Greenhouse Vegetable Sector Biosecurity Guide

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Preface

This Greenhouse Vegetable Sector Biosecurity Guide (the Guide) has been developed as a supporting document to the National Voluntary Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard for the Greenhouse, Nursery and Floriculture Sectors (the Standard) to assist producers with the development of a biosecurity plan. The Standard contains biosecurity measures of relevance to all three sectors. This Guide is voluntary and provides sector-specific biosecurity measures for consideration to help greenhouse vegetable producers achieve the pest risk mitigation goals identified in the target outcomes previously set within the Standard.

It is recognized that each biosecurity plan will be specific to each place of production, and not all the recommendations in this Guide will be universally applicable. The information and guidance that is provided is applicable to both established and new places of production. The considerations outlined in this Guide are based on scientifically sound principles that may reduce the risk of pest introduction, help to enhance pest management within a place of production and mitigate the spread to additional places of production.

How to Use this Guide

i) Organization of this Guide

This Guide has been organized into the following three main sections:

  • Plant Health Management
  • Place of Production Operational Management
  • Education, Training and Communication

These main sections are divided into sub-sections that include the:

  • Target outcome – Goals that all producers should try to achieve to protect their place of production from the introduction and spread of pests. These are taken from the Standard.
  • Benefits – Details regarding why a specific target outcome is important to on-farm biosecurity.
  • Risks – Biosecurity considerations that provide examples and guidance based on the suggested risk pathways.
  • Self-assessment checklist – A tool provided to help producers determine if additional biosecurity measures can be applied to a place of production. A checklist has been provided at the end of each sub-section.

A glossary of definitions has also been provided at the end of this Guide. Terms that are included in the glossary have been written in bold and italic text in their first use in the document.

Appendices located at the end of this Guide provide producers with examples of tools that can be used to implement biosecurity measures in a place of production, such as signs and a visitor sign-in sheet.

Appendix 6 is an acknowledgement of the sector and producer organizations, producers, academia, and federal and provincial specialists whose expertise was used to develop this Guide.

ii) How to Complete the Self-Assessment Checklists

The self-assessment checklists have been provided to assist producers in assessing if additional biosecurity measures can be implemented in a place of production. There are four columns included in the checklist to indicate:

  • Yes – Biosecurity measure is implemented and does not require further action.
  • Sometimes – Biosecurity measure is not always successfully implemented and may require additional action.
  • No – Biosecurity measure is not implemented and requires action.
  • Not applicable (NA) – Biosecurity measure does not apply to a place of production and no action is required.

iii) Self-Assessment Checklist and Action Work Plan PDF Document

The Greenhouse Vegetable Sector Biosecurity Guide Self-Assessment Checklist and Action Work Plan is a list of the biosecurity measures from the self-evaluation checklists included in each sub-section with the same four columns as explained above. This tool also includes an action work plan where actions to complete the implementation of additional biosecurity measures within a place of production can be recorded. When completed electronically, the biosecurity measures that "No" and "Sometimes" have been selected are automatically transferred to the action work plan. This tool can be downloaded from the forms catalogue on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) website. In the "Filter items" search field, type "5784" to obtain the form.

Acknowledgement

With permission from Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, this Guide has been developed using information from the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers document Biosecurity: Recommended Practices for the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Sector, which was produced with funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Growing Forward 2 and Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers.

1.0 Introduction

1.1 The Importance of Biosecurity

Biosecurity is a set of practices used to prevent, minimize and manage the transmission of pests including their introduction, spread and release. Implementing and enhancing biosecurity measures within a place of production will help protect individual and sector-wide economic interests. Producers will benefit from awareness of the risks and the measures that can be implemented to minimize the risk of pest introduction and spread.

Risks to places of production may develop rapidly and easily spread to other places of production due to the intensive nature of production, limited genetic diversity within crops and the movement of people and materials. Implementing biosecurity measures can help to mitigate many risks by reducing the incidence of pest introduction and spread within a place of production as well as to additional places of production.

1.2 Biosecurity Concepts

Implementing biosecurity measures can be effective not only for mitigating the spread of pests but also for preventing the introduction of new and unknown pest risks. Applying biosecurity measures depends on analysis of the risks and pathways of pest transmission for a place of production. Knowledge of pests and their pathways of transmission is important when developing a biosecurity plan. With this knowledge, pest vectors can be managed and biosecurity measures can be applied to interrupt pest pathways of transmission to help reduce crop damage and minimize economic losses. Examples of pathways of pest transmission can include insects, people, equipment and wind.

To determine the critical points in pest pathways of transmission for a place of production where biosecurity measures may be applied, a risk assessment may be conducted. The risks to a place of production will vary depending on several factors, such as the type of crop grown, the source(s) of propagative material, the region, the climate and the production practices.

In addition, as illustrated in Figure 1, pest outbreaks do not happen in isolation, but are dependent on the interrelated nature of the crop, the environment and the pest.

  • Crop health: If the crop is not healthy and under stress, the plant can be more susceptible to pests. However, if the plants are healthy, this does not eliminate pest issues.
  • Pests: Many pests can thrive in optimal crop-growing conditions.
  • Environment: The environment is important to the development of the crop and the pest.

Figure 1: The Plant Pest Triangle

Figure 1: The Plant Pest Triangle. Description follows.
Description for photo - Figure 1: The Plant Pest Triangle

The Plant Pest Triangle has a triangle with the words "Incidence and/or severity of pest occurrence" written on it. Each point of the triangle has a circle surrounding it. Starting at the top, the first circle says: Crop. To the right, the second circle says: Environment. To the left, the third circle says: Pest.

The Plant Pest Triangle shows that the incidence and severity of an outbreak relates to the interaction of a susceptible crop, a pest, and an environment favourable to pest development. In addition to applying biosecurity measures at critical points in the pathway of transmission, pests may also be mitigated through the application of biosecurity measures to reduce the risks presented by these three components. For example, a producer may choose to grow tolerant plant varieties or manage the environment.

1.3 Benefits of a Biosecurity Plan

What's in it for me?

One benefit of a biosecurity plan is that it can provide producers with the less costly option of preventing rather than managing the introduction or spread of pests. If a pest is detected, there are protocols already in place to facilitate a rapid response, thereby minimizing the damage or further spread of pests. Other benefits of incorporating biosecurity measures into the day-to-day activities of a place of production include:

  • Managing the risk of business interruption due to harmful pest detections at your place of production.
  • Meeting customer and consumer demand for biosecurity measures and protocols.
  • May assist in attracting new markets.
  • Decreased production losses.
  • Avoiding the introduction of pests that are currently not present.
  • The ability to contain and minimize pests that are already present.
  • Breaking the cycle of transmission of pests from one place of production to another, to the wider community and between trading partners.

It is preferable to prevent rather than manage the introduction or spread of a pest within a place of production.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Benjamin Franklin

1.4 Elements of a Biosecurity Plan

Biosecurity plans will differ from one place of production to another, as biosecurity measures and requirements will vary depending on the place of production. A biosecurity plan may include a detailed farm map(s), training programs, and standard procedures for pest response and the movement of people, vehicles and equipment. Documenting these procedures can ensure consistent application and demonstrate to customers that a place of production operates under biosecurity measures.

Other programs such as CanadaGAP™ may already be used and have components that apply to biosecurity. Those programs can be referenced as part of a biosecurity plan.

To develop a biosecurity plan, consider the following process:

Step 1: Develop a detailed map of the place of production. A map can be useful for visualizing and identifying potential sources or pathways of pest transmission. A map may include the entrance, shipping area, receiving area and biosecurity zones. The flow of plant material, people and equipment within the place of production can also be included.

Step 2: Identify the risks to a place of production. Knowledge of pests and their pathways of transmission can help to identify the risks and biosecurity measures that can help mitigate pests.

