November’s Business Improvement News!

Save the Date for CPMA’s Farm to Plate Event…

Date: February 25, 2020
Location: Ottawa

This is your chance to meet the new Members of Parliament and ensure the fresh produce industry’s voice is heard. More details will follow…

3rd Party Software We Use and Recommend…

This month’s featured software suggested by WaudWare president, F. Charles Waud.

PDF Creatorhttps://www.pdfforge.org/pdfcreator
This is an application used for converting documents into Portable Document Format (PDF) on Microsoft Windows operating systems. Here at WaudWare, this is our preferred software for creating PDFs when you print. It allows the PDF to be opened automatically after it has been created, and can be set up to allow you to email the PDF as well. For these 2 reasons, we prefer this to CutePDF, Microsoft’s PDF Printer and other PDF software. Check out some of the other 3rd Party Software Applications we use and recommend.

Public Meeting on a New Era of Smarter Food Safety…

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) held a public meeting on October 21, 2019 to discuss critical areas related to the new era of smarter food safety initiative. The meeting, which was at maximum capacity for both in-person as well as webcast attendance, began with a call to action from FDA Deputy Commissioner, Office of Food Policy and Response, Frank Yiannas on the importance of all stakeholders in the industry to work together to drive the change. Read the Food Safety Tech article

CFIA Extends Mandatory Compliance with SFCR Traceability Requirements Impacting Produce Packaging…

<Excerpt Source: CPMA Member Bulletin – November 8, 2019>

CPMA, CHC AND RCC are pleased to announce an extension to the timeline by which fresh fruit and vegetable (FFV) packaging is required to be compliant with the traceability regulations included in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). Although the regulations will come into place on January 15, 2020, industry packaging will not be expected to be compliant with the traceability regulations until the following year. Although the CFIA website will continue to state January 15, 2020, is the compliance date for traceability regulations for FFV, CFIA is developing language to explain this “soft enforcement” period for packaging. Industry will be advised when that language is on the website.

CFIA Makes Final Decision Regarding Lot on Consumer Prepackaged Produce…

Safe Food For Canadians Regulations – Traceability

<Source: CPMA Member Bulletin, October 31, 2019>

CFIA has advised CPMA of their final decision around the specifics of lot code options to comply with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) on traceability. Unfortunately, after months of meetings, evidence presented from data collection and member presentations, CFIA is unwilling to change their decision relative to the particulars of use of Growing Region as an acceptable lot code for the purposes of the regulations. They are also unwilling to extend the compliance date for fresh produce, so the compliance date remains as January 15, 2020.

This issue is of significant impact to those companies packing in the field or orchard where including a lot on a label can be much more complex than in a packhouse environment. CPMA was pleased when CFIA agreed to expand the parameters of lot code to support this sector by allowing the fresh fruit and vegetable industry more flexibility in what constitutes a lot code; in particular, the allowance of growing region as the lot was expected to enable those producers to continue field packing without substantive change or cost. Specifically, after CFIA’s reversal of a previously accepted definition, the definition of Growing Region to include country (accompanied by a brand name), or province/state or production region was the expected outcome. As of yesterday, the following outlines CFIA’s decision:

  • Lot Code: The term “lot code” is not specifically defined in the Safe Food for Canadians Act nor in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). In general terms, “lot code” when used in Part 5 – Traceability of the SFCR refers to a code that can be used to identify a lot that was manufactured, prepared, produced, stored, graded, packaged or labelled, under the same conditions. A lot code can be numeric, alphabetic or alphanumeric. Examples of lot code include: production date, best before date, establishment number, or SFCR licence number. In addition, for fresh fruits or vegetables, the lot code may also be the harvest date, grower identification number, growing region or any other code that may be used for traceability purposes.
  • Growing Region can be province/state or another sub-national division within a country, or any other commonly accepted region of production as determined by industry and/or government.
  • On January 15, 2020, consumer prepackaged food will need a label which includes the following information:
    • The common name
    • The name and principal place of business of the person by or for whom the food was manufactured, prepared, produced, stored, packaged or labelled
    • The lot code (lot code guidance is available in the SFCR: Glossary of key terms)
    • The current guidance document, Regulatory requirements: Traceability will be revised to include examples of Growing Region although the list will not be exhaustive.

CPMA remains firm in our assertion that consumer prepackaged produce traceability has little to no impact on the safety and health of Canadians given the realities of the epidemiology of an outbreak and the subsequent traceback. These occur over many weeks, and often months, after which it is highly unlikely that the produce would still be in a consumer’s home. Instead, and as we’ve always advocated, produce traceability should focus on the case level as is common throughout the globe in both standards and regulations.

CPMA, working with other stakeholders, intends to vigorously oppose this recent decision relative to Growing Region definition and to engage in meetings with stakeholders in other associations, with senior public and elected officials and with other government departments with regulations and policy which impact the SFCR. Working with allied associations, we will push for a change in this CFIA decision. CPMA will continue to update members as our advocacy efforts to resolve this issue advance.

Lot Codes on Cases: Industry is strongly urged to continue its current practice of using a more defined, traditional lot number on cases to mitigate impact in the event of a recall incident or for other purposes.

In addition, industry is also reminded that the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations include licensing requirements which are already in place. It is expected that CFIA will soon move to enforcement so members who have not yet reviewed licensing requirements are urged to do so immediately.

If you have any questions, please contact:

  • Jane Proctor, CPMA Vice President, Policy & Issue Management, at jproctor@cpma.ca or by phone at (+1) 613-226-4187 x212, or
  • Jeff Hall, CPMA Food Safety Specialist, at jhall@cpma.ca or by phone at (+1) 647-409-3570