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Directive 14-01: Procedure for follow-up on positive chemical residue results in organic products

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.

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Date: July 30, 2019
5th Revision

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Canada Organic Regime
1400 Merivale Road
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0Y9

1.0 Purpose and scope

This directive specifies how the certification bodies (CBs) accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) shall follow up on positive chemical residue results submitted to them by the CFIA, and the timeline for reporting their findings to CFIA.

2.0 Authority

Reference documents:

3.0 Background

Under Part 13 of the SFCR, CFIA accredited certification bodies (CBs) must suspend a product's certification when the substances used in the production and processing of organic products are other than those set out in the Permitted Substances Lists (PSL), or if the organic product comes in contact with substances other than those set out in the PSL.

Compliance in regards to prohibited substances must be verified through sampling and testing when there is a reason to suspect the presence of a prohibited substance as outlined in Part C of the COR Operating Manual.

The CFIA also samples and test organic products as part of its monitoring and surveillance programs for chemical residues. Through these programs the CFIA monitors the food supply for chemical residues and contaminants, and evaluates compliance with maximum residue limits (MRLs), tolerances and maximum levels established by Health Canada.

Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is responsible for the registration and regulation of pesticides in Canada including the establishment of Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) under the PCPA.

4.0 CB follow-up actions on chemical residue results received from the CFIA

The CFIA forwards all chemical residue results from its monitoring and surveillance programs to the CBs for follow-up through the conformity verification bodies (CVB).

Detections of chemical residues below the MRL are sent to the CB to follow up with the organic operator and to investigate the cause of the contamination. Based on the investigation, the CB is required to take enforcement actions as per Part 13 of the SFCR.

Depending on the level of detection, CBs are required to follow-up on the results of the chemical residues in accordance with the guidelines listed below, where applicable.

If residues are detected in excess of the MRL, CFIA inspection staff will also follow-up on the violation.

4.1 CB actions when chemical residues are detected below 0.01 ppm

4.2 CB actions when chemical residues are detected:

Between 0.01 ppm and 5% of an applicable MRL (inclusive)
or
Between 0.01 ppm and 0.1 ppm if no MRL is specified (inclusive)

4.3 CB actions when chemical residues are detected:

Above 5% of an applicable MRL
or
Above 0.1 ppm if no MRL is specified

5.0 Fees

The Operator is responsible for ensuring that their products meet the Organic Production Systems General Principles and Management Standards. A sample testing positive for one or more chemical residues may result in further testing or an inspection of the operator facilities/premises to determine their ability to be in compliance with the Organic Production Systems General Principles and Management Standards. In these cases, the certification body may recover from the applicant the fee payable for each inspection.

6.0 CVB responsibilities

CVBs shall verify how the CBs comply with this Directive during the on-site audit of the CBs.

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