Imported and Manufactured Food Program Inspection Manual
Chapter 9: Reporting, Tracking and Reference Systems

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9.0 Scope

Chapter 9 of this manual covers the reporting, tracking and reference systems used by Imported and Manufactured Food Program (IMFP) Inspectors that are related to inspection activities. This chapter provides information on the following systems:

  • Multi-Commodity Activities Program (MCAP)
  • Self-Contained Personal Reporting and Inspection Tool (SPRINT)
  • Laboratory Sample Tracking System (LSTS)
  • Issues Management System (IMS)
  • Import Retrieval System (IRS)
  • Automated Import Reference System (AIRS)
  • Client Management System (CMS)
  • Records/Documents Information Management System (RDIMS)

These systems are important tools in capturing and storing pertinent information related to the Agency's various activities. The data collected by some of these systems may be manipulated to generate useful reports from which valuable information can be derived. Information may be useful in determining the effectiveness of program strategies, and may influence the future direction of the program activities and of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as a whole.

It is worth mentioning that the quality of information being captured and stored in these systems dictates its usefulness and value. For instance, inaccurate or incomplete data may skew results or conclusions that are derived from that data. Inspectors should keep in mind the following key elements that influence the quality of not only the information stored in, but also of the reports derived from, any of these systems.

Accuracy – information must be factual, accurate, substantiated and not be influenced by personal bias.

Completeness/ Thoroughness – information must be complete, providing all pertinent details or elements.

Clarity – information is written and presented in a manner that is clear, logical and easy to understand.

Timeliness – data should be entered into a reporting system in a timely manner. Whenever possible, information should be entered into a system as soon as an activity is completed.

9.1 Multi-Commodity Activities Program

The CFIA's Multi-Commodity Activities Program (MCAP) is a computerized inspection reporting system used by the IMFP to record and report on inspection data for inspections related to food safety issues. IMFP Inspectors use this system as a tool to plan for, record and report on inspections and to assist them during inspections and related follow-up activities for food safety. Inspectors may generate an inspection overview report, an inspection history report, inspection worksheets, an inspection report and a corrective action plan (CAP) report for the purposes of planning, reporting and conducting inspections.

In case of planning and reporting:

From the Overview screen, Program and Operations Staff can search, review and print out information about inspections that have been done by area. An Inspection Overview Report can be printed. This report will show the search results by company name, name of inspectors, inspection numbers, start date, close date, inspection rating, status, work specification, level of trade, inspection standard and inspection reason.

From the Inspection screen, an Inspection History can also be printed. This report contains information about any past inspections conducted at a given firm. This includes the company name, address, inspection numbers, start date, close date, inspection rating, status and name of inspectors.

For conducting inspections:

From the MCAP screen, the Inspection Worksheet can be printed by inspectors for guidance and note-taking during the inspection. The Inspection Worksheet contains the principle statement and inspection criteria for each selected sub-section of the standard chosen for the inspection, dates, establishment name , address, a space for writing inspection comments, area(s) of concern and rating(s). When an inspection is completed, findings should be entered into MCAP within two weeks of the inspection date. An Inspection Report is then generated and delivered to the company in person or by mail. Any follow-up action related to areas or subsections where corrective action is required is also captured in the MCAP system.

For follow-up action:

From the MCAP screen, a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) Report can be printed by inspectors. This document contains general information about the inspection, as seen in the Inspection Report and all information on all CAPs associated to a given inspection. This report can be used internally by the inspector or can be sent to the manufacturer or importer.

Inspectors must use MCAP for all IMFP inspection activities related to food safety.

IMFP HQ uses the MCAP system as a tool to produce Inspection Summary Reports on a quarterly and annual basis for all IMFP inspections recorded in MCAP, and to respond to Access to Information Privacy (ATIP) requests, Media Queries, requests from the Minister's office (MinO), Auditor General, and other parliamentary requests.

