Food Safety Practices Guidance for Ready-to-Eat Fresh-Cut Vegetable Manufacturers
Chapter 3: Premises

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3.1 Building Exterior

3.1.1 Outside Property and Buildings

Buildings and surrounding areas are designed, constructed and maintained in a manner that prevents conditions that may result in the contamination of food.

Anticipated Outcomes

Grounds, Roadways and Drainage
  • The surrounding land is maintained to control sources of contamination such as debris and pest harbourage areas.
  • The building is not located in close proximity to any environmental contaminants.
  • Roadways are properly graded, compacted, dust proofed and drained.
  • The surrounding property is adequately drained.
Exterior Building Structure
  • The building exterior is designed, constructed and maintained to prevent entry of contaminants and pests. For example: the exterior has no unprotected openings; air intakes are appropriately located; and, the roof, walls and foundation are maintained to prevent leakage.

3.2 Building Interior

3.2.1 Design, Construction and Maintenance

Building interiors and structures are designed, constructed and maintained to prevent conditions that may result in the contamination of food.

Anticipated Outcomes

Floors, Walls and Ceilings
  • Floors, walls and ceilings are constructed of materials that are durable, impervious, smooth, cleanable and suitable for the production conditions in the area (i.e., materials will not result in the contamination of the environment or food).
  • Where appropriate, wall, floor and ceiling joints are sealed and angles are coved to prevent contamination and facilitate cleaning.
  • Floors, walls and ceilings are composed of materials that will not result in the contamination of the environment or food.
  • Floors are sufficiently sloped to permit liquids to drain to trapped outlets.
  • Ceilings, overhead structures, stairs and elevators are designed, constructed and maintained to prevent contamination.
Windows and Doors
  • Windows are sealed or equipped with close-fitting screens.
  • Where there is a likelihood of breakage of glass windows that could result in the contamination of food, the windows are constructed of alternative materials or are adequately protected.
  • Doors have smooth, non-absorbent surfaces and are close-fitting and self-closing where appropriate.
Process Flow Separation

Building interiors and structures permit good hygienic practices, including protection against cross-contamination between and during operations. For example:

  • Raw incoming vegetables, in-process vegetables and finished product areas are maintained separate from each other to prevent the potential for microbial cross-contamination.
  • The internal design and layout are designed to facilitate good hygienic practices during production, including protection against cross-contamination between operations and during cleaning and sanitation of utensils and equipment. There is regulated flow in the process, from the arrival of the raw material at the premises to the finished, RTE fresh-cut vegetable products.
  • Where mobile equipment (such as hand trucks or forklifts) moves between incompatible areas, measures are taken to sanitize the wheels (floor foamers, sanitizer sprays, etc.) to minimize cross-contamination.
  • Foot dips/hand dips are to be used between clean/sanitary areas and areas presenting a potential for pathogen cross-contamination.
  • Where food processing operations other than RTE fresh-cut vegetables exist at the same facility, there is adequate separation to prevent potential hazards associated with cross-contamination (i.e., biological, chemical, allergens).

3.2.2   Lighting

Lighting is adequate for the activity being conducted. Where appropriate, light bulbs and fixtures are protected to prevent contamination of food or packaging material.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The lighting is appropriate, such that the intended production or inspection activity can be effectively conducted. The lighting does not alter food colour and is not less than the following:
    • 540 lux (50 foot candles) in inspection areasFootnote 2
    • 220 lux (20 foot candles) in work areas
    • 110 lux (10 foot candles) in other areas
  • In case of their breakage, light bulbs and fixtures located in areas where exposed food and packaging material are located, are of a safety type or are protected so as to prevent contamination of food and packaging material.

3.2.3 Ventilation

Adequate ventilation is provided to prevent excessive condensation and dust and to minimize the entry of contaminated air.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • Ventilation provides sufficient air exchange to prevent unacceptable accumulations of condensation or dust and to minimize the entry of contaminated air.
  • Ventilation systems are constructed such as to avoid airflow from the least clean areas (e.g., the receiving area) to cleanest areas (e.g., packaging and finished product storage) and are designed to be adequately maintained and cleaned.
  • Ventilation openings are equipped with close-fitting screens or filters, as appropriate, to prevent the intake of contaminated air. Filters (for intake air, compressed air, etc.) are cleaned or replaced at least as often as the manufacturer specifies or more frequently if a problem is indicated, such as evidence of filter fouling or perforation.
  • Air used as a processing technique (e.g., pneumatic conveying, air agitation, air blowers, air dryers, etc.) is appropriately sourced and treated (e.g., air intakes, filters, compressors) to reduce any source of contamination.

