 PM
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I too have to question the same thought as Chaser. Is there some kind of different ingredient in the "Meow Mix- Made in the USA" compared to it's Canadian equivalent?

To be honest and IMHO, I don't think you'll receive a definitive answer to your question that, "the imported product is fed only to the animal that accompanied the traveller into Canada" from either CBSA or CFIA. You've done your homework and you now have options.

If Schwinn isn't there to claim that extra bottle--I'll claim it!
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Old May 17th, 2011, 11:46 AM
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I agree kind of a waste of gas for that quality of food if you are dealing a good quality of food that is a different story I was saving 30.00 a bag.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 12:20 PM
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The laws, although sound ridiculous, are in place to protect us and our animals from diseases. Just like you can't bring an Orange that was grown in Florida, exported to Canada, back into the States. You have to remember, these laws apply to bringing in food from all over the world.

It is illegal to import pet food containing beef into Canada. Nature's Variety had to find a manufacturer here in Canada to start making their cat food. Not sure what Wellness did, perhaps they manufacture their's here.

As for the pet having to accompany you, well that makes sense to me. It ensure you actually have a pet (and not just bringing in pet food to re-sell) and recognizes that people travel with pets need to have some food.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 10:25 AM
woofendog woofendog is offline
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Pet food imports

My trip to Vermont allows me to check on the lakefront cottage and fill up with $1.05 a litre gas every two weeks. I do not believe that I could make a great profit selling a $12.00+6% Vermont sales tax bag of cat food which is the same made in USA product as sold in the local Wal-Mart in Canada. On top of that, the border agent has the right to charge me the 15% gst pst if he chooses to do so. I could avoid this by staying 48 hours and bringing back $400.00 in goods including liquor and cigarettes tax and duty free if I was trying to make a profit.
As to the beef comment , I was told by the border agent that this no longer applies. Both the Canada Border Services agent and the Canadian Health Food Inspection agent confirmed that beef products are now allowed in imported pet food from the United States.
Proof that I am bringing back the pet food could be any or all of the six vacination certificates for my adopted spayed neutered and now indoor cats. It makes no sense to have to drag a cat across the border on a day trip to prove that I have a cat and that I will only feed the imported food to the cat who made the customs declaration.
If there was a safety issue then the government could simply ban the personal import of pet food. Having the cat in the car with me is no proof that only he will be fed this food. Vacination certificates with the owners name and adress as well as a description of the cat should be acceptable as proof of pet ownership.
I have now written to the Honourable Gerry Ritz who is the federal minister responsible for the Canadian Food Health Inspection Agency. All that I am looking for is a sensible explanation of these requirements. Thanks
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Old July 21st, 2011, 02:29 PM
woofendog woofendog is offline
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Wink Pet food imports

The honorable Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Mr. Gerry Ritz, has replied in an understanding manner to my concern of having to take the cat along on a day trip to Vermont. The exemption allowing a maximum of 20 kg per entry was intended for visitors to Canada accompanied by their pets. Individual Canadians are also able to benefit from this exemption when they shop across the border providing that their pets accompany them on the trip. He also recognized the inconvenience of the provision of having to have the pet accompany the Canadian traveller on cross border shopping visits. Accordingly he has promised to look into options for a more practical solution to this problem. I thank him for his positive response.
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