Step 3: Review current biosecurity measures. The self-assessment checklists and the Greenhouse Vegetable Sector Biosecurity Guide Self-Assessment Checklist and Action Work Plan can be used to help identify additional biosecurity measures that may be implemented at a place of production.

Step 4: Identify biosecurity goals. Prioritize and establish a timeline for the implementation of the additional biosecurity measures identified after completing the self-assessment checklists or the Greenhouse Vegetable Sector Biosecurity Guide Self-Assessment Checklist and Action Work Plan.

Step 5: Develop an implementation strategy. Communication, education and training of employees and visitors of a place of production are an important part of the implementation strategy.

Step 6: Review and update the biosecurity plan. A biosecurity plan should be regularly reviewed and updated as new biosecurity information becomes available or if there are changes within a place of production.

1.5 Implementing a Biosecurity Plan

As seen in Figure 2, the implementation of biosecurity measures in a place of production is a cycle of biosecurity activities. The need to assess and re-assess can be seen as the starting and ending point of the cycle leading to a more proactive approach.

Figure 2: Cycle of biosecurity activities

Figure 2: Cycle of biosecurity activities. Description follows.
Description for photo - Figure 2: Cycle of biosecurity activities

Figure 2 is an illustration of the cycle of activities that should be completed to develop and implement a biosecurity plan. The cycle of biosecurity activities has four items in the centre with arrows pointing between them in clockwise direction. The first item at the top of the cycle is Assess. Moving clockwise, the second item is Plan, the third item is Implement and the fourth item is Monitor. There is a text box by each of these items in the cycle (four in total). Above the word Assess there is a box with the following text: The risks posed by pests are identified and assessed on an on-going basis. To the right of the word Plan there is a box with the following text inside: A written plan forms the basis of the biosecurity training program, allows for regular review, updates and provides a framework for continuous improvement. Below the word Implement is a text box with the following text inside: Put the plan into action. To the left of the word Monitor is a text box with the following text: A monitoring program and information gathering framework that provides information to adjust the biosecurity plan is developed and implemented.

Assess: Identify and assess the risks of pest introduction and analyze the pathways of pest transmission. This will allow for current biosecurity gaps within a place of production to be addressed. Production practices should be reviewed frequently (re-assess) to ensure that implemented measures are effective in relation to pest prevention and control.

Plan: A written biosecurity plan is highly recommended. A written plan allows for regular review and updates, facilitates continuous improvement within the place of production, and forms the basis for training.

Implement: Put the plan into action. Education, training and communication are key to implementing a biosecurity plan.

Monitor: A monitoring program is developed and implemented for the early detection, identification and ongoing monitoring of pests. It is important that the design, effectiveness and implementation of a biosecurity plan be assessed not only on a routine basis but also when changes in production practices or biosecurity risks occur.

2.0 Plant Health Management

The implementation of a biosecurity plan can work together with best management practices to promote plant health. Plant heath can be affected by pests as well as environmental or nutritional issues. Symptoms of these issues can appear similar to symptoms of pests. It is important to identify the cause of less than optimal plant health to apply biosecurity measures and best management practices. For example, identifying the cause of a symptom as a pest, environmental or nutritional issues will allow mitigation by best management practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), reduced humidity or fertilization. It is equally important to identify the pest and understand the critical points in the pest pathway of transmission where biosecurity measures may be applied to mitigate introduction or spread.

2.1 Management Practices

Target outcome:

The combination of best management practices and the implementation of biosecurity measures optimize the production of healthy plants.

Benefits: Best management practices that optimize production may also create an optimal environment for pests. Complementing best management practices with biosecurity measures can help manage the risk of pest introduction and spread.

Risks

External environment

Weeds and volunteer plants can be a source of pests and should be controlled both in and around the place of production. A well-maintained weed-free zone around the place of production may help prevent pests from entering.

In addition to weeds, organic debris such as rotten vegetables can also be pest vectors. Organic debris should not accumulate in a place of production but be disposed of promptly in a designated location away from the place of production in a manner that minimizes potential pest spread. If necessary, biosecurity measures such as deep burial may be implemented to mitigate the re-infestation of other crops.

Internal environment

Maintaining a clean place of production may minimize the introduction and spread of pests. This includes cleaning the packing house in addition to the production area.

Baskets containing banker or indicator plants may be used in a place of production as part of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. However, as in the case of weeds, ornamental and decorative plants can also be a source of pests.

Growing conditions should be managed to support crop growth while minimizing the crop's susceptibility to pest attack. Growing conditions such as high humidity can promote the establishment of some pests such as fungus or mould. In situations where growing conditions may create risks, management practices such as increased airflow or increased plant spacing may be considered to minimize potential outbreaks. In addition, consulting with a specialist may provide further recommendations regarding the appropriate measures to be applied.

All good things come to an end.

Crop removal can present a risk of pest spread within a place of production. Depending on the production schedule, crops can be replaced at the end of their production season, or in some cases pests may require the crop to be terminated early. The removal process can happen in different ways, as there can be three cropping methods in practice in a place of production:

  1. Mono-cropping: The entire crop is removed prior to planting the new crop.
  2. Continual cropping: Sections of the production area are removed and replaced while other crops are still in production.
  3. Intercropping: The replacement crop is grown in the same place and phases out the old crop. Managing the risks of pest spread during crop removal is more critical in this method of production.

Measures should be taken to avoid or minimize the spread of pests to the new crop or other crops during the pulling-out process. The mono-cropping method removes the entire crop prior to planting the new crop. This is the easiest method to reduce pest spread to the new crop. With continual cropping and intercropping, there is no break in the pest cycle if a pest is present. There is also an increased risk of pest spread to other crops being grown in the place of production. For all three cropping methods, biosecurity measures should be considered throughout the cropping cycle and while removing infested material to mitigate pest spread.

After the old or infested crop is removed, the place of production should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to ensure no organic debris remains. Attention should be given to difficult-to-reach areas, such as corners, structural components, crop wires, irrigation tubing or roof trusses.

Nutrients, growing media and water management

Water can be a pest vector. When water is sourced from re-circulation water, ponds, streams or other surface water sources it should be disinfected as required. Water disinfection equipment includes heat, ultra-violet (UV) radiation, ozone, and filtration. Growing media and nutrients from organic sources may contain pests and should be purchased from a reputable supplier.

Imported product, plant material and seed selection

Imported and domestically sourced product for packing and repacking, seeds and plant materials are important pathways through which pests are introduced to a place of production. Pests can be found on the surfaces and/or inside of the product, seeds and plant materials. These inputs should be purchased from a source that has biosecurity measures in place to prevent the introduction and spread of pests. As well, these and all inputs should be inspected before they are accepted into the place of production.

Crop protection products and approaches for commonly occurring pests

Pests can be introduced into the place of production by a variety of vectors. Insects can be a vector for viruses, bacteria, fungal spores, and mites. For example, shore flies and fungus gnats can vector spores of the fungi Fusarium and Pythium, and cucumber beetles can vector cucumber wilt bacteria. Controlling insect populations may limit the spread and damage from insect-vectored pests.

Pest thresholdsFootnote 1 for non-regulated pests may be established to trigger the use of a treatment. It should be recognized that what constitutes a threshold is complex, as there are different thresholds for different crops and pests. Within the decision of thresholds for treatment there is a difference between suppression, eradication and management.

