Facilities Inspection Manual
5 - Compliance Guidelines

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Subject 1 Facility Compliance Requirements Fish Inspection Regulations, Schedules I and II

Subject 2 Construction and Equipment - Canneries

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List of Items

1. Canning Equipment

1.1 Applications General

FIR, Schedule II, Section 27

Canneries and all equipment and utensils used in the operations of a cannery shall be kept in good repair and in a clean and sanitary condition.

Reason

The condition of the equipment used to prepare the product, and fill and seal the containers, is one of the most important factors in determining the success or failure of the sterilization process. If the equipment is not well maintained, cleaned and sanitized, it will contribute to the contamination of the product, or cause it to be non-sterile.

In order to be effectively sanitized, equipment must be simply designed, easily cleaned and made of non-corrosive material.

Compliance

Equipment must be designed and constructed so that it can be easily cleaned and sanitized. The functioning and contact parts must be easily dismantled or easily opened to facilitate cleaning and servicing.

All welded equipment, including tables, bins and support brackets must have continuous, smooth and uniformly welded joints. Wherever possible, junctions and corners must be coved with a minimum radius of 0.6 cm (¼ inch) for ease of cleaning.

Drip pans must be properly designed and located to prevent contamination by drippings from bearings, gears, belt drives, overhead motors, etc. They must be accessible for inspection and easily removed for cleaning.

All equipment and services must be installed in order to provide sufficient access for inspection, maintenance, cleaning and sanitizing.

All utensils and equipment must be made of smooth, non-absorbent, non-corrosive material, kept in good repair, and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.

All fixed equipment must be installed either sufficiently high off the floor to facilitate cleaning and sanitizing underneath, or be otherwise installed so that water, dirt and other debris cannot get under the equipment.

Electrical connections, cabinets and control panels must be completely sealed, to allow cleaning of equipment with water or steam.

Where there is food contact or a contamination hazard exists, painted surfaces must not be used.

All equipment must be maintained in good repair and kept properly adjusted.

Verification

Inspect all of the equipment and utensils used in preparing the product, and ensure compliance requirements are met.

1.2 Butchering, Gutting, Cleaning and Packing Equipment

Reason

All fish cleaning and packing must be done in an area and on surfaces easily cleaned and sanitized. If these conditions are not met the product may be contaminated.

The use of wood in processing equipment is not acceptable. Bacteria may become "seeded" in the pores of the wood, and once established, may contaminate food materials.

Compliance

Fish cleaning and packing must be done in a clean and sanitary area. All tables, pans, cleaning surfaces and equipment must be made of non-porous, non-corrodible materials (i.e. no wood or galvanized metals), which are easily cleaned and sanitized. All surface joints must be smooth and watertight.

Verification

Inspect all equipment used in butchering, gutting, cleaning and packing and determine if it meets the requirements for contact surfaces and is constructed for ease of cleaning and sanitizing.

1.3 Container Washers

Reason

Extraneous material adhering to the surfaces of filled containers is a potential source of contamination to the contents should any leakage into the container occur in subsequent stages of processing, handling, storage or distribution.

Compliance

When required, sealed containers shall be washed prior to retorting to remove any organic material adhering to the containers. Sealed containers should be rinsed to remove the protein residues and any packing media prior to being washed with hot water and detergent. Washing containers with hot water without pre-rinsing may coagulate soluble proteins making them difficult to remove.

The detergents used must be approved for use in food-processing establishments. The chosen detergent and all brushes used must not react with or affect the container enamel or plate.

Verification

Examine containers to determine if surface is free from any product/oil or adhering protein.

Confirm that detergents approved for food contact are used for container washing.

Verify that neither the brushes nor the chosen detergent react with or affect the container enamel or plate.

1.4 Coding

FIR, General, Section 32

1) Every can of fish that is packed in an establishment for which a registration certificate has been issued shall be embossed with code markings that:

  1. identify the establishment;
  2. indicate the day, month and year of processing; and
  3. identify the product contained therein in accordance with the table to this subsection (see Table in regulations).

