Language selection

Search

Operational guideline: Evaluating a supplier food safety assurance program (SFSAP)

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements may apply in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

On this page

1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) staff on the assessment of a regulated party's Supplier Food Safety Assurance Program (SFSAP) for the control of incoming food products (domestic or imported), inputs or the delivery of services provided through a Supplier Agreement (SA).

This document is intended to be used in conjunction with other guidance documents such as the industry guidance on Supplier Food Safety Assurance Program.

An SFSAP and SA's are not mandatory requirements under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). However, if a regulated party's Preventive Control Plan (PCP) indicates that SA's are used as a control measure, then the SFSAP governing the SA's is to be assessed as part of the PCP.

The procedures outlined below should be used when an assessment of the SFSAP is required. This could be during an inspection under the Standard Inspection Procedure (SIP), review of a PCP related sub-element, as part of a food safety investigation or follow-up to a complaint.

2.0 Authorities

3.0 Reference documents

4.0 Definitions

Unless specified below, definitions are located in either the:

Services
include activities such as contracted testing or calibration of equipment, pest control, laundry services, transportation or distribution of goods, or any other service that has a direct impact on a food commodity, a prescribed activity, or a food processing environment.
Supplier
means a person who supplies food products, inputs or services to a regulated party.
Supplier Agreement (SA)
means a documented agreement between a regulated party and a supplier for incoming food products, inputs or the delivery of services to the regulated party. An SA may also be referred to, by industry, as Supplier Quality Assurance (SQA) agreements.

5.0 Acronyms

Acronyms are spelled out the first time they are used in this document and are consolidated in the Food business line acronyms list.

6.0 Operational guideline

An assessment of a regulated party's SFSAP consists of two main components: a review of the regulated party's written procedures for SA's and an on-site inspection (record review, observation, interviews and sampling as required) of incoming food products, inputs or services. Refer to sub-sections 4.4.1 to 4.4.4 of the SIP for further details on how to conduct an inspection.

6.1 Documented procedures / Record review

6.1.1 Written procedures - Supplier Food Safety Assurance Program (SFSAP)

6.1.1.1 Verify that the regulated party has written procedures for establishing and entering into SA's with suppliers of incoming food products, inputs or the delivery of services that are used in, or have a direct impact on, a food commodity, a prescribed activity, or a food processing environment.

Note

The SFSAP may be included in, or be a part of, the regulated party's PCP or be part of another written food quality program.

6.1.1.2 Review the written procedures and verify that they contain the following elements:

  1. specifications for food products, inputs or services received through SA's
  2. a supplier approval process for determining the suitability or acceptability of a specific supplier
  3. a documented and signed SA between the supplier and the regulated party
  4. a master list of all suppliers that provide food products, inputs or services to the regulated party under an SA
  5. verification procedures to assess the effectiveness of SA's
  6. procedures for the regular maintenance of the SA's including deviation procedures and corrective actions when issues are identified, and
  7. records

Each of these elements will be evaluated individually in subsequent steps (See 6.2 – 6.8 below).

6.2 Food product, input, or service specifications

6.2.1 Verify that, for each food product, input or service received through an SA, the written program:

6.2.2 Verify that the specifications established under step 6.2.1 include:

Note

See "Product specifications" section of the industry guidance document: "Supplier Food Safety Assurance Program".

6.3 Supplier selection

6.3.1 Verify that the written program:

6.3.2 Verify that only suppliers that meet the minimum assessment criteria and requirements of section 6.3.1 are selected as suppliers under an SA.

Note

See "Supplier selection" section of the industry guidance document: "Supplier Food Safety Assurance Program".

6.4 Supplier agreement (SA)

6.4.1 Verify that the written program includes procedures for documenting the agreements made between the supplier and the regulated party, such as, what needs to be included in an SA.

6.4.2 Verify, from a representative sample of records, that the SA on file include the following information:

6.4.3 Verify that each SA is signed and dated by the regulated party and the supplier to acknowledge that both parties agree to the contents of the Agreement.

6.5 List of suppliers

6.5.1 Verify that the regulated party maintains a list of all suppliers operating under an SA which should include:

6.5.2 Verify that the list is up-to-date and amendments are made as required (such as, new suppliers added when selected, suppliers removed when agreements expire, etc.)

6.6 Regulated party's verification of the SFSAP

6.6.1 Verify that the written program includes procedures for the assessment of the effectiveness of Supplier Agreements (such as, verification that suppliers and the food products, inputs or services they provide conform to specifications / requirements of the SA and comply with Canadian food legislation).

6.6.2 Verify that the verification procedures referred to in section 6.6.1 include:

Note

See "Verification of the SFSAP" section of the industry guidance document: "Supplier Food Safety Assurance Program".

6.6.3 Verify, through a representative sample of records, that:

6.7 Maintenance of the SFSAP

6.7.1 Verify that the written program includes procedures for regular maintenance and updating.

Note

See "Maintenance of the SFSAP and supplier agreements" section of the industry guidance document: "Supplier Food Safety Assurance Program".

6.7.2 Verify that the written program includes deviation procedures for the development and implementation of corrective action when issues are identified.

Note

The procedures for deviation and corrective action may be set out in the SFSAP or in the regulated party's PCP.

6.8 Records

6.8.1 Verify that the written program identifies the records which will be kept in relation to SA's, where they will be located, and how long they will be retained.

For example, these records could include:

6.9 On-site food product, input or service inspection

6.9.1 Selection of food product, input or service for inspection

6.9.1.1 Select at least one incoming food product, input (for example, ingredient, additive, label, etc.) or service (for example, equipment calibration, laundry, pest control, transportation, etc.) for assessment against requirements of the SA and Canadian food legislation.

6.9.1.2 If possible, select incoming food products, inputs or services, or a supplier that has not been selected before. Any new suppliers or a change in incoming food products, inputs or services should also be considered for selection.

6.10 On-site inspection or observation

6.10.1 For the food product, input or service selected, verify that all the necessary SA documentation is in place for that specific food product, input or service:

6.10.2 Review records referred to in section 6.10.1; verify that records are complete and accurate, and specified frequencies are met.

6.11 On-site inspection or observation

Note

Refer to sub-section 4.4.1 to 4.4.4 of the SIP.

6.11.1 If possible, conduct an on-site inspection of the food product, input or service which could include:

Verify that the regulated party, employees and/or service provider are following procedures set out in the written program and the SA.

6.12 Determining compliance

6.12.1 Compliance decision

6.12.1.1 Based on observations from the documentation review and on-site inspection (as per steps 6.10 and 6.11) determine if the food products, inputs and services meet SA specifications, PCP performance criteria and outcomes and, in turn, meet regulatory requirements (SFCA and SFCR, FDA and FDR). Refer to sections 4.5 and 4.6 of the SIP for further direction on determining compliance.

7.0 Appendix

For general inquiries related to this Operational Guidance Document, please follow established communication channels, including submitting an electronic Request for Action Form (e-RAF).

Appendix 1 - Information that should be contained in Certificate of Analysis (COA), letter of Continuing Guarantee (LOCG) or equivalent document

A COA or equivalent document should include the following:

An LOCG or equivalent document should include the following information:

Note

LOCG's are more generic / broader in nature than COA's. LOCG's are not intended for a specific lot or shipment of food product or inputs; nor based on specific testing or analysis of individual lots or shipments. Rather LOCG's are based on a more in-depth evaluation / assessment / or validation of an input or service over time (for example, chemical leaching or migration data; chemical and physical characteristics; approval by Health Canada or other jurisdictions – for example, United States of America, Australia or New Zealand, etc.).

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: