Metal Can Defects Manual - Identification and Classification
Chapter 5 - Severity classification

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In addition to defect category and type, can defects are also classified according to severity. The following are the definitions used for severity classification of hermetically sealed and sterilized cans.

5.1 Serious

A serious condition is one which provides evidence that:

  1. there is, or has been, microbial growth in the container contents; or
  2. the hermetic seal of the container has been either lost or seriously compromised; or
  3. the container is unsuitable for distribution and sale as stipulated in the Food and Drugs Act, section 4, and/or section 27.003 and 27.005 of the Food and Drug Regulations.

Note: In accordance with Chapter 4, Section 4.3, some defects classified as serious may be eligible for evaluation using the Hold For Investigation (HFI) protocol. The objective of HFI is to allow the owner of the goods to determine, through a sampling and assessment protocol of a specific lot, the range of defect severity that can be expected in the lot. This range of defect severity, combined with consideration of all the container integrity parameters, can be used to determine whether the defect in this lot is deemed to be serious or minor.

5.2 Minor

A minor condition is one which is clearly an abnormal container characteristic, but one which does not result in loss or potential loss of container integrity (hermeticity), and consequently does not represent a potential public health risk.

Food and Drugs Act section 4

No person shall sell an article of food that

  1. has in or on it any poisonous or harmful substance;
  2. is unfit for human consumption;
  3. consists in whole or in part of any filthy, putrid, disgusting, rotten, decomposed or diseased animal or vegetable substance;
  4. is adulterated; or
  5. was manufactured, prepared, preserved, packaged or stored under unsanitary conditions.

Food and Drug Regulations 27.003

No person shall sell a low-acid food packaged in a hermetically sealed container where the container

  1. is swollen;
  2. is not properly sealed; or
  3. has any defect that may adversely affect its hermetic seal.

Food and Drug Regulations 27.005

No person shall sell a commercially sterile low-acid food packaged in a hermetically sealed container unless

  1. the label or container of the food bears a code or lot number that identifies, in a legible and permanent manner,
    1. the establishment in which the product was rendered commercially sterile, and
    2. the day, month and year on which the food was rendered commercially sterile; and
  2. the exact meaning of each item in any code or lot number referred to in paragraph a) is available to an inspector at the establishment or, where the food is imported, from the importer.
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