2) A copy of the key to every code marking required by this section shall be sent to the Minister each year before the commencement of processing operations.

Reason

Products must be coded to identify the establishment and packing date to facilitate the segregation of lots because of potential problems with safety or quality and if necessary to initiate a complete and rapid recall of any lot. It is also common practice to code batch/retort load and/or shift period/sub-period.

Compliance

Appropriate equipment must be in place to legibly emboss or otherwise permanently mark all containers at the time of container closing, with a code indicating the establishment, the day, month and year of processing and, where required, the product code.

The equipment must be maintained in good condition and be clean and sanitary.

Verification

Determine that coding is clear and legible and is not affecting the hermeticity of the container.

Inspect coding equipment to verify that it is constructed and functioning properly.

1.5 Conveyors

Reason

Conveyor systems used in handling containers must be designed, constructed and operated so as to preserve the container integrity.

Compliance

Conveyors should be constructed of smooth, non-porous, non-corrosive material and designed so as to minimize contact with the double seam, i.e. containers should not be rolled on the double seams. All worn and frayed belting, container retarders and cushions should be replaced with non-porous material.

Conveyor systems which handle containers must be smooth and free of abrasive sections. Staples must not be used to join belt ends together.

Belts and conveyor systems must not contribute to container integrity problems due to abrasion or impact at the transfer sections of the conveyor system.

All mechanical conveyance systems must be designed, constructed, and operated so as to ensure that retort pouches, containers and ends are not subjected to physical abuse. All such conveyances must be free from sharp corners or projections that may damage the containers or ends.

Verification

Determine that containers are not being damaged or abused by the conveyor systems. Check that staples are not used to join conveyor belts.

Confirm that conveyor systems are properly constructed.

Inspect all equipment used for handling empty containers, when it is not in operation.

Inspect for sharp bends and long drop sections where empty containers could be damaged due to the momentum of those coming down the conveyor or chute.

Confirm that there are no sharp points on welds, at junction points of conveyors and guide rails. Check for obstacles to the smooth free flow of containers, such as nuts, bolts and rivets protruding into the path that the containers travel.

1.6 Dispensing Machines

Reason

The equipment which dispenses additional ingredients such as salt, oil or water into the container must be properly constructed, functioning correctly and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition; otherwise the amount dispensed will not be accurate or the product could be contaminated.

If the amount of ingredients dispensed is not as per specifications, it could have a detrimental effect on the integrity of the seal, the adequacy of the thermal process and/or the quality of the product. Improper filling (over or under fill) may result in an inadequate thermal process or may interfere with seal and vacuum formation.

Compliance

The dispensing machines must be constructed of acceptable material, kept in good repair, dispense accurately and be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.

Verification

Inspect the dispenser for proper construction, cleanliness, sanitation, and signs of corrosion.

Review the company quality control program, the control procedures, the records and product specifications.

Check the frequency of verification of accuracy of the dispensing equipment and associated instrumentation.

1.7 Filling Machines

Reason

It is essential that container-filling operations, either mechanical or manual, function such that they meet the requirements specified in the scheduled process for the package being produced. Improper container filling (i.e. underfilling or overfilling) may adversely affect the safety and shelf life of a product. Improper filling or overfilling may result in product being deposited on the flanges where it interferes with the double-seam formation during the seaming operation. Overfilling may lead to a high proportion of containers being produced with seam defects or with inadequate vacuum due to insufficient head space.

Similarly, with retort pouches, product or moisture deposited on the sealing area could result in an inadequate seal.

Filling machines may be contaminated with spoilage bacteria when the filler is maintained for long periods at temperatures within the thermophilic growth range. This might occur during operation from contact with a heated product, or during shutdown periods from leakage of steam valves. To prevent the growth of thermophilic bacteria, fillers must be dismantled, cleaned and sanitized as frequently as practicable.

Compliance

The filling machine knives must be kept sharp and nick free.

The filling machines must be constructed so as to be easily dismantled for thorough cleaning and sanitizing.

The filling machines must function so as to fill to specifications without depositing product on container flanges.

