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Condensation

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.

Introduction

What is condensation?

Condensation is the conversion of a vapour or gas to a liquid. It occurs when the surface temperature of a material is below the dew-point temperature of the air in contact with that material.

Condensation can occur in food establishments in several scenarios. For example:

The condensate – the moisture that is produced – can drip onto:

Sources of condensation and areas where condensation can occur should be considered during the hazard analysis. Control measures should be taken to prevent or control condensation and protect the food from contamination.

Purpose

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) created this document as guidance to help food businesses comply with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.

It's your choice

You may use other guidance developed by provincial governments, industry associations, international partners or academic bodies as long as they can achieve the outcomes identified in the regulations. Always ensure that the guidance you choose is relevant for your particular business, product or products, and market requirements.

What's included

This document provides information about condensation in establishments and outlines practices that may help you prevent the risk of contamination of a food by the presence of condensation.

Refer to the Tell me more! section for additional sources of information that may help you prevent condensation.

What's not included

While this document provides examples of sources of condensation, it is not exhaustive. The sources of condensation will be unique for each business and the preventive control measures needed will depend on the size and complexity of the food business and be unique for each business.

Roles and responsibilities

Food businesses are responsible for complying with the law. They demonstrate compliance by ensuring that the commodities and processes for which they are responsible meet regulatory requirements. If a written preventive control plan (PCP) is required, the food business develops a PCP with supporting documents, monitors and maintains evidence of its implementation, and verifies that all control measures are effective.

The CFIA verifies the compliance of a food business by conducting activities that include inspection, and surveillance. When non-compliance is identified, the CFIA takes appropriate compliance and enforcement actions.

Condensation

Any areas where condensation occurs within the establishment should be assessed to determine if there is a risk of contamination to a food. In some cases, condensation may be present but it may be determined that there is no risk associated with it. In other cases, you may determine that there is a risk of contamination.

Condensation that does not present a risk of contamination to a food

In many cases condensation does not present a risk of contamination to a food already packaged and protected or to a food that will receive a treatment at a subsequent step that will eliminate or reduce hazards to an acceptable level. For example, condensation:

Note

Excessive condensation of this type should still be avoided anywhere food is prepared or stored and whenever the condensation can be displaced into areas where it can present a risk of contamination.

Condensation that presents a risk of contamination of a food

Condensation that cannot be avoided

In some cases, condensation created during the preparation of a food cannot be prevented but can be controlled. Control measures you can use to prevent contamination of a food with this condensation include:

The following are examples of condensation that presents a risk of contamination and is unavoidable.

Condensation:

Condensation that can be avoided

In some cases, condensation can be reduced or avoided using simple measures. For example, by:

Note

If the control measures you have in place only reduce condensation, you may need additional control measures to prevent the contamination of a food.

The following are examples of condensation that presents a risk of contamination but is avoidable:

Tell me more! References and further reading

The following references contain information that helps explain food safety controls, demonstrates how to develop them, and provides examples. The CFIA is not responsible for the content of documents that are created by other government agencies or international sources.

CFIA references

Other further reading

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