Low-Acid and Acidified Low-Acid Foods In Hermetically Sealed Containers – Visual Inspection Protocol
4.0 Inspection

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Inspections shall be carried out under the authority of the regulatory agency having jurisdiction.

4.1 Identify and locate lot

Prior to inspecting a lot, the inspector should obtain the following information:

  • location of the lot;
  • name and address of the legal agent;
  • lot size (number of cases, containers per case);
  • lot codes and their interpretation;
  • brand name;
  • product type and style of pack;
  • container type and size;
  • processing establishment;
  • country of origin;
  • other pertinent information.

4.2 Ensure lot accessibility

The inspector must have adequate access to the inspection lot. If, in the inspector's opinion, the inspection lot is inaccessible due to the presence of other lots or the manner in which it is stored, and the inspector deems access is required, then the inspection lot must be moved to an area which allows the inspector to adequately examine the cases.

4.3 Overview Inspection

The presence of damaged cases must be assessed. The inspector will determine if any damaged cases have been sorted out from the lot and verify that any sorting has been properly performed.

If the results of this inspection show:

  1. no wet, stained or damaged cases, then commence inspection (see section 4.4);
  2. the presence of wet, stained or damaged cases. Detain the whole inspection lot.

Proceed to section 5.0 - Wet, Stained or Damaged Cases.

4.4 Compliance Sample

The compliance sample consists of 200 containers taken from throughout the inspection lot.

4.4.1 Selection Of Containers

Determine the number of containers in each case.

Number of Containers Per Case Number of Cases to be Opened for Inspection Number of Containers to Pick From Cases
5 or less 40 all
6-12 34 6
13-60 17 12
61-250 13 16
251 or more 9 24

In accordance with the above table, identify the number of containers in a case, select the number of cases to be opened for inspection, and examine the required number of containers from each of the opened cases.

Example: If each case contains 24 containers, open 17 cases for inspection and examine 12 containers from 16 cases and 8 containers from the 17th case. A total of 200 containers will be examined.

For inspection lots having less than two hundred containers, the entire inspection lot must be examined and the total number of containers must be recorded on the report form.

All two hundred containers shall be examined by the inspector and the result of the examination recorded and maintained on file.

4.4.2 Label Removal (see note at beginning of document)

1. The labels will be removed from all containers in the compliance sample by the inspector in order to permit a thorough examination of the containers.

2. When a defect and the relationship to the label are important, mark the label so that it can be placed in the same position on the container prior to its removal.

3. Examine the inside surface of the label for stains.

4.5 Decision - Compliance Sample

If the results of the visual examinationFootnote 2 show:

  1. no serious defects, permit distribution of lot;
  2. one or more serious defects, detain the inspection lot and proceed to Section 4.6 - Serious Defects.

Where an inspector needs to further assess a defect, the inspector may consult with other people, knowledgeable in the area of container integrity defects, or submit the containers in question to the laboratory for further analysis. The lot must be detained pending a final decision.

4.6 Serious Defects

All containers with serious defects shall be retained by the inspector and the defects identified. No sale or distribution of the inspection lot is permitted.

Control of all defective containers must be maintained until a final decision is reached as to the disposition of the inspection lot.

The Office of Food Safety and Recall, CFIA, must be notified when a lot containing serious container integrity defect(s) has been distributed.

The regulatory authority shall maintain documentation to demonstrate control or disposition of rejected lots with serious container integrity defects.

Note: If at any time during an inspection a swollen or leaking container is found, the inspection or reinspection shall be discontinued until such time that the lot has been evaluated to determine the cause. Proceed to section 7.0, Swollen or Leaking Containers.

4.7 Disposition Of The Lot

Lots, which do not meet Canadian requirements upon initial inspection are not permitted for sale or distribution in Canada.

The legal agent may:

  1. remove the imported lot from Canada with the approval of the government agency having jurisdiction;
  2. destroy the lot under the supervision of the government agency having jurisdiction;
  3. request permission to cull the lot.

If the Legal Agent requests permission to cull the lot, proceed to section 6.0, Lot Culling.

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