The national body for Canada’s fruit and vegetable growers has rebranded its On-Farm Food Safety (OFFS) standards and certification program.
The Canadian Horticultural Council’s OFFS, which includes national food safety standards and certification for safe production, storage and packing of fresh produce, will now be called CanadaGAP On-Farm Food Safety for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables.
Eight on-farm food safety manuals specific to different fruit and vegetable crops have been developed by the horticultural industry and are reviewed for technical soundness by Canadian government officials, the CHC said in a statement this week.
The manuals are designed for producers and packers implementing good agricultural practices (GAPs) and contain comprehensive guidance based on analysis using HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point) principles, the council said.
The certification component of the program, launched in September last year, is open to suppliers who need to demonstrate to their customers that they are following the OFFS manuals.
Canada’s OFFS standards for fruit and vegetables will be benchmarked this year to meet internationally recognized Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) requirements and GlobalGAP standards, hence the name CanadaGAP.
GlobalGAP is a German-based international body setting voluntary standards for the certification of agricultural products worldwide. GlobalGAP certification is carried out by more than 100 certification bodies in over 80 countries, the CHC said.
GFSI is co-ordinated by CIES: The Food Business Forum, based in Belgium. It maintains a benchmarking process to promote standardization among food safety programs.
“CanadaGAP-certified producers and packers will be positioned to meet customer requirements for compliance with GFSI or GlobalGAP standards,” said Paul LeBlanc, chair of the CHC’s food safety management committee, in the council’s release.
The CHC also recently announced the first council member to successfully complete the OFFS certification program, Red Hat Co-operative of Redcliff, Alta.