Verification

Check the container-filling operation to determine the adequacy of the following:

  1. shielding is in place to prevent filled containers from being contaminated during transfer to the seamer;
  2. the filling machines must be constructed so as to facilitate ease of dismantling for cleaning and sanitizing;
  3. the filling machines are adequate to ensure filling is within specifications.

1.8 Packing and Patching Tables

Reason

Potentially defective containers must be detected and removed during inspection at the patching table to prevent serious problems later in the process.

Seam interference problems, such as bone, skin or product on the flange must be detected and removed to ensure that a properly formed double seam will be made when the container is closed.

Patching underweight containers can lead to excessively overweight containers unless all patched containers are re-weighed prior to being returned to the line.

The scale used for measuring container weights at the patching table must be routinely cleaned since any product adhering to the scale will affect its accuracy.

Compliance

This area on the production line must have adequate lighting and must be able to accommodate the number of people necessary to carefully check and correct or remove deficient containers.

The accuracy of the weigh scale used for measuring container weights at the patching table must be checked regularly.

Verification

Inspect patching/inspection tables to ensure that adequate lighting is available for inspection.

Determine that adequate table space is available to enable company personnel to inspect all containers.

Confirm that the weigh scales are constructed and functioning properly.

Check the weigh scales for accuracy.

1.9 Pre-cookers

Reason

The pre-cooking units, cooking racks and pre-cookers must be of sanitary design that can be easily cleaned at all times. All pre-cooking surfaces and materials coming into contact with the fish must be easily cleaned and sanitized. Where tuna is processed, no copper alloys or brass can be used on any surface which comes into contact with the fish, as it will cause contamination.

It is necessary to ensure that equipment and utensils do not become a source of bacteriological or other contamination of the product, and to prevent the greening and other discoloration of the fish flesh caused by contact with copper alloys or brass.

Examples of acceptable construction materials for cooking racks, trays, or pans, are stainless steel, saltwater-resistant aluminum alloys, high-density plastics and fibreglass-reinforced plastics.

The pre-cookers should be constructed of durable, non-absorbent, sound materials which are capable of withstanding high temperatures and repeated cleaning and disinfecting. As an example, mild steel is acceptable.

Compliance

All equipment and utensils must be constructed of acceptable materials and designed so that all places requiring cleaning and sanitizing are easily accessible.

In the case of tuna processing, copper alloys or brass must not be used on any surface which comes into contact with the fish.

Verification

The conditions as stated under compliance are the minimum requirements to meet this regulation.

1.10 Sealing Equipment

FIR, Schedule I, Part II - Section 28

Every cannery shall be equipped with one or more:

  1. sealing machines of a type approved by the Minister
Reason - Sealing, Headspace and Vacuum

The sealing machine is one of the most important pieces of equipment in the canning process as this operation, when done correctly, closes the containers with an hermetic seal.

Removal of air prior to closing minimizes the strain on the container from the expansion of air during thermal processing, and removes oxygen which may cause product degradation or internal container corrosion.

Hermetically sealed containers protect the thermally processed contents from recontamination with microorganisms, thus container integrity is critical for the safety and shelf stability of canned foods.

Headspace is vital for vacuum control in some sealing machines, and may influence the adequacy of the thermal process. It is generally controlled at 8 mm (approx. 10/32 in.) to 12 mm (approx. 15/32 in.) in containers.

As the container vacuum absorbs trapped gases, initial vacuum is always higher than the finished vacuum.

In jars, it is usual to have a higher vacuum and more headspace than in metal containers. In most cases, headspace volume should be not less than 6% of the container volume at the sealing temperature.

For retort pouches, residual air in the container must be closely controlled to prevent excessive "ballooning" and possible damage to the seal. This is particularly true for pure steam processes, as the residual air content is a critical factor of the scheduled process.

