Seizure of British foods an isolated incident, CFIA says

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has shed a little more light on why shipments of popular British food products were seized from a Saskatchewan shop last week, sending worried customers across the country to stock up.

Brands like Irn Bru, Marmite 'are not banned for sale in Canada'

Marmite is made from yeast extract, used as a food spread and in a variety of other cooking. The CFIA says a type not meant for sale in Canada was brought into the country, then seized - but types that are supposed to be sold here will continue to be allowed. (Peter Mills/CBC)

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has shed a little more light on why shipments of popular British food products were seized from a Saskatchewan shop last week, sending worried customers across the country to stock up.

Saskatoon shop owner Tony Badger said earlier this week he was forced to remove Irn-Bru, Marmite and other British products from his shelves because the CFIA told him they contain products not allowed in Canada.

In a statement Saturday, its second on these products, the CFIA said the versions of the products that were rejected weren’t supposed to be sent to Canada.

Scottish drink Irn-Bru sold out soon after CBC News visited an Ottawa speciality food shop Friday, Jan. 24. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

A spokesperson said versions meant for sale in Canada have been allowed for more than a decade and will continue to be available to Canadian customers. 

“Irn-Bru and Marmite are not banned for sale in Canada. Compliant formulations of these products have been available on Canadian store shelves for more than a decade and will continue to be sold in stores across Canada,” the statement said.

“The formulations of these particular products found in a recent shipment from the United Kingdom, were not intended for Canada and do not comply with Canada's regulations.”

The CFIA also said meat products in the shipment weren’t properly documented and included U.K. beef, which currently can’t be imported into Canada.

Confusion about a potential ban led customers across Canada to buy up supplies of products they had heard were in jeopardy, while they and business owners were left to wonder if they’d be allowed on shelves in the future.