3.2.4 Waste disposal

Sewage, effluent and waste storage and disposal systems are designed, constructed and maintained in such a manner as to prevent contamination.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • Drainage and sewage systems are equipped with appropriate traps and vents.
  • Establishments are designed and constructed so that there is no cross-connection between the sewage system and any other waste effluent system in the establishment.
  • Effluent or sewage lines do not pass directly over or through production areas unless they are controlled to prevent contamination.
  • Adequate facilities and equipment are provided and maintained for the storage of waste and inedible material prior to their removal from the establishment. These facilities are designed to prevent contamination.
  • Containers used for waste are clearly identified, leak-proof and, where appropriate, are covered.
  • Waste is removed and containers are cleaned and sanitized at an appropriate frequency to minimize the potential of contamination. Waste is not allowed to accumulate in produce handling and storage areas or the adjoining environment.

3.3 Sanitary Facilities

3.3.1 Employee Facilities

Employee facilities are designed, constructed and maintained to permit effective employee hygiene and in such a manner as to prevent contamination.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The processing areas are provided with an adequate number of conveniently located hand-washing stations (preferably hands-free) with trapped waste pipes to drains.
  • The washrooms, lunchrooms and change rooms are adequately ventilated and maintained. They are separate from and do not lead directly into food processing areas.
  • The facilities provide adequate means for the hygienic washing and drying hands and include wash basins, soap, hands sanitizer, disposable towels or sanitary hand-drying supplies or devices and a supply of hot and cold water (or suitably controlled temperature) adjacent to toilets.
  • The toilet facilities are designed to allow for the hygienic removal of waste and be located to avoid contamination of produce or premises.
  • The toilet facilities are maintained under sanitary conditions and in good repair at all times.
  • The washrooms, lunchrooms and change rooms are maintained in a clean condition.
  • Hand-washing notices are posted in appropriate areas.

3.3.2 Equipment Cleaning and Sanitizing Facilities

Facilities for cleaning and sanitizing equipment are adequately designed, constructed and maintained in such a manner as to prevent contamination.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The facilities are constructed of corrosion-resistant materials that are capable of being easily cleaned. They are supplied with potable water at temperatures appropriate for the cleaning chemicals used.
  • The equipment cleaning and sanitizing facilities are adequately separated from food storage, processing and packaging areas, such as to prevent contamination.

3.4 Water/Ice/Steam Quality

3.4.1 Water and Ice

The potability of hot and cold water is controlled to prevent contamination.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The potable water meets the requirements of Health Canada's Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality and any applicable provincial and municipal requirements.
  • The water from sources other than municipal supplies is treated as necessary by the manufacturer.
  • The water is analysed by the manufacturer at a frequency adequate to confirm its potability. For microbial analysis, municipal water is analysed on an annual basis or results can be obtained from municipal or provincial government testing. Water from other sources is analysed semi-annually. For chemical analysis, water from non-municipal sources is analysed at least at the initial start-up of the well.
  • The manufacturers have contingency plans in place to deal with provincial/municipal orders to boil water and unsatisfactory water analysis results.
  • There are no cross-connections between potable and non-potable water supplies and all hoses, taps and other similar sources of potential contamination are designed to prevent back-flow or back-siphonage.
  • Where it is necessary to store water, storage facilities are adequately designed, constructed and maintained to prevent contamination (e.g., the storage is covered).
  • The volume, temperature and pressure of the potable water are adequate for all operational and clean-up demands.
  • Water treatment chemicals, where used, are appropriate for the intended use and are used in accordance with the chemical manufacturer's instructions.
  • The chemical treatment is monitored and controlled to deliver the desired concentration and to prevent contamination.
  • Recirculated water is treated, monitored and maintained as appropriate to the intended purpose. Recirculated water has a separate distribution system which is clearly identified. Recirculated water flow should be counter to the movement of product, such that as vegetables are further processed they are exposed to the cleanest water.
  • Ice used as an ingredient or in direct contact with food is made from potable water and is protected from contamination. Ice purchased by the manufacturer is treated as an incoming ingredient and is assessed under Section 1.4.1 Incoming Raw Vegetables and Other Non-Packaging Inputs.

For more information, manufacturers can refer to the CFIA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program's Record of Decision on Registered Produce Warehouse Registration/Renewal Requirements for Water Analysis.

See Section 7.4.1 for expected Water/Ice/Steam Quality Records.

3.4.2 Steam

The potability of steam which is in direct contact with food or food contact surfaces is controlled to prevent product contamination. The steam supply is adequate to meet operational requirements.

Note: Where steam is not in direct contact with food or food contact surfaces, this section is considered to be not applicable.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The boiler treatment chemicals used are appropriate for the intended use and are used in accordance with the chemical manufacturer's instructions.
  • The boiler feed water is tested regularly and the chemical treatment is controlled to prevent contamination.
  • The steam supply is generated from potable water and is adequate to meet operational requirements.
  • Traps are provided as necessary to ensure the adequate removal of condensate and the elimination of foreign materials.

See Section 7.4.1 for expected Water/Ice/Steam Quality Records.

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