Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Registered Produce Warehouse (RPW) Program Manual of Procedures
2. Registration and Renewal

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2.1 Application for Registration

According to Section 56 of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations, should an establishment wish to become registered, the first step is for the owner to submit a completed copy of the following two forms (see Appendix I):

  • Application for Registration of an Establishment (CFIA/ACIA 3043), and
  • Application for Registration of an Establishment for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (CFIA/ACIA 2645).

These application forms (CFIA/ACIA 3043 and CFIA/ACIA 2645) are available from District Offices, Regional Offices or through the Forms Catalogue on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website.

The applicant must complete the forms properly and legibly and submit them to their local CFIA office. An application will be returned to the applicant when some information is missing or when the prescribed registration fee is not paid at the time of the application.

Upon receipt of the application, the local CFIA office will arrange for inspection of the establishment to confirm whether or not the warehouse meets the requirements of Part I.1, subsection 41(1)and sections 59 and 60 of the FFVR. For national consistency purposes, inspectors must use the Registered Produce Warehouse (RPW) Inspection Report (see Appendix II) when evaluating the establishment. At this time, if the applicant has not already provided a copy of their water analysis, they must be informed that satisfactory microbiological analysis results, as well as satisfactory chemical analysis results, of the water used within the establishment, must be provided to CFIA prior to establishment registration. Section 2.2 of this manual sets out the requirements for water analysis.

At the time of the inspector's visit, the applicant should be given a copy of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations or provided with a link to the Acts and Regulations page on the CFIA website. The applicant will be clearly informed as to his or her responsibility under this program. Every effort will be expended to make the applicant knowledgeable of the FFVR, including grade standards. A copy of the completed Inspection Report should be provided to the applicant.

If it is found that the warehouse is deficient in some way, the applicant should be immediately advised and non-compliances should be identified to the applicant by providing a copy of the Inspection Report with correction dates established. The application cannot be recommended until corrections are made. If the applicant has not made the correction(s) after a designated period of time, the application and the registration fee will be returned with a covering letter clearly stating the reason for rejection.

When the application is in order, and the premises are found to meet regulatory requirements, the CFIA will issue a Certificate of Registration with an assigned number which will remain in force for a year or until suspended, cancelled or surrendered. An application is considered to be in order when it is properly completed and accompanied by a completed Inspection Report and a copy of the water analysis.

2.2 Establishment Requirements for Registration

Subsection 41(1) and sections 59 and 60 of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations establish minimum requirements which an establishment must meet before being considered for registration. The state or condition of a warehouse has a direct bearing on the quality of product coming out of that warehouse.

The establishment shall be situated on land that provides or permits good drainage. This means that the warehouse's function or activity is not impeded or hampered by water and that water inside and outside the warehouse is not left to stagnate (paragraph 59(a)).

The establishment must not be in proximity to any source of pollution or any place that harbours insects, birds, rodents or other vermin that is likely to contaminate produce in the establishment. Should an inspector find evidence of contamination, they should contact their supervisor for further instructions (paragraph 59(b)). Provincial health requirements and requirements for sanitary disposal of cull product should be observed.

The establishment which is a building shall be of sound construction, in good repair and be constructed of materials that are durable and free of any noxious constituent. It shall be separate from and have no direct access to areas in which are carried out operations that are incompatible with the handling of produce. The building shall be protected against the entry of insects, birds, rodents and other vermin or anything that is likely to contaminate produce (paragraphs 60(1)(a) through (d)).

The building shall have no room in the establishment open onto premises used for the manufacture, or storage of anything that is likely to emit an odour that could affect the flavour of or potentially contaminate the produce. This means that chemicals, pesticides, paint or other such materials should be located away from the produce, packing lines, storage rooms, etc. as such materials could cause contamination of the product due to their proximity (paragraph 60(1)(e)).

The establishment must be clean and have adequate means of drainage, waste removal and waste disposal (paragraph 60(1)(n)). The warehouse's function or activity must not be hampered by foreign material and waste must be removed on a regular basis.

The establishment must have suitable facilities and equipment for the grading and handling of the produce (paragraph 60(1)(f)). It is not possible to define this for every situation but good judgement must be exercised. Commonly, one would expect to find equipment used for cleaning the produce such as brushes or washers, sizing equipment, grading belt, packaging equipment and scales. In addition, the establishment must also have adequate facilities and means for the cleaning and sanitizing of equipment (paragraph 60(1)(m)).