Compliance - Headspace and Vacuum

The equipment must be adjusted for the removal of air from the containers. The usual procedures are:

  1. preheat and/or thermal exhaust closures: This involves heating the container contents just prior to filling, after filling or a combination of both. The heat causes the product to expand, reduces entrapped, occluded and dissolved air (gases) and increases the vapour tension in the headspace, dispelling the air before closure. A vacuum forms as the contents of the container cool and contract after closure.
  2. mechanical vacuum closures: The product when placed in the container is slightly warm. The container then passes into a clincher which attaches the lid loosely but not air tight. From there the container goes into a vacuum chamber which draws a vacuum and firmly seals the lid (air tight).
  3. steam-vac closures (steam flow, vapour vac): At the time of closure, steam is projected into the headspace which dispels the air and after closure, the steam condenses and creates a vacuum.
  4. for retort pouches, the container is placed in a vacuum chamber for a pre-set time before the seal is made. Sealers designed especially for retort pouches are used. This requires both bottom and top sealing elements, good adjustment mechanisms on the bars and adjustable pressure controls.

Once the relationship of headspace volume for a specific product is established for a given container, the headspace may be measured with a depth or headspace gauge.

Sealing machines of a proven design must be properly installed and maintained in good condition.

Compliance - Sealing

The container seam measurements and inspection procedures followed must meet, as a minimum, those recommended in the by the can manufacturer, or, where not available, from the Government of Canada Metal Can Defects Manual.

The retort pouch seal measurement and inspection procedures followed must meet, as a minimum, those recommended in the Canadian General Standards Board standard, "Use of Flexible Laminated Pouches for Thermally Processed Foods".

Verification - Sealing Machines

Examine the container closing operations and determine:

  1. the manufacturer and model number of the seaming unit and the recommended maximum speed (i.e. cans per minute). Compare this speed with that used in actual operation, as speeds above the maximum recommended may cause sealing defects;
  2. whether the manufacturer's instructions concerning the operation, maintenance and adjustment of the seamer are properly followed.

Verify that visual closure inspections are made after a jam in a capper, after adjustment, or after a prolonged shutdown.

Examine the maintenance log book and find the dates and details of the latest repairs and overhauls.

If there is any doubt about the adequate maintenance of the sealing machine or the suitability for the application, consult the qualified Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) technical personnel in the region.

1.11 Weighing Machines

Reason

It is essential that container contents meet the product specifications and net weight requirements, so that the scheduled thermal process will be adequate.

If the amounts are not weighed accurately, it could have a detrimental effect on the container integrity and/or the scheduled process.

Compliance

Prior to production the establishment must provide the CFIA with the product specifications for each type of product and style of pack to be produced.

Verification

Inspect the weighing machine for cleanliness, sanitation and signs of corrosion.

Review the company quality control program. Check the control procedures, the records and the product specifications.

Check the frequency of verification of the accuracy of the weighing equipment and associated instrumentation.

Check the accuracy of the weighing equipment.

2. Empty Container-handling Equipment

2.1 Applications General

FIR, Part I - General Section 7

Unless otherwise permitted by the Minister, fish shall be placed in new, clean, sound containers.

FIR, Schedule II, Section 27

Canneries and all equipment and utensils used in the operations of a cannery shall be kept in good repair and in a clean and sanitary condition.

Reason

The careful handling of empty containers and ends is very important as improper handling will damage them and certainly precipitate problems later in the canning process.

Product containers which are not sound, clean and sanitary are a source of contamination to the final product. Defective containers and/or ends frequently cause defective seals on the closed container, and thereby compromise the safety of the product.

Compliance

All mechanical conveyance systems must be designed, constructed, and operated so as to ensure that containers and ends are not subjected to physical abuse. All such conveyances must be free from sharp corners or projections that may damage the containers or ends. The equipment must be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.

Container-cleaning equipment must perform the following operations for cleaning and handling empty containers:

  1. where appropriate, invert the containers to dump out dust and foreign matter; and
  2. blast the inside of the containers to loosen and remove dust and foreign matter, using air, vacuum or steam; and/or
  3. mechanically or manually wash containers with approved water.
Verification

Observe the empty container handling in operation from beginning to end and assess the effectiveness of each and every section.

