To become certified, participants must comply with food safety requirements that were developed by the horticultural industry and reviewed for technical soundness by Canadian government officials. The operation must also undergo and successfully complete on-farm audits.
CanadaGAP is the first food safety program in Canada to achieve international recognition by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) as a GFSI-benchmarked standard.
Benefits of Certification
CanadaGAP certification applies to fresh fruits and vegetables (including leafy vegetables and cruciferae; potatoes; bulb and root vegetables; asparagus, sweet corn and legumes; fruiting vegetables; small fruit; tree and vine fruit; and greenhouse production). The standard covers these activities:
- Production – Field and greenhouse activities
- Packing – The first time that harvested products are put in packaging materials
- Storage – Before packing, including standalone storage facilities
- Repacking - Removing packed product from packaging and repacking it into market ready packaging materials (may include sorting and grading activities)
- Wholesale – Storage and selling of market product
- Brokerage - Arranging the transaction of produce between a supplier and a buyer
CanadaGAP is a preventive program, based on hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), which implements science-based measures to minimize known food safety hazards and reduce contamination risk.
Several Canadian buyers, including Loblaw Companies Limited, McCain Foods Canada, Simplot Canada and Lamb Weston, are requiring growers to become certified under the CanadaGAP program.
CanadaGAP offers six certification options depending on customer needs. Technical requirements are the same for all options; the differences are the number of organizations certifying, the frequency and type of audits, and the level of recognition:
- C: Single certification; annual audit; benchmarked to GFSI
- B: Group certification; annual audits; benchmarked to GFSI; developed based on GLOBALG.A.P.’s group certification scheme
- A1: Single certification; four-year audit cycle (in years 2, 3 and 4, the operator is required to submit a sworn declaration that the facility continues to comply with CanadaGAP program requirements, accompanied by a self-assessment checklist that is reviewed by the certification body and a random audit program); designed to meet Canadian government requirements
- A2: Single certification; variable four-year audit cycle (in years 2, 3 and 4, the operator is required to submit a sworn declaration that the facility continues to comply with CanadaGAP program requirements. The declaration is accompanied by a self-assessment checklist that is reviewed by the certification body and a random audit program. If selected for a random audit, the scheduled audit date will be extended to four years from the random audit date, which could result in audit cost savings); designed to meet Canadian government requirements
- A3: Group certification; three-year audit cycle; developed based on GLOBALG.A.P.’s group certification scheme
- D: Single certification; annual audit for repackers, wholesalers and brokers; currently undergoing benchmarking to GFSI
The GFSI-benchmarked options (B and C) require annual audits and are recognized globally.
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