Management Practices Self-Assessment Checklist

External Environment
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Weeds and volunteer plants are controlled in and around the place of production.
A weed-free zone is maintained around the place of production.
Organic debris does not accumulate and is promptly disposed.
Internal Environment
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
The place of production is kept hygienic through regular cleaning of the header house, washroom, lunchroom, walkways and inside crop rows.
All equipment, carts, bins and tools are regularly cleaned and disinfected.
Recommended and appropriate products are used to clean and disinfect the place of production.
During the period of operation, the packing house and loading dock are cleaned and sanitized at least daily, being sure to clean underneath the dock plates.
Growing conditions are managed to support crop growth while minimizing susceptibility to pests.
Biosecurity measures are taken to avoid or minimize pest spread to new crops or to other crops during the pulling-out process.
Nutrients, growing media and water management
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Water sourced from re-circulation water, ponds, streams or other surface water sources is disinfected as required.
The water disinfection equipment that is used to disinfect irrigation water is properly maintained.
Water accumulation in and around the place of production is minimized.
Growing media and nutrients from organic sources are purchased from reputable suppliers.
Imported product, plant material and seed selection
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Imported and domestic product, plant material and seeds received by the place of production are inspected for pests.
Seed is purchased from a source with biosecurity measures in place.
Crop protection products and approaches for commonly occurring pests
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Pest thresholds are used to trigger control actions.
Pest vectors are recognized and managed, eradicated or controlled.
A photo inside a greenhouse showing 5 long rows of long English cucumber plants.
Photo: Courtesy of Glen Sweetman, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

2.2 Pest Vectors

Target outcome:

Implementation of biosecurity measures at critical points in pathways of pest transmission.

Benefits: Managing vectors and interrupting the pathways of pest transmission can reduce crop damage and minimize economic losses. The implementation of proactive biosecurity measures can mitigate the potential for introduction and spread of pests if applied to a critical point in a pathway of transmission. Examples of pathways of pest transmission include insects, people and wind.

Risks

Pests can often be spread or introduced into a place of production by more than one vector. For example, whiteflies can disperse through flight, but can travel much greater distances when carried by wind; mobile fungal spores can move much farther when carried by irrigation water.

Another example is thrips, which can be introduced into a place of production through vents and doors by wind. Once they have been introduced into a place of production, thrips can spread viruses throughout the production area and can be spread from one production area to another by growing media, equipment and employees. Biosecurity measures such as an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that includes mitigation measures for insects can help to prevent the spread of pests in the place of production.

There is a risk of pest introduction and spread from all inputs that enter the various areas in the place of production, especially those from external sources. For example, inputs such as product for packing and re-packing can present a risk of pest introduction into the packing house. Inputs such as transplants, growing media and seeds present a pest risk to production areas. To mitigate these risks, inputs should be inspected upon entry into the place of production and prior to use. To help with these inspections employees should be given pest identification training. In addition, pictures of pests can be posted in the areas of the place of production where inputs are received and inspected to help with the identification of pests. Please refer to section 3.4 Production Inputs for further information regarding the risks of inputs.

Production Area

Seeds can be hosts of pests such as viruses and bacterial cankers. This is especially true for tomato seed. As these pests will not be visible during an inspection, seeds should be purchased from a supplier that can provide a certificate to state the seeds are pest free. Once the seeds are received by the place of production, a percentage of the seeds may be tested to verify freedom from pests.

Growing media may contain pests and should be purchased from a reputable supplier. Growing media should be inspected upon arrival for pests and if a pest is present, treatment may be necessary prior to use. Treatment options include heat pasteurization, solarization or fumigation.

When purchasing transplants, it may be possible in some regions to inspect the material for pests at the propagator's place of production. In other regions transplants should be inspected upon entry into the receiving area of the place of production.

Packing House

Packing and re-packing product from foreign or domestic sources should be thoroughly inspected for pests once it arrives at the packing house and during repacking.

Production Area and Packing House

People, vehicles and equipment can also be a pest vector. Footbaths, disposable coveralls and footwear can be used to mitigate the introduction and spread of pests by people. Cleaning and removing organic debris can help mitigate pest introduction and spread by vehicles and equipment. Please refer to section 3.3 Movement of People, Vehicles and Equipment for further information regarding biosecurity measures that may be applied to mitigate pest introduction and spread by people.

Pest Vectors Self-Assessment Checklist
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
The pathways of pest transmission in the place of production have been analyzed and critical points have been identified.
The IPM program includes mitigation measures for the identified critical points in the pathways of transmission.
Inputs are received, inspected and stored in a designated area located away from the production area and packing house.
Employees have been given pest identification training.
Pictures of pests are posted in the packing house and the areas where inputs are received and inspected.
Footbaths are used in the production area and packing house.
Production Area
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Fall clean-up and crop rotation are used to disrupt the pest life cycle.
Water is monitored and tested for pathogens.
Seeds are purchased from a supplier that can provide a certificate to state the seeds are free from pests.
A percentage of purchased seeds are tested to verify they are pest-free.
Growing media is purchased from a reputable supplier.
Transplants are inspected prior to entry into the place of production.
Packing House
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Imported and domestic product for packing and repacking are inspected for pests upon arrival in the packing house.
Coveralls and hair nets are worn in the packing house.

2.3 Pest Monitoring

Target outcome:

Minimize production losses through the early detection of pests.

Benefits: The development and implementation of monitoring and scouting programs allows for the detection of new and common pests. A monitoring program includes the inspection of material such as new plants when they arrive at the place of production and a scouting program includes the inspection of plants in production for pests. A scouting program will help determine when pests are about to reach a threshold. A routine scouting program will also allow for the effectiveness of control measures, production practices and treatments to be assessed.

Risks

Production Area

A scouting program may use a scout or crop consultant to regularly inspect the crop for pests and determine whether pest thresholds have been reached. Records of the results should be kept, detailing the location, the origin of the plants and the severity of each pest found.

A scouting program may also highlight specific times in the production cycle or periods where control options are more likely to be successful or cost-effective. For example, scouting may be increased during times of harvest on neighbouring farms as this may increase the potential for the introduction of thrips into the production area. Another example is in the fall when the population of winged female aphids increases on outdoor crops. This may increase the risk of aphids entering into a production area through vents or doors and increase the potential for these aphids to introduce viruses such as Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV).

Devices such as sticky cards or pheromone traps may also be distributed through the crop to detect insects. Additionally, ultra-violet (UV) lights can be used to attract a wide range of insects, particularly during cooler months.

Packing House

Monitoring devices such as sticky cards can be used to detect pests in the packing house. These devices can be placed near the packing machine and in areas where imported and domestically sourced product is stored. Devices should also be installed around loading docks and doors where product is brought inside the packing house.

Production Area and Packing House

Employees working in both the production area and packing house should be trained in the identification of the most common pests. Pest fact sheets and posters of pests in the break area and lunchroom can help educate employees to identify pests. Appendix 1 is an example of a pest fact sheet. Contact consultants, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) specialists, sector associations or provincial extension specialists to obtain pest identification posters.

In addition, employees should also be trained on how to report a new pest identified in the place of production.

Pest Monitoring Self-Assessment Checklist

Production Area
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
A scouting program is implemented in the production area(s).
Records of the scouting results are kept.
The scouting program is adjusted accordingly during highly susceptible time periods within the production cycle of crops.
Packing House
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
A monitoring program is used to inspect inputs.
Records of the monitoring results are kept.
Production Area and Packing House
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Devices such as yellow sticky cards have been installed in the production area(s) and packing house.
Devices are inspected by trained personnel.
Employees are trained in pest identification.
Pest fact sheets and posters of pests are placed in the packing house and in common areas such as the break room and lunch room to help employees identify pests.
Employees have been given training regarding the process to report a pest detection.
Information regarding new pest issues in the place of production is shared with employees.

2.4 Responding to a Pest

Target outcome:

An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is developed to respond to common pests. Formal response plans are created for pests of greater concern.

Benefits: When a pest is detected, there is a decision-making process to determine if a pest is past the threshold, if a response is required, the timing of the response and the identification of the most appropriate control actions. Depending on the pest that is detected and its threshold level, control actions may not always be required as not all pests carry the same risk. Pests regulated by Canada have a zero-tolerance threshold and a requirement to report the pest detection. Even pests that are not regulated may have a zero-tolerance or a low threshold if they are of significant economic concern to producers. For example, a producer may have a zero-tolerance threshold for a pest that is regulated by a country with an important export market. Creating an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program and response plans involves analyzing the pest risk to determine the level of response required, and at what threshold a response is required. Preparing detailed response plans or procedures prior to the identification of a pest may allow an effective and timely response which may reduce production losses.