Verify that the water used in container washing actually comes from the approved water source and that container washing is done with non-recirculated running water.

Check the pressure used for air or steam cleaning, and ensure it is high enough to give adequate results.

3. Retort Controls and Instrumentation

3.1 Applications General

FIR, Schedule I, Part II - Section 28

Every cannery shall be equipped with one or more:

  1. sealing machines of a type approved by the Minister; and
  2. retorts equipped with properly installed
    1. mercury-in-glass thermometer,
    2. pressure gauge,
    3. steam spreader, and
    4. venting valves.
FIR, General, Section 34

Canned fish shall be sterilized by a method approved by the Minister.

3.2 Pressure Gauges

Reason

An accurate pressure gauge is required at the retort to determine if there is a correct temperature/pressure equilibrium in the steam in the retort. When this equilibrium exists, it indicates that venting of all air has been completed and it is a confirmation of the accuracy of the thermometer reading.

A pressure gauge is also required on the steam supply line to ensure that the minimum pressure specified by the scheduled process is achieved.

A compound vacuum and pressure gauge is often required to indicate when the retort is under pressure or vacuum. Under some conditions when cooling water is introduced, the steam is condensed quickly and a vacuum is created. It is necessary to know if a vacuum is being drawn as containers may expand and even explode if the vacuum becomes too high.

Compliance

Every retort must be equipped with an accurate pressure gauge which has a range of 0-30 psi (0-200 kPa) pressure or a compound gauge with a range of 0 to 15 in. Hg vacuum in addition to the pressure range of 0-30 psi. The dial must be 11 cm (4 ½ inches) or more in diameter.

The retort pressure gauges must be graduated in divisions of 2 psi (0.1 kg/cm2) or less.

The gauges must be installed with a gauge siphon or a loop (goose-neck) in a short connecting pipe, to protect the gauge. The gauges shall not be more than 4 inches (10 cm) higher than the top of the goose-neck.

A pressure gauge must be installed in the main steam-supply line to the retorts.

Pressure gauges must be tested for accuracy against a known accurate standard upon installation and at least once a year thereafter, or more frequently if necessary, to ensure their accuracy. Each pressure gauge must have a tag or other method of identification that indicates the date of the last accuracy check.

Records must be maintained showing the dates of the pressure gauge accuracy checks, the standard used, the method used, the results of each check and any adjustments made, and the name of the person who performed the test.

Verification

Inspect all of the gauges to ensure that they are operational and meet the requirements of the Compliance section.

Determine that the gauge can be easily read by the operator and that no bleeder is installed in the pressure line from the retort to the gauge. Inspect the tag on the gauge and determine the most recent date of calibration. Ensure that the required time span, for frequency of calibration, has not been exceeded.

Review the maintenance and calibration records to determine that the gauges are in good repair and are accurate.

See Appendix A, Table A.1 for temperature/pressure table.

3.3 Temperature Measuring Devices

Reason

The devices used for measuring, controlling and recording the time, temperature and pressure during the scheduled process are of critical importance in ensuring that a product is rendered commercially sterile.

The thermal process must meet minimum limits for time and temperature in order to obtain commercial sterility of the product and uniformity of quality.

Mercury-in-glass thermometers and resistance-temperature devices (RTDs) are the best known types of temperature-measuring equipment (thermometer) for accuracy and dependability. It is the official instrument for indicating temperatures during retorting. An automatic temperature recording device provides charts whereby the process can be audited.

Bleeders provide a flow of steam past the thermometer bulb and the sensor for the temperature recording devices. Bleeders also remove air which enters the retort with the steam and enhances the circulation of steam in the retort.

The temperature recorder may be combined with the steam controller as a recording/controlling instrument.

Compliance

Every retort is equipped with at least one calibrated mercury-in-glass thermometer having a range of about 53°C (100°F), approximately 77°C to 130°C (170°F to 270°F) on a scale at least 18 cm (7 inches) in length, subdivided in 1 or 2 degree divisions. An alternative instrument having equal accuracy, precision and reliability may be used subject to approval by a thermal process specialist.