For information on how to use the MCAP system, please refer to the MCAP User Manual. (This document is intended for internal use. CFIA staff can access this document using RDIMS number 3318547.) This manual is also available on the IMFP Merlin page.

9.2 Self-contained Personal Reporting and Inspection Tool

The Self-contained Personal Reporting and Inspection Tool (SPRINT) is a computerized inspection system which permits both positive and negative reporting of inspection findings for labelling inspection activities, in order to produce reliable data and trending information related to a specific work specification.

IMFP Inspectors use the SPRINT system to view and input detailed inspection information regarding the labelling of both manufactured and retail foods. Managers also use the system to view up-to-date information on inspections and employee time to help plan their budgets and schedules and track progress; while specialists/program officers use this system to view up-to-date compliance information to help develop National and Regional work plans and to respond to Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) requests, Media Queries, minister office (MinO), Auditor General, and other parliamentary requests.

For information on how to use the SPRINT system, please refer to the SPRINT User Manual. (This document is intended for internal use. CFIA staff can access this document using RDIMS number 2417913.) This manual is also available on the IMFP Merlin page.

9.3 Laboratory Sample Tracking System

The Laboratory Sample Tracking System (LSTS) is another computerized system which the Agency uses for tracking its sampling and analysis activities. It serves as a repository for sample submissions and their corresponding analytical results.

Prior to submitting samples to CFIA laboratories, inspectors must complete the sample submission form using LSTS. Inspectors are required to provide information on the sample, the source of the sample and the name of the submitter/inspector. A copy of the completed form must accompany the sample during shipment to the lab.

The LSTS User Services User Guide is available at RDIMS 1857345 (This document is intended for internal use).

Inspectors have three (3) ways of obtaining laboratory testing results. They are described below.

9.3.1 Reports of Analysis (ROA)

9.3.1.1 Default e-mail Notification

The Inspector who submitted the sample and the laboratory analyst who "authorized" the results of the analysis will receive an automatic default e-mail notification when results are finalized.

9.3.1.2 LSTS User Services Report of Analysis Utility

The Report of Analysis (ROA) Utility is a customized, web-based application used to retrieve laboratory results. In order to use the ROA Utility, an inspector must have one of the following pieces of information available: System ID, Reference No., or Laboratory No.

Information on using LSTS ROA Utility is available on Merlin in the LSTS User Services User Guide under "Using the Reports of Analysis (ROA) Utility".

9.3.2 LSTS User Services Personal E-mail Notification Management (PENMAN)

PENMAN is a web-based application that allows registered users of LSTS to subscribe to an e-mail notification process for obtaining results of laboratory testing as soon as they become available.

Once an inspector is registered with PENMAN, any time that lab results that match the chosen criteria (e.g., sampling plan, province, etc.) are "authorized", he or she will receive an e-mail notifying that the results are available, with a link to LSTS User Services and a number identifying the Report of Analysis. Note that an e-mail notifying that results are available is automatically sent to the inspector who took the sample, the person who submitted the sample (if this is someone other than the inspector), and the laboratory person who authorized the results, regardless of whether these people are registered with PENMAN or not.

Information on registering and using PENMAN is available on Merlin in the LSTS User Services Guide under "Using Personal E-mail Notification Management (PENMAN)".

9.3.3 Submission Status Inquiry (SSI)

Inspectors may check the status of a sample submission any time after a sample has been submitted, using the LSTS Submission Status Inquiry tool. Inspectors may use this tool to search for sample submissions by selecting one of the search options provided (e.g., Sampling Plan, Country of Origin, Submitter, LSTS etc.). With the exception of Laboratory No., System ID and Reference No., searches using other parameters are limited by the date selection field (i.e., up to 12 months).

Note: All LSTS user services can be accessed through the LSTS User Services Login Screen on Merlin.

9.4 Issue Management System

The Issue Management System (IMS) is a centralized, national database system used by Agency staff to document, track, and communicate information relating to the investigation and resolution of food related issues including food recalls. The system allows users to determine the status and progress of an issue from initiation to final conclusion. IMS facilitates informed and effective decision making, and allows Agency staff to identify trends in food issues.