Risks

Regulated Pests

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) maintains the list of pests regulated in Canada, which includes insects, mites, molluscs, nematodes, fungi, bacteria, viruses, phytoplasma and some parasitic plants. When a regulated pestFootnote 2 is identified, the CFIA and the respective provincial or territorial government must be contacted to report the detection.

A response plan for a regulated pest should include the contact information of the local CFIA office, provincial extension specialists and sector association(s). The response plan should include biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of pests from the infested area by restricting the movement of plant material, people and equipment in and out of the area. Please refer to section 3.2 Biosecurity Zones for biosecurity measures to mitigate the spread of pests from Restricted Access Zones (RAZ).

Non-regulated Pests

The IPM program for a place of production should include a response plan for the detection of a pest. A response plan may include the following steps:

  • Confirming pest identification.
  • Determining pest risk.
  • Determining the pest threshold and whether it has been exceeded.
  • Applying control measures, if required.
  • Restricting movement of plant material, crops, people and equipment into and out of the infested area.
  • Cleaning of footwear, hands and equipment leaving the infested area.
  • Evaluating the control measures and response plan.

Pest thresholdsFootnote 3 for non-regulated pests may be established to trigger the use of a treatment. It should be recognized that what constitutes a threshold is complex, as there are different thresholds for different crops and pests. Within the decision of thresholds for treatment there is a difference between suppression, eradication, and management.

The response plan should also include biosecurity measures to prevent the re-infestation of crops by infested material. To limit pest spread, infested material should not be mixed or come into contact with other crops, and should be securely disposed of away from the place of production or buried. Please refer to section 2.1 Management Practices: Internal Environment and section 3.5 Production Outputs for biosecurity measures related to disposal.

Keep records of the location, date and crop type of the infested material and the control measures that were applied. This information may be useful to assess the success of the response strategy and for continuous improvement to the response plan.

Regulated and Non-regulated Pests

For both regulated and non-regulated pests the effectiveness of the response plan should be evaluated periodically to foster continuous improvement and efficiencies.

Pest Response Self-Assessement Checklist

Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
When an unknown pest is detected, a sample is sent to a laboratory, extension specialist, consultant, researcher or the CFIA for accurate identification of the pest.
Awareness of regulated and non-regulated pests of concern to the place of production.
Regulated Pests
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
The CFIA is contacted when a regulated pest is detected at the place of production.
The movement of plant material, crops, people and equipment is restricted in and out of an infested area.
Non-regulated Pests
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
The IPM program includes a response plan for non-regulated pests.
The movement of people and equipment is restricted into and out of the infested area.
Employees leaving the infested area disinfect their hands and footwear to prevent pest spread.
Employees follow the work flow protocols to prevent pest spread from an infested to a non-infested area.
As necessary, tools, equipment and crates leaving an infested area are disinfected.
Knowledge of the pest pathways of transmission is used to determine the required biosecurity measures when disposing of infested material to mitigate pest spread.
The area is frequently checked for pest spread.
Records of the pest infestation including the location, the date, the crop type and the control measures applied are kept.
Records are used to evaluate and improve the pest response plan.

3.0 Place of Production Operational Management

Operational management of a place of production is fundamental to the development and implementation of a biosecurity plan. Assessing the risks associated with the activities that take place at the place of production is necessary. Potential biosecurity risks can be associated with the location of the place of production; the movement of people, vehicles and equipment; as well as production inputs and outputs.

3.1 Location and Layout

Target outcome:

Knowledge of the location and layout is used to evaluate new sites and to protect existing or neighbouring sites.

Benefits: The natural environment surrounding a new or established place of production is important for identifying potential pests in the area and their source. Natural dispersal plays an important role in the introduction and spread of pests into a place of production and from one place of production to another. In addition, thoughtfully designed places of production can be the first line of defense in biosecurity and can reduce the risk of pest introduction. When designing a place of production, the flow of plant material and crops from the time of receiving to the time of shipping should be considered. Understanding and integrating the knowledge of the location and layout of a place of production is important in developing, implementing and modifying a biosecurity plan.

It is recognized that some of the biosecurity measures outlined in this section may only be applicable when building a new place of production. However, there are biosecurity measures that can be implemented in established places of production to mitigate pest introduction and spread. For example, if shipping and receiving are conducted in the same area, separation in timing can be used to minimize the risk of pest spread from potentially infested inputs to the final product.

Risks

Geography and environmental factors

It is important to consider all factors and weigh the benefits of biosecurity measures against the potential pest risk to make risk management decisions regarding the site selection and the layout of a place of production. For example, it is important to consider neighbouring activities such as the type of crop in production, the timing of harvest, the composting practices, the importation of product or non-agricultural activities when building a new place of production. Depending on the direction of the prevailing winds, fungal spores or insects can be introduced into a place of production from these neighbouring activities. However, after assessing the risk presented by these activities, it may be of greater benefit to position a place of production to face the prevailing winds for venting purposes due to hot temperatures in the summertime.

The topography of the area surrounding a place of production should also be taken into consideration to reduce the amount of standing water in the production areas. Drainage patterns and surface water movement can affect the potential for pest introduction and distribution by creating standing water in production areas.

Layout

When designing the layout of a place of production, the flow of plant material and crops should be examined to determine critical points in the pest pathways of transmission. Applying biosecurity measures at the critical points in transmission may mitigate the risk of pest introduction and spread within the place of production. For example, the receiving area where the inspection of inputs such as seeds and transplants takes place should be located away from the production area. In addition, the place of production should be designed so that the receiving area can be cleaned if a pest is detected.

A biosecurity plan should include a map of the place of production. A map can be useful to visualize and examine potential pathways of transmission and may also be used as a tool to train employees and direct visitors. When creating a map of the place of production, it is useful to include the location of specific areas such as the entrance, boiler room, lunch room, shipping area, raw product and finished product. This map should also indicate the location of biosecurity zones and the flow of plant material and crops within the place of production. Maps previously created for Environmental Farm Plans and Food Safety Plans may be useful for this purpose.

Figure 3 provides an example of a map of a place of production that includes the flow of plant material and crops.

Figure 3: Example Map of Place of Production

Figure 3: Example Map of Place of Production. Description follows.
Description for photo - Figure 3: Example Map of Place of Production

Figure 3 is an example of a map for a place of production. The figure includes four water tanks, a pump house, four greenhouses, four storage areas, four breakrooms each with a washroom, two tote washing areas, a receiving area that includes a quarantine area, a boiler room, a receiving office, a chemical storage, an area for the grading area, a cooler for market ready product, a shipping area, a shipping office and a packing house. There are arrows from each greenhouse through to the grading lines to indicate the traffic flow. There are also arrows indicating the flow of raw product from the grading lines to the cooler for market ready product. Arrows indicate that the finished product flows from the cooler for market ready product to the shipping area.

Location and Layout Self-Assessment Checklist

Geography and Environmental Factors
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
The surrounding environment and neighbouring activities are considered when making decisions regarding the location and layout of the place of production.
Risk based decisions are made when choosing a site and designing the layout of a new place of production.
Topography is considered to reduce the amount of standing water within the production areas.
Layout
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
The flow of plant material and crops from the time of receiving to the time of shipping is considered to design the layout of the place of production.
The pathways of pest transmission are considered to design the layout of the place of production.
The place of production is designed to separate the location of the propagation, production and processing or packaging areas.
The biosecurity plan is designed to locate areas for composting or disposal of organic debris away from the place of production.
Washing facilities for cleaning and disinfecting equipment and vehicles are located in an area that prevents pest introduction and spread.
The place of production is built so it can be easily cleaned and disinfected.
There is a map of the place of production that includes specific areas such as the entrance, shipping areas and production areas.
The map of the place of production indicates the location of the biosecurity zones.
The map of the place of production includes the location of devices such as yellow sticky traps.
The map of the place of production indicates the flow of plant material and crops.

