In the first provincial court case prosecuted in Canada for misrepresentation of a kosher food product, Creation Foods Co. of Woodbridge, has been fined $25,000.

The corporate entity recently pleaded guilty to two counts of contravening Section 31(1) of the Food and Drugs Act in the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket.

A manufacturer of frozen pastries ranging from croissants to strudels, Creation Foods Co. was established in 1995, and is family owned.

The charges resulted from an investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Investigators determined that the company sold a non-kosher food product to two Jewish youth camps, by means of a forged kosher certificate. Cheese sold to both camps did not meet kosher requirements. CFIA said it was the first case in Canada brought before a provincial court related to the misrepresentation of a kosher food product.

“The fine is significant and may lead to improved future compliance under this statute,” according to a statement from the agency. “This case, and the conviction, reinforces the CFIA’s commitment to food safety, and demonstrates how the agency takes issues related to food fraud seriously. Investigation and legal action will be taken, when warranted.”

The CFIA is responsible for the administration and enforcement of Canada’s federal legislation, acts and regulations, including the Food and Drugs Act. The CFIA is charged with safeguarding food, animal and plant health.

Section 31(1) of Canada’s Food and Drugs Act states that “every person who contravenes any provision of this Act or the regulations, as it relates to food, is guilty of an offense and liable: (a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both; or (b) on conviction by indictment, to a fine not exceeding $250,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both.”

Section B.01.049 of Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations states that no one shall use, in labelling, packaging, advertising or selling, a food that does not meet the requirements of the Jewish religious laws concerning food applicable to it, the word “kosher” or any letters of the Hebrew alphabet or any other word, expression, depiction, sign, symbol, mark, device or other representation that indicates or that is likely to create an impression that the food is kosher.

The Ontario Court of Justice ruling on the fine came down on June 22 and was reported by CFIA on July 5.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)