The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Thursday reversed its initial call and declared that wines originating in Judea and Samaria Jewish communities may be sold in Canada with the label “Product of Israel” (Canadian Agency Removes Israeli Settlements’ Wines from Ontario Shelves).
On Tuesday Canadian media sources revealed that the CFIA had issued a directive to local liquor boards, saying “the government of Canada does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip). As such, wine products from these regions that are labeled as ‘Products of Israel’ would not be acceptable and would be considered misleading as per subsection 5(1) of the Food and Drug Act.”
On Thursday afternoon, the same CFIA announced that it had not fully considered the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, and, as a result, “The Canadian Food Inspection Agency regrets the outcome of the wine labeling assessment which led to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s response regarding products from two wineries labeled as ‘Product of Israel,’” went the CFIA statement, reiterating that “these wines adhere to the agreement and therefore we can confirm that the products in question can be sold as currently labeled.”
The two wineries that had been singled out for boycotting, Psagot and Shiloh, each issued a statements condemning the move, before the CFIA retraction.
Psagot Winery owner Ya’akov Berg said, “We are shocked at the blatant distortion of history on behalf of the Canadian government. We call on all friends of Israel to stand with us and reject this further attempt to deny our heritage.”
Shiloh Winery said the move was “absurd,” especially in light of the fact that the LCBO’s own catalogue promotes their wines.
B’nai Brith Canada on Thursday issued a press release saying it is expecting that the CFIA would “soon rescind its recent decision to order the removal of certain Israeli wines from store shelves.”