3.2 Biosecurity Zones

Target outcome:

Controlled Access Zones (CAZs) and Restricted Access Zones (RAZs) are established and communication protocols which explain the importance of these areas within the place of production are implemented.

Benefits: Specific areas of similar levels of risk are identified and demarcated, providing an indication of where in the place of production and in the continuum of production biosecurity intervention is warranted. Biosecurity zones are classified based on the use of an area, risk of pest spread, access to the area and biosecurity measures required to prevent the introduction and spread of pests in a place of production. Restricted Access Zones may be used to identify areas where high risk activities take place, such as where there is a high risk associated with the spread of a pest into and/or out of an area. High risk activities that may require a Restricted Access Zone include: an infested area within the production area, the propagation area or an area to protect plant material such as transplants.

Controlled Access Zones may be used in areas of the place of production where low risk activities take place and may not require the level of biosecurity measures that are implemented for Restricted Access Zones. Examples of low risk activities that may require a Controlled Access Zone include: storage and product handling areas.

Risks

The level of biosecurity measures applied to a Restricted Access Zone or a Controlled Access Zone will be consistent with the risk of pest introduction or spread associated with each zone. Biosecurity risks and mitigation measures that may be implemented to prevent pest spread into and out of these zones include the following:

Access to the Biosecurity Zone

Control the entry and exit into and between the biosecurity zones by designating access points. Various tools can be used to restrict or control access to these zones, such as signs and automated or locked doors. Signs may be posted around the biosecurity zone to advise employees and visitors of the high risk and restricted access. Please refer to Appendix 2 for examples of signs that can be posted for biosecurity zones and at the main entrance of the place of production.

Traffic Flow Through the Place of Production

Pests can be spread by the movement of inputs, people, vehicles, equipment and outputs through the place of production. Based on the location of the biosecurity zones, specific routes should be used to mitigate the risk of pest spread from infested to non-infested areas.

Footwear, Clothing and Equipment

Equipment that is moved between different biosecurity areas should be cleaned and disinfected when it is necessary. In addition, footbaths, hand washing stations, disposable coveralls and footwear covers should be placed at the entrances of the Restricted Access Zones. See section 3.3 Movement of People, Vehicles and Equipment for information on the movement of people, vehicles and equipment.

Biosecurity Zones Self-Assessment Checklist

Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
The activities that take place at the place of production have been assessed to identify biosecurity zones.
The biosecurity plan includes information regarding the biosecurity zones and related biosecurity measures.
The training program includes information regarding biosecurity zones and the related biosecurity measures such as traffic flow in the place of production.
Access to the Biosecurity Zone
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Signs are posted around the biosecurity zones to advise people of the risks and restricted access.
Access to biosecurity zones is controlled using tools such as signs and locked or automatic doors.
Traffic Flow Through the Place of Production
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
The flow of inputs, people, vehicles, equipment and outputs is designed based on the location of the biosecurity zones.
Footwear, Clothing and Equipment
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Footbaths, hand washing stations, disposable coveralls and footwear covers have been placed at the entrance of biosecurity zones.

3.3 Movement of People, Vehicles and Equipment

Target outcome:

The movement of people, vehicles and equipment do not introduce or spread pests within a place of production.

Movement of people

Benefits: Managing the biosecurity risks associated with the movement of people into a place of production and between biosecurity zones can mitigate the risk of pests that can be carried on footwear, clothing and hair.

Risks

Human mediated dispersal is an important means of pest spread and the movement of employees and visitors in a place of production can be a source of pests. Often human mediated dispersal can move pests at a faster rate and reach a greater distance than natural dispersal. Some examples of human mediated dispersal include clothes, shoes, cameras, pens, note pads, amplifying lens and skin. Biosecurity measures such as hand wash and footbath stations at all entrances and exits of the production areas may help mitigate pest introduction and spread by people.

Visitors

Prior to entering, visitors should report to the main office of the place of production where they are required to fill out a sign-in sheet. The sign-in sheet should include information such as name, date, the areas visited and recent contact with plant material or product. For an example of a sign-in sheet please refer to Appendix 3. This information may be useful when responding to a pest detection.

Assess the risk of the visitor entering the place of production and provide them with disposable footwear covers, coveralls and gloves when necessary.

Employees

Wearing clean clothes and/or providing coveralls or clean uniforms to employees on a daily basis can reduce the spread of pests within the place of production. Employees should also be given training on the work flow of the place of production to prevent pest spread into and out of biosecurity zones.

As vegetables brought by employees for lunch can be a potential source of pests, the lunchroom may be isolated from the rest of the production area and packing house. Leftovers and waste should be properly disposed of.

Movement of vehicles and equipment

Benefits: Vehicles and equipment may harbor pests. Movement of vehicles and equipment is particularly important when brought into the place of production and when moved between biosecurity zones. Managing the movement of vehicles and equipment by designating routes, assessing risk, as well as implementing cleaning and disinfecting when necessary, can help to mitigate the risk of pest introduction and spread.

Risks

Pests can be spread by different types of vehicles and equipment, such as:

  • Shipping containers
  • Forklifts
  • Trucks that are used to transport final product
  • Sprayers
  • Carts
  • Harvesting scissors and knives
  • Pallets

Protocols and policies can be included in the biosecurity plan to indicate when vehicles and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected. Appendix 4 provides an example of a policy for cleaning vehicle tires.

Trucks are used to ship all kinds of goods and to different places of productions. The following biosecurity measures may mitigate pest spread by trucks:

  • Clean and disinfect trucks after every shipment of product.
  • Request that carriers provide their sanitation procedure or a letter of guarantee stating there are procedures in place to clean trucks between loads.
  • Prior to re-entry into the place of production, disinfect the forklift that is used to load and unload the truck if the truck has been moved between different places of production.

Appendix 5 provides an example of a checklist format that can be used to help ensure the implementation of biosecurity measures when using trucks to ship final product.

Movement of People, Vehicles and Equipment Self-Assessment Checklist

Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Employees and visitors park in designated areas.
Footbaths and hand wash stations have been placed at the entrance to the production area(s).
Movement of people – Visitors
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Visitors report to the main office prior to entering the place of production.
Visitors fill out a sign-in sheet prior to entering the place of production.
The risk of visitors entering place of production is assessed to determine the necessary biosecurity measures.
Disposable foot wear covers, clean coveralls and gloves are provided to visitors when necessary.
Visitors are briefed on the biosecurity protocols that need to be followed.
There is a policy to ensure visitors follow the biosecurity protocols.
Visitors are accompanied by a designated employee when moving within the place of production.
Visitors only access areas that are necessary for their activities.
Movement of people – Employees
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Employees have been trained on the biosecurity protocols for the place of production.
Movement of employees through the place of production is minimized.
Employees have been trained to know the work flow through the place of production.
Employees wash their hands after handling imported or domestic product, as well as after breaks and meals.
There are designated areas for employees to have lunch and store their personal items.
The lunchroom is isolated from the production area(s) and packing house.
Leftovers and waste from employee lunches are disposed of properly.
Movement of vehicles and equipment
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
The biosecurity plan includes protocols to indicate when vehicles and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected.
A cleaning schedule is followed by employees.
The pallet supplier is informed of the biosecurity requirements.
The shipping container supplier is informed of the biosecurity requirements.
Re-used containers are cleaned and disinfected between uses.
Cardboard cartons are recycled and are not re-used.
Packing is secured during storage to prevent pest introduction.
Pruning tools are disinfected prior to use and between crops or different production areas, especially if a pest is present.
Equipment is cleaned and disinfected after use in a biosecurity zone.
Organic debris is removed from the wheels of equipment that is moved between production areas.
Activities are strategically sequenced to minimize the cleaning and disinfecting of equipment.
Equipment from other places of production is cleaned before being brought into the place of production.
Trucks that are used to transport product are cleaned after every shipment of product.
A copy of the sanitation procedures or a letter of guarantee that sanitation procedures are in place to sanitize trucks between loads is requested from carrier.
The forklift used to load and unload trucks that have been to multiple places of production is cleaned.