The official temperature-measuring device must be tested for accuracy and calibrated against an accurate standard when installed and at least once a year thereafter, or more frequently if necessary, to ensure the accuracy is maintained. Each thermometer must have a tag or other method of indicating the date on which it was last checked for accuracy. Records must be maintained showing the thermometer accuracy checks, date, standard used, method used, the results of the test and any adjustments made, and the name of the person who performed the test. When a thermometer has a divided-mercury column, it is removed immediately upon discovery, repaired and standardized, or replaced.

The mercury-in-glass thermometer - not the recorder chart - is the official reference for the process temperature. Thermometers must be installed where they can be read easily and accurately by the operator.

Bulbs of all thermometers must be installed either within the retort shell or in external wells attached to the retort and not in the lid or door. External wells or pipes must be connected to the retort through at least a 19 mm (¾ inch) diameter opening and equipped with a 1.6 mm (1/16 inch) or larger bleeder, so located as to provide a full flow of steam past the length of the thermometer bulb. The bleeders for external wells must be designed to emit steam continuously during the entire processing period.

All aspects of a retort process must utilize only one temperature scale (either Celsius or Fahrenheit). The process specifications must utilize Celsius or Fahrenheit, but not both.

Verification

Inspect the mercury-in-glass thermometer and the installation. Look for breaks in the column, improper installation, lack of a bleeder, the field of view to the operator and any other aspect which would require corrective action. Check the physical size of the thermometer as well as the range and divisions on the scale.

Verify that the thermometer has been checked against an accurate standard, calibrated, certified and tagged showing the date, standard used, and the person who performed the test.

If the mercury column is broken or the thermometer is inoperative or has not been certified, it must be removed and replaced with a certified and fully operative thermometer before any further processing occurs. Determine if the product safety has been jeopardized by the use of the faulty or uncertified thermometer.

Confirm from log books, temperature charts and operating or maintenance personnel, if the pressure gauges have been kept in good condition and that the pressures shown during the operating cycles equate to the temperatures.

See Appendix A for temperature/pressure tables.

Check the retort operator's log to ensure that entries of temperatures from the thermometer are being made and assess their reliability.

Confirm that all aspects of the processing system uses only one temperature scale (either Celsius or Fahrenheit).

3.4 Temperature Recorders and Controllers

Reason

Accurate temperature recorders are necessary in order to provide an adequate record of the temperatures applied during the process.

Compliance

Each retort must have a temperature-recording device.

Temperature-recording devices must be installed where they can be read easily, are free from heat and vibration, with a minimum number of bends in the thermal tube (coils are not considered to be bends) and protected against damage. The manufacturer's instructions for operation and maintenance must be followed.

If a temperature-recording steam-controlling instrument is used and the temperature recorder bulb is mounted within an external well, the well should have a 1.6 mm (1/16 inch) or larger bleeder opening, emitting steam continuously during the processing period.

The temperature recorder is adjusted so it agrees with or reads lower than the mercury-in-glass thermometer in the range of 0.5°C (1°F). The temperature recorder must never read higher than the mercury-in-glass thermometer.

Temperature recording chart graduations do not exceed 1°C (2°F) within a range of 10°C or 20°F of the processing temperature. The working scale is not more than 12°C per cm or 55°F per inch within a range of 10°C or 20°F of the processing temperature.

The time on the recorder chart must be adjusted to agree with the actual time of day on the official wall clock at the start of each shift.

The temperature recorder chart must identify retort number, date, product, batch, and other data as necessary so the chart can be correlated with the retort record of lots processed. The date and retort and chart number shall be recorded on the chart during placement in the recorder. The retort operator's signature or initials will mark each record and after the record has been reviewed the reviewer's signature or initials shall be added to the record.

The recorder charts used must be those specified by the instrument manufacturer. Recorder charts are also required to have ink available at all times.

A means of preventing unauthorized changes in adjustment must be provided. A notice from management is posted at or near the recording device as a warning that only authorized persons are permitted to make adjustments, or a lock is affixed to the instrument, to provide a satisfactory means for preventing unauthorized changes.

