Hort food safety program set for Sept. 1

The Canadian Horticultural Council’s on-farm food safety certification program for growers of fresh fruit and vegetables will launch Sept. 1, the council announced Thursday.

In a release, the CHC noted that growers’ customers may then request that the growers have program certification, to ensure that the council’s on-farm food safety (OFFS) manuals are being followed. For example, the council said, McCain Foods Canada will require all growers to be CHC OFFS-certified in 2008-09.

Growers who enroll in the program will have to pass a third party on-farm audit based on the CHC OFFS manuals. The audit will be performed by a third-party auditor trained using CHC materials to assess a supplier’s compliance with the program’s food safety requirements, the CHC said.

“The certification program is designed to maintain the integrity of national standards,” said Heather Gale, the council’s food safety co-ordinator, in a release Thursday. “It will demonstrate to customers that producers and packers are strongly committed to food safety.”

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