CGC, Ont. HACCP programs for grain compatible

Ontario grain handlers can now aim to qualify for certain food safety programs offered by either the Ontario ag ministry or the Canadian Grain Commission, through a single audit.

The CGC announced Tuesday it has signed an agreement with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to recognize the CGC’s HACCP and CIPRS+HACCP programs as equivalent to “Advantage Grain,” part of the province’s “Advantage” series of food safety programs.

Currently, the CGC noted, three Ontario grain handling and processing firms are certified under both the federal and provincial programs: Thompsons Ltd., Mike Snobelen Farms and Hensall District Co-operative.

HACCP (short for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) certifies a grain company’s food safety program, while CIPRS (Canadian Identity Preserved Recognition System)+HACCP certifies a company’s food safety and crop identity-preservation programs.

OMAFRA’s “Advantage” series, similarly, is an “outcome-based” voluntary food safety program for processors. The series includes Advantage GMP, Advantage HACCP, Advantage HACCP Plus and, most recently, Advantage Grain.

The HACCP program included in both CGC programs is based on OMAFRA’s Advantage HACCP program, the province said. Thus, with Tuesday’s agreement in place, Ontario grain companies that achieve certification in either CGC HACCP or CIPRS+HACCP will also be certified under Advantage Grain with OMAFRA, or vice versa.

Under a HACCP program, a certified company’s inputs and processes are examined and potential food safety hazards are identified and controlled. An identity-preserved system is a quality management program that maintains a product’s unique traits or quality characteristics from seed through all stages to shipping.

Certification is based on the results of an audit conducted by a third party company accredited by the CGC.

“International reputation”

According to the province, the benefits of the CGC programs include certification from a federal government agency with “an international and domestic reputation for its grain safety and quality assurance programs” as well as “a national standard for food safety and quality assurance that was developed in cooperation with the grain handling and primary processing industry.”

The benefits of Advantage Grain, meanwhile, include certification from a provincial government agency that supports small- to medium-sized food processors, under a standard for food safety based on the World Health Organization’s HACCP principles.

Recognized grain companies may use the CGC recognition mark and the Advantage Grain logo, the province said.

The agreement between the CGC and the OMAFRA “ensures that the CGC’s programs do not duplicate existing food safety programs offered by other levels of government or the private sector,” the commission said in its release Tuesday.

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