Although IMS is not directly related to inspection activities, a link between the two exists. An inspector may identify a potential food safety issue or concern during the course of an inspection, which may initiate a food safety investigation. Further, an unsatisfactory laboratory result for a food sample collected during an inspection may require an investigation. In both cases, the use of IMS would be necessary to keep track of any follow up investigation or activities related to an issue. Conversely, a complaint or recall reported in IMS may require a follow-up involving an inspection.

For information on how to use the IMS, please refer to the IMS User Manual, RDIMS 1599661 (This file must be viewed in native format. Due to large document size, the time to load may be lengthy) or Issues Management System User Manual RDIMS 1599661 | PDF (1,473 kb) - (Internal access only). This manual is also available on the IMFP page of Merlin.

9.5 Import Retrieval System

The Import Retrieval System (IRS) is a computer program which sorts information and produces and prints reports from data which the CFIA receives on a weekly basis from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

This database is a listing of every shipment imported into Canada for all commodities regulated by the CFIA. The data includes key elements from each shipment such as the name and address of the importer, transaction number, the product name, the corresponding Harmonized System (HS) Code number, port of entry, country of origin, and volume of the shipment as well as several other pieces of import data.

The IRS enables CFIA staff to have access to key import information on Canadian importers and the products that they import. The most current data in the system is about one week old (goods have cleared CBSA about one week prior to CFIA receiving the information). An inspector in the IMFP would often use this system to search for products imported into their area or importers which may fall within the scope of an import-related work specification.

Import Retrieval System (IRS) – User Manual - RDIMS 355959 (Internal access only)

9.6 Automated Import Reference System

CFIA-AIRS is a user-friendly, searchable database of CFIA import requirements. Through a series of questions and answers, the system will lead you to information on all CFIA import requirements for specific commodities.

Importers with questions regarding requirements for potential imports can be referred to AIRS, as the system is available from the CFIA's external website.

The link to AIRS is below:

Automated Import Reference System

9.7 Client Management System

The Client Management (CMS) is a software application that has been designed to process LSTS store information received from CFIA clients. The CMS provides a means of tracking client registration, licensing, accreditation or recognition data by program area. This application is linked to IMS, LSTS, and MCAP systems.

When Inspectors utilize the search/add client function within IMS, LSTS and MCAP, they are accessing CMS. Inspectors need to be cautions when adding a new client to the CMS. For many companies, there could be a number of entries for the same company in the CMS. To avoid introducing more versions of the same company unnecessarily, if the company has been inspected before, inspectors must make sure to use the same client entry in the CMS. If there is a Record Number generated, use it to select the correct version of the client.

9.8 Records/Documents Information Management System

All information created, sent and received in the course of an employee's duties at CFIA, is the property of the Government of Canada and is to be treated as an asset of the Agency. RDIMS is a tool to assist employees in managing their information. RDIMS manages information throughout its life cycle, from its creation to disposal.

It is important for inspectors in the IMFP to understand the importance of this information management system and be able to effectively use it to name, store, access and share information pertaining to their program.

For more information on RDIMS, the RDIMS User Reference Manual is available on the IMFP page of Merlin, under Technical Training Materials and Manuals / Information Systems, or CFIA staff can access this document using RDIMS 2323210.

9.8.1 RDIMS Naming Conventions

A document entitled Using RDIMS to Effectively Manage Records Generated in Relation to Work Specifications was created in order to provide guidance to IMFP staff on naming conventions in RDIMS when work specification documents and reports are created.

Following the conventions set out in this document will allow IMFP staff to search and retrieve documents more efficiently. To allow for different levels of search capability, an effort has been made to simplify the naming conventions while still providing required information in the document title.

This document is available on the IMFP page of Merlin, or CFIA staff can access this document using RDIMS 3191242.

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