The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has delayed a planned increased in fees charged for the Destination Inspection Service.

The agency had been taking comments since December on new fees that were expected to become effective April 1. However, Shelley Ippolito, director of the Destination Inspection Service for the CFIA, said in a March 22 letter to the industry that current fees would remain in place until the agency can analyze the comments. No date was given when the new fees would be applied.

The comment period closed on Feb. 21. A summary of the comments is being compiled and will be posted on the CFIA website, according to the letter.

The increased user fees are necessary to recover inspection costs, and “fulfills commitments made by the industry and the government of Canada for the long-term sustainability of this dedicated industry service,” according to Ippolito’s letter.

One U.S. source said it is important that the CFIA’s Destination Inspection Service remain an option compared with private inspection companies for Canadian wholesalers.

“We want (buyers) to use federal inspections up there in Canada,” said Tom Oliveri, director of trade practices and commodity services for Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers.

The use of a private inspection for resolving disputes over quality is not recognized under the regulations of the Dispute Resolution Corporation unless both supplier and buyer agree to it, Oliveri said.

“We’re trying to let our shippers know that unless you agree to it, don’t be confused; it is not a federal inspection,” he said. “We want a non-biased inspection performed by trained individuals.”

Some Canadian wholesalers send private inspection reports to shippers without even first asking them if they have a problem with it, Oliveri said.

“A lot of our shippers will not accept the results of a private inspection for the obvious reason that we don’t know (the inspectors’) training background,’ he said.