Food Safety Practices Guidance for Ready-to-Eat Fresh-Cut Vegetable Manufacturers

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For the purpose of this guidance document, the following expressions have the stated definitions:

Any substance capable of producing an abnormal immune response in sensitive individuals.
Challenge test
Scientific study by which specific microorganisms of concern are added to a product to confirm the adequacy of a theoretical process.
The introduction of foreign material, harmful substances or disease-causing microorganisms to product or packaging material by raw materials, hands, food-contact surfaces, equipment and utensils.
Means that an operation performs consistently within pre-determined limits based on process capability, meets process requirements, provides a mechanism to maintain the stability of the process and consistently results in a safe product.
Any aircraft, carriage, motor vehicle, trailer, railway car, vessel, cargo, container or other contrivance used to move food or containers of food.
Corrective action
The actions to be taken when the results of any monitoring indicates a loss of control. In addition, this term refers to any action taken to bring the process into control and deal with any affected product when critical limits or other criteria are not met. The action should be prompt and appropriate to the seriousness of the deficiency.
Critical Control Point (CCP)
A point, step or procedure at which control can be applied and a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels.
Critical limit
A value which separates acceptability from unacceptability (for a Critical Control Point).
Contamination of Ready-to-Eat vegetables or packaging material by direct or indirect contact with material from an earlier stage of the process. A regulated process flow and good employee practices will minimize the risk of cross-contamination occurrences.
For the purposes of this document, deterioration can be used interchangeably with spoilage. However, deterioration can also apply to non-food products such as packaging materials. For non-food items, deterioration is a physical or chemical change in the material that may adversely affect the safety of the food.
Failure to meet the critical limits for a Critical Control Point or failure to meet the limits of acceptability for factors significant to food safety.
Deviation procedure
A pre-determined and documented set of corrective actions (immediate and preventive) that are implemented when a deviation occurs.
For the purposes of this document, documents refer to written formulae, procedures or specifications used by or required of a manufacturer.
Equipment that may have an impact on food safety
Equipment that performs a function whose impact on the process is such that a food safety hazard could be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels.
Factors significant to food safety
Means any property, characteristic, condition, aspect, or other parameter, where/when a variation of which may affect the safety of the product or the process.
Finished product
A product that will undergo no further processing or transformation by the establishment.
Note: A product that undergoes further processing or transformation by another establishment is a finished product, in the context of the first establishment and a raw material or an ingredient in the context of the second establishment.
Food contact surface
Any equipment or utensil that normally comes in contact with the food product or surfaces that are normally in contact with the product.
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
The general practices used in the planting, growing, harvesting, sorting, packing, storage and transportation of fresh vegetables that will reduce and minimize the risks of biological, chemical and physical contamination.
The potential to cause harm. A biological, chemical or physical property that may cause an unacceptable consumer health risk.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)
A systematic approach to identifying and assessing hazards and risks associated with a food operation and defining the means of their control.
Inspection areas
(definition with respect to lighting requirements) inspection areas are defined as any point where food products or containers are visually inspected or instruments are monitored.
Means the amount of product of a specific container size, product style and code produced by a food establishment during a specified period of time.
Include yeasts, moulds, bacteria, viruses and parasites. When used as an adjective, the term microbial is used.
A planned sequence of observations or measurements to assess whether a CCP (or other activity) is under control.
Potable water
Water that meets the requirements of the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality published by Health Canada and any applicable provincial and municipal requirements.
Pre-packaged product
As per the Food and Drugs Act, any food that is contained in a package in the manner in which it is ordinarily sold to or used or purchased by a person.
Processing aids
As per the Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising, processing aids are substances/ingredients that are added to a food for a technological effect during processing and that are not present in the finished food product or are present at insignificant or non-functional levels.
Product formulation
A written recipe for multi-ingredient products, including ingredients and food additives and their proportions. May also refer to either the process of product development (design) or the act of physically blending ingredients to produce the multi-ingredient product.
Ready-to-Eat (RTE) fresh-cut vegetables
Raw vegetables that have been washed and peeled, sliced, chopped or shredded prior to being packaged for sale. With the possible exception of the addition of dressing or croutons by the end user, the product does not require further preparation before consumption.
Recall (noun)
Denotes the process of retrieving the affected product from the marketplace and encompasses all tiers of the affected product's distribution system.
Recall (verb)
Means for an establishment to remove from further sale or use, or to correct, a marketed product that contravenes legislation administered and/or enforced by the CFIA.
Recall, periodic testing
Internal activities conducted on a periodic basis to verify the capability of the manufacturer to rapidly identify and control a given lot of product. These activities do not necessarily require the manufacturer to contact customers.
Observations and measurements recorded by a manufacturer to determine adherence to critical limits, limits of acceptability or other specified requirements (for a Critical Control Point or for factors significant to food safety).
Means exposure to a temperature of 4°C or less, but does not mean frozen. Risk – an estimate of the likelihood of occurrence of a hazard.
The application of heat or chemical treatments to destroy or substantially reduce the number of microorganisms present that have the potential to cause adverse health effects.
A process whereby food is rendered unacceptable for consumption through microbiological or chemical reaction.
The obtaining of evidence showing that control measures are capable of being consistently effective. Validation is performed when new control measures or a new food safety control system is designed, or when changes indicate the need for revalidation, in order to confirm that the control measures or food safety control systems, when implemented as intended, are capable of controlling the hazard to the appropriate level and that this level of control can be achieved consistently.
Examination of the accuracy, correctness or effectiveness of validated processes or process controls through testing, investigation or comparison against a standard.
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