3.4 Production Inputs

Target outcome:

Production inputs are not a potential source of pests.

Benefits: Receiving inputs such as transplants, growing media, water, seeds or product from external sources has the potential to introduce pests to the place of production. Pest introduction may be mitigated by assessing the risks associated with inputs sourced from suppliers and inspecting inputs upon arrival.

Risks

There is a risk of pest introduction and spread from all inputs, especially those from external sources. For example, packing and repacking of imported and domestically sourced product presents a risk of pest introduction into the packing house. Purchasing inputs from a supplier with a biosecurity program in place should be considered to help mitigate pest risks. Inputs should also be inspected prior to their acceptance into the place of production.

Records of purchased inputs should be maintained and can include the source, number or quantity of the product purchased, and where it is planted or located in the place of production. These records can be used if a pest is detected.

Water can be a pest vector. When sourced from re-circulation water, ponds, streams or other surface water sources it should be disinfected as required. Water disinfection equipment includes heat, UV radiation, ozone, and filtration.

For more information regarding biosecurity measures that can mitigate the pathways of transmission presented by inputs, please refer to section 2.2 Pest Vectors.

All inputs should be inspected upon arrival.

Production Inputs Self-Assessment Checklist

Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Input suppliers are contacted to request information regarding their biosecurity program.
Purchasing records of inputs are maintained.
Inputs are inspected for pests before entering the place of production.
If a pest is found when inputs are inspected, the product is returned to the supplier, cleaned and disinfected or disposed of, if required.
Inputs from unknown sources may be considered high risk and are segregated from the final product or propagative material to be monitored for pests.
The source of water is known and is regularly tested.
Recycled water is treated prior to use.
Containers that are re-used in the place of production are cleaned between uses.

3.5 Production Outputs

Target Outcome:

Finished product leaving the place of production is free of pests of concern.

Production wastes are managed, treated and disposed of to reduce the risk of spreading pests.

Benefits: Managing outputs, final product and waste mitigates the potential risk of pest introduction and spread within a place of production, to neighbouring places of production or to areas where the product may be received (from domestic to international destinations).

Risks

Packing House

Final product produced in the place of production is inspected for pests as it moves through the packing line. However, packing and repacking imported and domestic product presents a risk of pest introduction to the packing house. To mitigate this risk, product should be purchased from a supplier with a biosecurity program in place and inspected prior to its acceptance into the place of production. In addition, employees working in the packing house should be given training on identifying pests. Posters may be hung in the packing house to help employees identify pests.

To prevent the spread of pests to other places of production by the final product, the truck used for shipping should be inspected for pests and organic debris prior to loading the final product. In addition, employees should ensure pallets are free from damage and other signs of pests.

Infested or unsaleable product from foreign and domestic sources should be covered and disposed of promptly to avoid pest spread.

Production Area

Effective plant health management as outlined in section 2.1 Management Practices is essential to producing a high quality finished product that is free of pests of concern. In addition, a traceability system should be in place such as labelling final product to assess with traceback if pests are detected once the product has left the place of production.

Production waste such as prunings, infested material, old material and weeds present a risk of pest spread within a production area and should be disposed of properly.

Packing House and Production Area

For both the production area and packing house, there should be a one-way- flow of material to prevent pest introduction or spread to other areas of the place of production. Knowledge of the pathway of pest transmission should be used to ensure appropriate biosecurity measures are taken to dispose of material to prevent pest spread. For example, plant material infected by bacterial canker should be placed in sealed bags to be transported to the disposal site. The material should not be transported throughout the place of production in a manner that could spread the canker to other areas. If production waste is not from infested material, the cuttings may be placed in walk ways to promote the transfer of biological controls.

Disposal sites should be located away from the place of production to prevent re-infestation. The pest pathway of transmission should be evaluated to prevent the release of pests during disposal, as infested plant material presents a high risk of re-infesting the same crop or infesting other crops. For example, if the pest is spread by wind, the infested material should be disposed of by deep burial, transportation to a municipal disposal facility or other methods that minimize the risk of pest spread and introduction. Producers should also be aware of any provincial waste management regulations that may apply.

Bins that have been used in the disposal process of infested material or unsaleable product that will be re-used within the place of production should be cleaned and disinfected promptly after use. An appropriate disinfectant for the pest should be used.

Production Output Self-Assessment Checklist

Packing House
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Final product is inspected for pests while moving through the packing line.
Imported and domestic product is sourced from a supplier with a biosecurity program in place.
Imported and domestic product is inspected prior to acceptance into the place of production.
Employees working in the packing house are given training to identify pests.
Pictures of pests are posted in the packing house to help employees identify pests.
Trucks used for shipping are inspected for pests and organic debris prior to loading final product.
Pallets are inspected for damage and pests prior to loading final product.
Infested or unsaleable product is covered and promptly disposed of.
Production Area
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
A traceability system is in place that facilitates trace forward and backward for final product.
Organic debris is disposed of properly to prevent the spread of pests.
Packing House and Production Area
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
There is a one-way flow of material through the production area and packing house to prevent the spread of pests.
Knowledge of pest pathways of transmission is used to dispose of organic debris in a manner that prevents pest spread.
Disposal sites are located away from the place of production to prevent pest re-infestation.
Dumpster lids are kept closed.
Bins that have been used to dispose of infested material or unsaleable product that will be re-used within the place of production are cleaned and disinfected promptly after use.
Awareness of any provincial waste management regulations.

3.6 Maintenance of Facilities and Property

Target Outcome:

Introduction and spread of pests is limited by keeping buildings and equipment in good repair.

Benefits: Keeping buildings and equipment in good repair, in addition to cleaning and disinfecting will help limit the opportunity for the introduction and spread of pests.

Risks

The largest risk of not maintaining a place of production is pest introduction. Although greenhouses are not a sealed area, as there are vents through which beneficial insects can move in and out, there are biosecurity measures that can be implemented to minimize pest risk. A routine facility and property maintenance program that includes activities such as ensuring that holes are fixed and that doors and windows close properly will help mitigate the introduction of pests such as rodents.

A maintenance program should also include maintenance of equipment such as pruning knives. If pruning knives are dull, plants may become more susceptible to pests when pruned.

Activities to maintain the exterior of the place of production should also be included in the maintenance program. This may include a weed-free buffer around the place of production to mitigate the risk of pest introduction.

To ensure that maintenance activities are routinely completed, a record of the activities may be kept. A checklist of the activities may be used to record the timing and completion of activities.

Maintenance of Facilities and Property Self-Assessment Checklist

Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
A maintenance program has been developed and implemented.
The maintenance program includes activities to maintain the interior of the place of production, such as cleaning the floors to prevent spread of pests through organic debris.
The maintenance program includes activities to maintain the exterior of the place of production, such as a weed-free buffer.
Equipment maintenance is included in the maintenance program.
Records of the completion of the maintenance activities are kept.

4.0 Education, Training and Communication

Target Outcome:

People entering or working within a place of production respect the biosecurity measures in place.

Benefits: A well developed, communicated and implemented training program will provide employees with an understanding of the importance of proactive biosecurity. Communicating the necessary biosecurity measures to visitors entering the place of production will allow them to complete their work while minimizing the risk of pest spread.

Risks

Employees

All employees, regardless of whether they are working in the packing house or the production area, are part of the team and should be provided with the basic knowledge of biosecurity. It is also important to train all employees, as pests may spread from the production area to the packing house or the reverse. All employees should be provided with a general knowledge of pests so they can identify pests and know the protocol to report a pest detection. Periodic training should be given to employees to provide updated information regarding emerging pests and any changes to the biosecurity plan.

