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Private Certification Policy (Food Safety)

Assessment Process

1. The private certification scheme will be assessed in its entirety to determine to what level federal legislated food safety requirements are met.

2. An assessment process will be developed and that same process will be used to assess all private certification schemes against current regulatory requirements.

3. The assessment process and criteria will be published on the CFIA web site.

4. The assessment process will demonstrate that certification schemes may partially - or fully, meet some - or all, CFIA regulatory requirements.

5. Assessment outcomes will not be made public. CFIA may communicate the assessment outcomes to implicated stakeholders as necessary, for instance, proprietors who submit their private certification schemes for assessment.

6. Assessment outcomes will inform CFIA's risk-based planning and prioritization.

7. Assessment outcomes will not constitute any formal approval, recognition or endorsement of the private certification schemes by the CFIA.

Scheme Selection

8. Criteria will be established in support of CFIA selection of private food safety certification schemes for assessment.

9. Proprietors of private certification schemes may voluntarily submit their schemes for assessment.

10. Assessments will be conducted on a first come first served basis for voluntary submissions of private certification schemes to the CFIA.

11. In keeping with the CFIA's user fee policy and framework, the possibility of cost-recovery for private certification scheme assessment will be explored.

Confidence in the Certification

12. In addition to CFIA's need for confidence in the process to assess how food safety certification schemes align with CFIA regulatory requirements, it will equally need confidence in the certification result. Consideration will be given to four different categories of food safety certification schemes to accommodate the complexity and size of businesses.

Category 1 - CFIA-Assessed Programs:

Any organization/establishment that has completed evaluation by the CFIA for FSRP is considered to meet CFIA food safety regulatory requirements. No further assessment is required. CFIA will consider certifications to FSRP within its risk-based assessment continuum.

Category 2 - International Private Certification Schemes (GFSI-Recognized Schemes and ISO Food Safety Standards); and Category 3 - Schemes Certified to HACCP:

Certification to a GFSI-recognized food safety scheme, an ISO food safety standard and HACCP are certifications achieved without regulatory oversight. The CFIA has analyzed the oversight or governance structure that exists within industry for the majority of such schemes and has concluded that the accredited certification oversight structure (see Annex 1 for details) provides the Agency with the confidence it needs to consider certification results from a GFSI-recognized food safety scheme, an ISO food safety standard and HACCP certification within the Agency's risk-based assessment continuum.

The CFIA will consider GFSI-recognition, certification to a relevant food safety ISO standard and HACCP certification within its risk-based assessment continuum if the certification has been achieved under an accredited certification oversight structure described in Annex 1.

Category 4: Other Private Certification Schemes:

Where the oversight requirements for a private certification scheme do not fit one of the categories identified above, CFIA will undertake an assessment of the oversight structure that is in place to establish whether the Agency has confidence in the oversight structure, and by extension, the certification result.

Information Sharing / Feedback Loop

13. The establishment must successfully achieve and maintain certification to the private certification scheme.

14. A mechanism to enable continued information sharing between certification bodies and CFIA to update certification data will be developed.

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