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Verification procedures for your preventive control plan

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

Verification is an integral component of an effective preventive control plan (PCP) that, in addition to monitoring procedures, ensures ongoing control. It is the sixth principle in the internationally recognized Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach to food safety.

Verification activities are used to confirm and demonstrate that all control measures and related procedures outlined in your PCP are consistently implemented and effective in achieving the intended outcome.

Purpose

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) created this document as guidance to help food business operators comply with the regulations set out in 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 same outcome. Always ensure that the guidance you choose is relevant for your particular business, product or products, and market requirements.

What is included

The document outlines the steps involved in developing verification procedures, using generic criteria and by providing:

Refer to the Tell me more! section for additional sources of information that may help you establish your verification procedures.

What is not included

The examples presented are not exhaustive. The verification activities depend on the size and complexity of the food business and will 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 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.

Designing and implementing verification procedures

In your verification procedures you explain how you would ensure each control measure and procedure is consistently implemented and is effective at ensuring safe and compliant food.

Every written verification procedure should answer the basic questions: who, when, what, why and how. The procedure should also identify the records used.

Step 1. Identify who conducts the verification activities and the verification frequency:

Step 2. Describe the verification activities to be conducted, for example:

Best Practice

Use multiple verification techniques, especially for critical control points. This will increase confidence that monitoring procedures are effective. For example:

You can summarize your verification procedures in a table for quick reference.

Example of a summary table of the verification procedures
Who When What Why How Record
Lab tech End of batch Finished food testing to ensure standards are met Assess product cook-kill step Lab instructions Finished product testing analysis record
QA manager End of each month Monitoring trends to identify loss of process control Implement improvements and catch/prevent deviations Review of records/graphs Document trend review record
QC manager Monthly Employee hygiene practices Assess that employee hygiene procedures are being followed and monitored properly as per the written program Observe floor supervisor monitoring employee hygiene Verification control log (see example below)

You can refer to the Preventive control plan templates – For domestic food businesses and exporters for another example.

Step 3. Describe the records that are completed to document the verification activities completed and the results of those activities.

Step 4. Specify additional procedures that relate to appropriate follow-up when problems are identified during verification. The procedure to follow may differ depending on the nature of the issue (monitoring or corrective actions, or if it is with the effectiveness of the PCP itself in maintaining control of the food safety standards or regulatory requirements).

Tell me more! 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 references

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