Safe Food for Canadians: Glossary of Key Terms

The following definitions are provided as a reference to explain some of the key food safety terms.

Agronomic Input
(Intrant agronomique)

An input that is used in the growing of fresh fruits or vegetables, and includes agricultural chemicals, biological controls, pollinators, commercial fertilizers, compost, compost tea, green manure, manure, mulch, row covers, soil amendments and pulp sludge.

Control Measure
(Mesure de contrôle)

A measure that can be applied to prevent or eliminate any biological, chemical or physical hazard that presents a risk of contamination of a food.


A vessel, aircraft, train, motor vehicle, trailer or other means of transportation, including a cargo container.

Corrective Action
(Mesure corrective)

The steps that a food business operator takes to address non-compliance. This could include controlling affected product, conducting a root cause analysis and modifying procedures to prevent recurrence.

Critical Control Point
(Point de contrôle critique)

A step at which a control measure can be applied and is essential to prevent or eliminate any biological, chemical or physical hazard that presents a risk of contamination of a food.

Critical Limits
(Limites critiques)

The maximum or minimum set values that control a hazard at a critical control point.


Any place, including a conveyance, where a food is manufactured, prepared, stored, packaged or labelled.

Good Agricultural Practices
(Bonnes pratiques agricoles)

Elements that control and prevent hazards in a primary food production environment. Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) refer to the general practices used in the planting, growing, harvesting, sorting, packing, storing and transporting of agricultural products that reduce and minimize risks of contamination.

Good Manufacturing Practices
(Bonnes pratiques de fabrication)

Elements that control and prevent hazards in a food manufacturing environment. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) refer to general practices designed to ensure an effective approach to product quality control and risk management. They set appropriate standards and practices for product testing, manufacturing, storing, handling and distribution.


A biological, chemical or physical contaminant that has the potential to cause illness or injury to humans when present.

  • a) Biological hazard: Any illness- or disease-causing pathogen, micro-organism, pest or vector that poses a danger to human health.
  • b) Chemical hazard: A chemical substance, including allergens, that poses a danger to human health.
  • c) Physical hazard: A physical substance that poses a danger to human health.

Hazard Analysis
(Analyse des dangers)

The process of collecting and interpreting information pertaining to potential hazards and conditions that may support the occurrence of hazards. The hazard analysis identifies activities that pose a significant risk to food safety.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point
(Analyse des risques et maîtrise des points critiques)

An internationally recognized food safety system that identifies, evaluates, and controls hazards.

Inter-provincial Trade
(Commerce interprovincial)

The movement of goods between provinces and territories.

Intra-provincial Trade
(Commerce intraprovincial)

The movement of goods within a single province or territory.


A defined quantity of a commodity (including food animals and livestock carcasses) that has been produced or manufactured under the same basic conditions, and has been identified under the same code. When there is no code identification in place at an establishment, a lot is either:

  • a) a quantity of product produced under the same conditions, on the same day, at the same establishment; or
  • b) a quantity of the same type of product from the same producer, available for sampling at a fixed location.


The act of conducting a planned sequence of observations, tests or measurements to assess whether a Critical Control Point or a control measure is effective.

(Organismes nuisibles)

Any species, strain or biotype of organism injurious to or impacting on human, animal or plant health or the environment (including prions).

Preventive Control
(Contrôle préventif)

A combination of control measures that, when taken as a whole, provide for a science-based approach to preventing, mitigating and managing food safety risks posed by hazards and contribute to achieving compliance with regulatory requirements.

Preventive Control Plan
(Plan de contrôle préventif)

A written document that demonstrates how hazards and risks to food are identified and controlled. It must be prepared, kept, maintained, and implemented according to sections 84-87 of the proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.

Process Control
(Contrôle des procédés)

The system of controls used by a business to prevent and control hazards at each step of the food production process in a predictable, stable and consistent manner.


The process of removing a product from the market and all levels of its distribution system.


Observations, measurements and other data recorded by the business operator, or by means of monitoring equipment, to document adherence to critical limits or other process requirements.

Regulated Party
(Partie réglementée)

A person (including an individual, corporation, partnership or organization) subject to the acts and regulations administered by the CFIA.

Sanitary Conditions
(Conditions hygiéniques)

Conditions or circumstances that do not present a risk of contamination of a food.


Refers to the reduction of microorganisms to levels that are considered safe from a public health viewpoint. Examples of sanitization methods include:

  • Thermal sanitization – the use of hot water or steam for a specified temperature and contact time.
  • Chemical sanitization – the use of an acceptable chemical sanitizer at a specified concentration and contact time.


The ability to track the movement of any food product, one step back and one step forward, through all stages of production, processing and distribution.


The process of obtaining evidence that a control measure or combination of control measures, when properly implemented, is capable of controlling the hazard to a specified outcome.


The application of methods, procedures, tests and other evaluations to determine whether the control measure is and has been operating as intended.

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