The establishment must have areas with temperature, light and ventilation that are suitable for the preservation of produce (paragraph 60(1)(g)). This does not necessarily mean an elaborate controlled atmosphere system, but it does mean a system which protects the product from the elements (i.e., heat and frost).

The lighting over the grading table must be adequate to permit the proper grading of the produce. A minimum of 550 lx measured at the surface level of the grading table will be considered to be sufficient. In order to evaluate this minimum requirement, a light meter is needed (paragraph 60(1)(h)).

In those areas where produce or packaging materials are exposed, establishments must ensure that the light bulbs and fixtures are of a type that will not cause contamination of produce in the event of breakage. Lights may either be of a kind that are shatter proof or be encased in a protective covering (paragraph 60(1)(i)).

Establishments shall have available to their employees, lavatories that are clean and sanitary. They should be adequate in size, equipped for the number of people using them, well lit and ventilated, and separate from and not leading directly into any room used for handling produce. Establishments shall provide suitable hand washing facilities, which include soap, hot water and disposable paper towels (paragraph 60(1)(k)).

The establishment must be supplied with potable hot and cold water used in the final rinsing of the produce before packing. The water must be protected against contamination and be adequate in quantity and pressure to serve the water needs of the establishment (paragraph 60(1)(l)). Potable water means that the water must be safe for drinking. In order to evaluate this requirement, a Certificate of Water Analysis from the Provincial or Municipal Health Department, or from a private laboratory accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) or the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA), is required at least once a year as proof that potable water is available. 

The water used within the establishment must meet Health Canada's Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality and any applicable provincial, municipal, and territorial water requirements.

Regardless of whether the source of water is a private well or is municipal, the establishment must make arrangements for microbiological analysis of the water used within the establishment, to be conducted at least once per year, not more than six months prior to the date of application for registration (initial registration and registration renewal).

The analysis must include testing for total coliform bacteria and Escherichia coli. Additional testing may be required if there are changes to the source of the water, the piping systems, or if there are suspected contamination issues.

Satisfactory chemical analysis results of water used within the establishment are required prior to establishment registration. The analysis must include testing for antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and lead. Upon registration renewal, if an establishment can provide a record of satisfactory chemical analysis results obtained previously, they are not required to re-test.

Water other than potable water may be used for fire protection and auxiliary services, including the washing of soil from raw produce and the fluming of raw produce, provided there is no connection between the system for that water and the system for potable water (subsection 60(2)).

A working area must be made available for the inspector to inspect the produce being packed (paragraph 60(1)(j)). A grading table must be provided as well as enough floor space for the inspector to place his samples nearby and to work around the table without fear of being hit by equipment. An electrical outlet must also be provided for equipment necessary to carry out the inspection, such as an inspector's lap top. There should also be adequate lighting over this area (minimum of 540 lux measured at the surface level of the grading table). In order to be able to adequately evaluate the condition of the produce at time of monitoring, the inspection area must be a suitable environment with adequate temperature and waste disposal. If an inspector is unable to perform an inspection because of poor inspection conditions, the inspector shall postpone the inspection and notify their supervisor.

The operator of the RPW must name a competent individual who will be responsible for the supervision of grading. In smaller facilities, this may be the owner himself. This individual should be knowledgeable of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations and grade standards and have the authority to correct errors in grading and preparation of the produce. Every effort should be expended to make this individual as knowledgeable as possible.

2.3 Renewal

Before the expiry date, the owner of the establishment must submit an application along with the prescribed registration fee to their local CFIA office. Failing to comply with this requirement, the establishment will no longer be registered in accordance with the FFVR and must request inspections if they are shipping potatoes, apples or blueberries out of provinces that require interprovincial certification. At least eight (8) weeks before the expiration date, the application for renewal will be sent directly to the operator by the designated operational office.

At each renewal, a full inspection of the establishment should be done and water analysis results should be verified to ensure compliance with Section 2.2. If the RPW is not in operation at the time of renewal, the Inspection Report and a copy of the water analysis may follow, provided that the RPW is aware that their registration is dependent on passing inspection, which includes having acceptable water analysis results.

2.4 Issuance of Registration Certificate

Upon receipt of a completed application, Registered Produce Warehouse Inspection Report and water analysis results, the Regional Director shall issue a certificate of registration. A copy of the certificate is to be sent to the Area Specialist.

The Registered Produce Warehouse (RPW) List shall be updated to reflect the current status of the establishment.

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