It is also important for all employees to have a general understanding of the pathways of pest transmission. This will help employees implement the necessary biosecurity measures to mitigate the risks of pest introduction and spread throughout their day-to-day activities. It may also be important for employees to know the pathways of transmission so they can implement biosecurity measures between their place of residence and the place of production. For example, if an employee shares living space with an employee from another greenhouse, nursery or floriculture place of production biosecurity measures may be required.

Specific employees of the place of production may be given training to manage pests detected in the place of production. This may include working with the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) specialist, confirming the identification of a pest, deciding on and implementing the treatment of the pest.

Visitors

Prior to their entry into the place of production visitors should be given a briefing to communicate the necessary biosecurity measures that are required for the completion of their work.

Employees and Visitors

Signs are also a useful tool to help communicate biosecurity measures to both visitors and employees. Signs and any educational material should be written in plain language and translated, when necessary, to the appropriate language(s) for employees.

Make biosecurity a part of your business culture.

Education, Training and Communication Self-Assessment Checklist

Employees
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Employees are included in the process to design the biosecurity plan, as this may result in them taking more "ownership" of the plan, which may help with implementation.
Biosecurity protocols are included in the training program.
All employees are trained at the start of their employment and/or the start of the season.
All employees are provided with a general knowledge of pest identification and the protocol to report a pest detection.
All employees have a general understanding of the pest pathways of transmission.
Specific employees are given training to manage pests detected in the place of production.
Periodic training and awareness updates are given to employees to provide information such as emerging pests.
The biosecurity plan and training program are monitored, reviewed and updated as new information becomes available.
Education and communication materials are provided in the appropriate language for employees.
All employees who attend the training sign a sheet to indicate they were present.
Pest identification posters are placed in common areas such as the lunchroom and the packing house.
Employees are given education and training on the protocols for movement of equipment, people and vehicles through the place of production.
Periodic meetings are held with employees to review hand wash, footbath and wearing clean clothes protocols.
Visitors
Biosecurity Measure Yes Sometimes No Not Applicable
Visitors are briefed on biosecurity protocols that are necessary for them to complete their work.
Signs and visual aids are used to communicate biosecurity protocols within the place of production.
Plain language is used in education and communication materials and on signs.
Visitors respect the biosecurity measures for the areas of the place of production they visit by using templates or checklists to verify whether biosecurity measures have been completed.

5.0 Conclusion

The Greenhouse Vegetable Sector Biosecurity Guide in combination with the National Voluntary Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard for the Greenhouse, Nursery and Floriculture Sectors provides producers with a nationally consistent approach to develop and implement a biosecurity plan. The Greenhouse Vegetable Sector Biosecurity Guide Self-Assessment Checklist and Action Work Plan has been provided to help producers determine additional biosecurity measures that can be applied to a place of production. A nationally consistent approach to the application of biosecurity measures can help mitigate the risk of pest introduction and spread within Canada.

Assess. Plan. Implement. Monitor.

6.0 Glossary

Best management practices:

For the purposes of this document, best management practices refer to proven and adopted production practices that are specific to each place of production.

Biological controls:

Often referred to as "biocontrols". Biological pest control is the method of controlling pests (including insects, mites, weeds and plant diseases) using other living organisms. It relies on predation, parasitism, herbivory, or other natural mechanisms, but typically also involves an active human management role. It is often an important component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs.

Biosecurity:

A set of practices used to minimize the transmission of pests including their introduction (bioexclusion), spread (biomanagement), and release (biocontainment).

Controlled Access Zone (CAZ):

An area within the place of production where access is restricted or controlled to prevent pest spread into or out of the area.

Deep burial:

A method of disposal where infested material is buried so it is not exposed to factors that allow re-infestation of the crop.

Healthy:

Refers to plants in good physical condition without symptoms of a pest infestation. Pests may be present on a healthy plant. However, to be considered "healthy" the pest has not negatively affected the physical condition of the plant.

GreenhouseFootnote 4:

A vegetable greenhouse or hothouse means a fully enclosed permanent aluminum or steel structure clad either in glass or impermeable plastic which must:

  1. Use automated irrigation and climate control systems, including heating and ventilation capabilities: and
  2. Utilize hydroponic methods

"Vegetable Greenhouse/Hothouse Production Standards" also include:

  1. Minimizing pesticide use by not utilizing herbicides and following production practices such as Integrated Pest Management; and
  2. Complying with the standards of a globally accepted Food Safety program.

A certified organic greenhouse/hothouse vegetable facility must meet the greenhouse definition, with the exception of (b), as, according to Canadian organic standards (CAN/CGSB-32.310-2006), hydroponics are not allowed, and "soil" must be used as the growth medium.

Intercropping:

In the context of greenhouse vegetable production systems, it is the process of growing two of the same crop that differ in age in the same area. For example, young plants are planted next to older plants that are nearing the end of their cycle to ensure continuous production of the crop.

Input:

The resources that are used in the production areas, propagation facilities and packing houses that are either biological or inert material such as transplants, material from other domestic or international places of production and packing material, chemicals, equipment, fertilizer, seed and plant material.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM):

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a process for planning and managing sites to prevent pest problems and for making decisions about when and how to intervene when pest problems occur. It is a sustainable approach that combines biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools to manage pests so that the benefits of pest control are maximized and the health and environmental risks are minimized.

Maintenance:

Involves unscheduled and routinely scheduled activities to fix any area of the place of production, device or equipment should it become out of order or broken.

Monitoring program:

Inspection of inputs that are entering the place of production for pests.

Output:

Includes waste, garbage and finished product.

PestFootnote 5:

Any living organism injurious to plants, plant products or by-products, which includes insects, diseases, weeds and rodents.

Place of production:

For the purposes of this document the term "place of production" is used to describe a variety of operational realities, including farms, propagation facilities, production greenhouses, packing houses, etc.

RepackingFootnote 6:

Includes:

  1. Removing market product from its market-ready packaging materials, re-handling the product (for example: re-sorting, re-grading, re-trimming, re-washing, re-fluming), and putting it into market-ready packaging materials. Product may also be combined with other product that differs in some way (for example: type, origin, timeframe).
  2. Activities (for example: icing, labelling/coding, cooling) that occur once product is in the packaging materials.
Restricted Access Zone (RAZ):

An area, generally located inside the controlled access zone, where access by people or equipment, is further restricted, providing an extra level of protection.

Scouting program:

Regular inspection of the crop for pests and pest thresholds.

Vector:

A biological, physical or environmental agent that disperses a plant pest.

Visitor:

Includes anyone not considered to be an employee, such as service providers, shippers, consultants, federal and provincial inspectors, delivery personnel, utility providers such as electricians and plumbers, IPM specialists, extension specialists, crop consultants, scouts, representatives of seed and greenhouse supply companies, sales and purchasing personnel and others entering the place of production.

Appendix 1: Example of a Thrips Pest Fact Sheet

Thrips Fact Sheet

Identification

Order: Thysanoptera
Family: Thripidae

Pest species include:

Western flower thrips (WFT) – Frankliniella occidentalis
Eastern flower thrips – Frankliniella tritici
Onion thrips – Thrips tabaci
Greenhouse thrips – Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis
Banded greenhouse thrips – Hercinothrips femoralis
Palm thrips – Parthenothrips dracaenae
Cuban laurel thrips – Gynaikothrips ficorum

Life Cycle

Eggs are laid in plant tissue. There are two larval stages (Fig. 1) and two non-feeding stages, the pre-pupa and pupa (Fig. 2), and the adult stage (Fig. 3). Larvae feed on the underside of leaves. The second instar larva drops to the soil to form the pre-pupa and then the pupa. Adults emerge to feed on leaf, bud, fruit, and flowers, depending on species. Most species have males and females; however, the onion thrips is parthenogenetic (does not require mating to reproduce). Thrips prefer drier conditions such as along walkways and row ends.

