Food Safety Practices Guidance for Sprout Manufacturers

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

Looking for related documents?
Search for related documents in the Guidance Document Repository

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

Agricultural inputs
any incoming material (e.g. fertilizers, water, agricultural chemicals, etc.) used for the production of seeds.
any substance capable of producing an abnormal immune response in sensitive individuals. Priority food allergens of concern in Canada include: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, wheat, sulphites, sesame seeds, egg and seafood (fish, crustaceans and shellfish).
a standardized evaluation of the inherent capability of equipment to consistently perform a specified function under actual operating conditions after significant causes of variation have been eliminated.
with reference to this document, certification refers to the guarantee a supplier provides to a manufacturer that the material meets the manufacturers specifications, e.g. certificate of analysis. This may include periodic monitoring to verify adherence to specifications and audits to validate the status of the supplier certification program.
the transfer of harmful substances or disease-causing microorganisms to sprouts by hands, food-contact surfaces and utensils that touch contaminated seeds and sprouts.
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.
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 to 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 criterion which separates acceptability from unacceptability.
contamination of seeds, sprouts 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.
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) which 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.
Factors significant to food safety
means any property, characteristic, condition, aspect, or other parameter, a variation of which may affect the safety of the product or the process.
Food contact surface
any equipment or utensil which normally comes in contact with the food product, or surfaces 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 seeds which will reduce and minimize the risks of biological, chemical and physical contamination.
An agent, condition or circumstance that has the potential to cause illness or injury in the absence of control. Hazards can be biological, chemical or physical.
  • Biological include:
    • pathogenic bacteria that cause illness by infection (e.g. salmonella) or intoxication (e.g. Clostridium botulinum, Staphylococcus aureus) and so include bacterial toxins (e.g. botulinum toxin, staphylococcus toxin);
    • viruses and parasites that cause illness by infection.
  • Chemical include:
    • substances or toxins that are naturally occurring and derived from plants, animals, algae and fungi (e.g. mycotoxins, poisonous mushroom) but not including bacterial toxins;
    • substances intentionally added to the food during growth or food processing and considered safe below certain established limits but unsafe above established limits (e.g. sodium, nitrate);
    • substances that contaminate food accidentally (e.g. cleaning chemicals);
    • food allergens (e.g. peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, seafood [fish, crustaceans and shellfish], wheat, sulphites, sesame seeds and egg).
  • Physical include:
    • material not normally found in food that can cause physical injury to the person consuming the food (e.g. broken glass, metal fragments, stones, wood slivers, bone pieces).
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.
Master formula
the master formula is the official formula referenced by a manufacturer for a given product.
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.
Periodic testing (Recall)
internal activities conducted periodically to verify the capability of the manufacturer to rapidly identify and control a given lot of product. These activities do not necessarily require that the manufacturer contact customers.
Potable water
water which 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.
Prerequisite program
Universal steps or procedures (e.g. Good Manufacturing Practices [GMP]) that control the operational conditions within a food establishment and promote environmental conditions that are favourable for the production of safe food.
(noun) denotes the process of recalling the affected product and encompasses all tiers of the affected product distribution system.
(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 CFIA.
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.
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.
Seed distributor
any person responsible for the distribution of seeds (handling, storage and transportation) to sprout manufacturers. Seed distributors may deal with single or multiple seed producers and can be producers themselves.
Seed producer
any person responsible for the management of activities associated with the primary production of seeds, including post harvest practices.
Seed lot
a quantity of seeds produced and handled under uniform conditions with as little variation as possible (e.g. seeds grown under similar agricultural practices, on the same land and harvested during the same period).
a process whereby food is rendered unacceptable for consumption through microbiological or chemical reaction.
Sprout lot
a quantity of sprouts produced and handled under uniform conditions with as little variation as possible and harvested on the same day (e.g. sprouts produced from a single seed lot, germinated, grown and harvested at the same time using the same antimicrobial treatment and growing methods and type of equipment).
Sprout manufacturer
any person responsible for the management of the activities associated with the production of sprouted seeds.
Sprouted Seed
any seed that has been sprouted for human consumption. This includes seeds grown in soil.
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.
Date modified: