Not only does the CanadaGAP Program offer relevant and functional guidelines to help potato growers and packers answer consumers’ demands for more transparency and vigilance surrounding on-farm food safety, participation has its benefits.
Over the past few years, “food safety,” “food safety measures,” “food safety requirements,” and similar phrases have passed into the lexicon of the potato industry. These expressions are here to stay—as a matter of fact, producers and processors will be hearing about these concepts more and more, especially after the next “food scare” hits us.
The unfortunate part of this reality is, those individuals involved in the industry have no choice but to add the practical implications of these concepts to the long list of issues they already need to deal with such as pests, disease, Mother Nature, an unpredictable market, and much more. But there is no doubt the average consumer of potato products will demand more transparency and ever greater vigilance when it comes to on-farm food safety in the future—the concept of food safety is not a fad, and is not going away.
From this perspective, where do potato growers and packers start when considering how to ensure they can answer, satisfactorily, the demands of consumers as far as safe production and handling of potato products is concerned? Fortunately for them, the Canadian Horticultural Council has been toiling for several years to provide growers and packers with very specific guidelines on most aspects of the production and packaging chain when it comes to food safety measures. This work culminated in the CanadaGAP Program.
The CanadaGAP Program is an on-farm food safety program for producers, packers, and storage managers of horticultural crops, including potatoes. It is designed to help the industries involved implement effective food safety procedures into their operations. Under the umbrella of the CanadaGAP Program, six crop-specific On-Farm Food Safety manuals have been developed by the horticultural industry and have been reviewed for technical soundness by the Canadian government.
These manuals are based on the seven basic principles set forth by the internationally-recognized HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) approach. The CanadaGAP Program is administered and maintained by the CHC, with audit and certification services delivered by an accredited Certification Body. One of the six manuals deals exclusively with potatoes.
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