Figure 1. 1st and 2nd Instar Larval WFT
A photo of two instar larva of Western flower thrips on a leaf surface. The first instar larva is smaller than the second instar larva.
Figure 2. Pre-pupa and Pupa of WFT
A photo of a pre-pupa and a pupa of a Western flower thrip on a leaf surface. One is lighter in colour and is a pre-pupa. The other is darker in colour and is a pupa.
Figure 3. Adult WFT
A photo of an adult Western flower thrip on a leaf surface.

Damage

The larvae and adults have "punch-and-suck" mouthparts that pierce the cell wall and remove the cell contents. The thrips will feed on several cells in a patch before moving to another part of the plant (Figure 4). They leave behind particles or oily frass, depending on species. Feeding damage results in cell death. In actively growing tissues, the killed cells result in deformed growth patterns in leaves, flowers and fruit.

Figure 4. WFT Punch-and-Suck Patchy Feeding Damage
A photo of Western flower thrip damage from thrips feeding on the leaf.

Monitoring

Larvae: Examine the undersurface of leaves.
Adults: Examine the underside of leaves, flowers (Figure 5) and fruit, "tapping" a plant over a white sheet of paper, yellow or blue sticky cards in or just above the plant canopy, or trap plants.

Figure 5. WFT Adults in a Flower
A photo of adult Western flower thrip on a flower.

Management

Thrips are very difficult to manage and require constant attention.

Prevention: Quarantine and inspect incoming plant material, dip cuttings with an entomopathogenic fungus where permitted by the label, and pre-emptively release biological control agents.

Reaction: Routinely monitor to determine the number of thrips in the crop so that pesticide sprays can be conducted if the population exceeds the economic threshold or to determine if biological control agents or the pesticide applications have been effective. Trap plants such as yellow marigolds can actively draw thrips out of the crop. Sticky tape can be strung throughout the crop to capture flying adults. Overhead irrigation or water sprays can be used to dislodge thrips from plants.

All images copyright Olds College

Appendix 2: Examples of Signs Used to Control Access to the Place of Production and Biosecurity Zones

A photo of a square biosecurity sign on a gate. Description follows.
Description for photo - A photo of a square biosecurity sign on a gate

A photo of a square biosecurity sign on a gate in front of a driveway. The sign states: Visitors, please respect farm biosecurity. Vehicles, machinery, people and animals can carry weed seeds, pests and diseases. Please call at the house or phone. After this statement a line is provided for a contact number.

Photo: Courtesy of Susan Fitzgerald, Ontario Livestock and Poultry Council

A photo of a biosecurity sign on a gate. Description follows.
Description for photo - A photo of a biosecurity sign on a gate.

A photo of a biosecurity sign in the shape of an octagon on a gate. The middle of the sign says Stop. Above the word Stop states: No unauthorized pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Below the word Stop states: Controlled access zone. Biosecurity in effect.

Photo: Courtesy of Susan Fitzgerald, Ontario Livestock and Poultry Council

A photo of a yellow biosecurity sign. Description follows.
Description for photo - A photo of a yellow biosecurity sign

A photo of a yellow biosecurity sign with a drawing of a boot being put into a wash container in the middle of the sign. Across the drawing of the boot states: Scrub boots or shoes if dirty. Above the boot states: Strict biosecurity measures in effect. Please disinfect boots or shoes before entering these premises. Foot Dip. Below the boot states: Wear gloves and goggles when handling concentrates. This critical control point forms part of complete biosecurity program.

Photo: Courtesy of Mario Lanthier, CropHealth Advising & Research

A photo of a sign on a glass door. Description follows.
Description for photo - A photo of a sign on a glass door.

A photo of a sign on a glass door. The sign states: Clean Feet. Please submerse both soles of your shoes in the foot tote, then step onto the absorption mat ahead. The tote contains a snitary solution preventing the spread of diseases and weeds into our greenhouse. Thank you.

Photo: Courtesy of Jeanine West, PhytoServ

A photo of a biosecurity sign on a post in front of a driveway leading into a parking lot. Description follows.
Description for photo - A photo of a biosecurity sign on a post in front of a driveway leading into a parking lot.

A photo of a biosecurity sign on a post in front of a driveway leading into a parking lot. Across the driveway is a puddle of wheel wash solution. The sign states: All pick-ups and deliveries: Drive through wheel wash. Below this there is an arrow pointing right. To the left of the arrow is the statement: Visitor parking.

Photo: Courtesy of Mario Lanthier, CropHealth Advising & Research

Appendix 3: Example of a Visitor Sign-in Sheet

Example of a Visitor Sign-in Sheet. Description follows.
Description for photo - Example of a Visitor Sign-in Sheet.

A table of six columns with multiple blank rows. Each column has a heading. From left to right, the heading of the first column is: Date. The heading of the second column is: Name. The heading of the third column is: Company. The heading of the fourth column is: Have you visited another place of production in the last 48 Hours? Y/N, If yes, where? The heading of the fifth column is: Time In. The heading of the sixth is: Time Out.

Appendix 4: Example of a Vehicle Entry Biosecurity Policy

Document #: space
Original Issue Date: space

Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to inform anyone that needs access to our facility/site of the Biosecurity Entrance Policy.

Scope
This policy applies to the vehicles of all employees, visitors and any other personnel at the time of entrance to our facility/site.

Responsibility
It is the responsibility of all employees, visitors and any other personnel to gain access to the facility by entrance through the main gate in order to follow biosecurity measures via the tire bath.

Policy
Any vehicle entering our facility/site poses a biosecurity risk to our facility/site. To minimize this risk, it is protocol for all individuals to gain access through the main entrance gate via reception staff. Once allowed on-site, all vehicles drive through our sanitizing tire bath before proceeding to the main office.

A photo of a driveway with a puddle of wheel wash in the middle.
A photo of a driveway with a puddle of wheel wash in the middle.

Deviation and Corrective Actions

Deviations to this policy are not permitted. If deviations are observed, retraining on the content of this policy will occur.

If the tire bath is empty due to refilling or cleaning, refilling is required prior to vehicle entry.

Version #: space
Revision Date: space
Page #: space

Appendix 5: Example of a Trailer Condition Report

Example of a Trailer Condition ReportFootnote 7

Picture - Example of a Trailer Condition Report. Description follows.
Description for photo - Example of a Trailer Condition Report

The Trailer Condition Report has three sections. The first section at the top of the page provides blank lines to record the employee name, carrier, date, driver, trailer temperature in Fahrenheit, trailer number, shipping order number, product order number and seal number.

The second section is a table with three columns. The first column provides a list of eight inspection items. For each inspection item, there is a blank space indicating that the user can write a corrective action if required. The second column is titled Yes and the third is titled No, to allow the user to check off whether or not each inspection item has been complied with. The following are the eight inspection items in the first column:

  1. Trailer interior is clean, dry, pest free and odor free/minimum 1 load bar present.
  2. Trailer is pre-cooled to desired temperature (trailer temperature recorded above).
  3. Refrigeration unit in operation (continuous mode).
  4. Floor drain holes are open and free of obstruction.
  5. Interior walls and floor are in good repair.
  6. Air chute is in good repair and properly attached to ceiling.
  7. Front bulkhead is firmly attached against bulkhead and clear of debris.
  8. Doors are in good repair and secure.

At the bottom of the page is the third section, composed of two boxes side by side. The box on the left states: Driver needs to sign only if (in bold capital letters) any inspection items do not meet the requirements. The box on the right states "Driver's name" and "Driver's signature", with a blank line provided for each for the user to write the driver's name and signature.

Appendix 6: Acknowledgements

  • Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
  • Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • BC Greenhouse Growers' Association
  • Camas Agri Consulting
  • Canadian Horticultural Council
  • Fédération interdisciplinaire de l'horticulture ornementale du Québec
  • McGill University
  • Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Prince Edward Island Horticultural Association & Federation of Agriculture
  • Producteurs en serre du Québec
  • Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
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