Hort growers’ food safety audit fees to rise

The auditing body for the Canadian Horticultural Council’s CanadaGAP on-farm food safety program plans to increase the fees it charges to growers.

QMI-SAI Global announced Wednesday it will increase its base audit rate to $525 from $420, starting Sept. 1. Its fee for audit report reviews in Quebec, where audits must be performed or supervised by a registered agronomist, will decrease to $70 from $175. Elsewhere, the report review fee will be included in the base rate.

Also starting Sept. 1, QMI-SAI Global’s rate for excess hours (beyond 3.5 hours in Quebec and four in the rest of Canada) will rise to $131.25 per hour from $105, while its hourly rate for follow-ups relating to “corrective actions” will remain at $105.

Other certification costs, including the CHC annual program enrolment fees established in 2008, remain unchanged, the CHC said in a release Wednesday.

The program, which in March was named “CanadaGAP: On-Farm Food Safety for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables,” governs the CHC’s national food safety standards and certification system for production, storage and packing of fresh fruit and vegetables.

CanadaGAP offers eight different on-farm food safety manuals specific to different crops. The manuals are designed for producers and packers implementing Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and are based on the HACCP hazard analysis method.

CanadaGAP’s certification component was launched in September 2008 for use by suppliers who need to demonstrate to their customers that they follow the government-reviewed On-Farm Food Safety Manuals.

Growers and packers certified through CanadaGAP are meant to be positioned to meet customer requirements for compliance with standards set by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) or by GlobalGAP, a German-based international standards body for ag products.

Over 250 Canadian hort-crop producers were reported to have enrolled in CanadaGAP by March this year.

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