Air-operated temperature controllers require an adequate filtering system to ensure a supply of clean, dry, and oil-free air.

All aspects of a retort process must utilize only one temperature scale (either Celsius or Fahrenheit). The process specifications and temperature-measuring devices must utilize Celsius or Fahrenheit, but not both. Errors in conversion could result in improper processing.

Verification

Inspect the temperature recorder or recorder controller and confirm that it is properly installed and maintained. Check the retort operator's log book and ensure that the temperatures from the recorder charts are within 0.5°C or 1°F of the mercury-in-glass thermometer and also if these temperatures have ever been higher than the mercury-in-glass thermometer readings.

Determine if there is a means of preventing unauthorized changes in adjustment of the recorder and/or controller. Search for a lock, or a notice from management posted at or near the recording device warning against unauthorized adjustment. If there is no obvious lock or notice, discuss the importance of this factor with the processor and ensure that appropriate action is taken without delay.

Confirm that the temperature scale used, i.e. Celsius or Fahrenheit, is consistent with all other aspects of the processing system.

3.5 Timers, Clocks

Reason

A reliable timing mechanism is a basic requirement and a critical factor in the scheduled process.

Compliance

Each retort area must be equipped with a large, readable, timing device. It must be installed where it can be easily read by the retort operator from the retort operating positions.

Each clock must have a backup, to ensure timing continuity in the event of a power interruption. Clocks must have sweep second hands or numbers on digital timers indicating both minutes and seconds in order to avoid a potential 2 minute timing error.

A wrist-watch, recorder or any other timing device, is not considered to be satisfactory for the timing process.

If more than one timer is required in the retort area due to the area's size or configuration, the timers must be checked for accuracy and synchronized at least once every 24 hours of operation.

Verification

Observe the timing device to ensure that it can be easily read by the retort operator from the operating position, and determine if it is this timing device that is used for timing the process.

Determine the accuracy of those timing devices that have hands, and ensure that the second and minute hands coincide accurately. Confirm that, if multiple timing devices are used, they are synchronized.

4. Retort Equipment

4.1 Applications General

FIR, Schedule I, Part II - Section 28

Every cannery shall be equipped with one or more:

  1. sealing machines of a type approved by the Minister; and
  2. retorts equipped with properly installed
    1. mercury-in-glass thermometer,
    2. pressure gauge,
    3. steam spreader, and
    4. venting valves.
FIR, General, Section 34

Canned fish shall be sterilized by a method approved by the Minister.

Reason

Proper thermal processing of canned food is the most important step in the canning procedure. This section covers the equipment commonly used in processing low-acid canned fish products and the proper installation of this equipment to assist canners to properly equip their plants and safely carry out thermal-processing operations.

A temperature distribution study is carried out to determine the distribution of temperatures throughout a loaded retort, under the most demanding normal operating conditions. The retort plumbing configuration and container loading arrangement will influence how the steam flow is delivered to the containers in the retort load. The most important information obtained from this study is the location in the retort of the lowest temperature. A temperature distribution study will determine the ability of a steam supply to completely purge all air from a retort, with a specific plumbing configuration and a particular loading arrangement, and the time required for this to be accomplished. This determines the venting schedule required.

Results of temperature distribution studies must be interpreted and evaluated by a thermal process specialist.

Temperature distribution studies must be conducted when there are changes in retort plumbing or in the arrangement of the containers in the retort or when there is an introduction of dividers. As stated above, the distribution of temperatures and the lethality delivered may be affected as a result of these changes.

Compliance

Retorts must be installed to meet the minimum requirements. One set of specifications is set forth in the Recommended Canadian Code of Hygienic Practice for Low-Acid and Acidified Low-Acid Foods in Hermetically Sealed Containers (Canned Foods).

A construction inspection of each retort installation is conducted annually to confirm that piping and retort layout has not been altered or has been done in accordance with the minimum requirements.

Temperature distribution tests or other documentation from the thermal process specialist is available for each retort installation, each container size and loading arrangement, to confirm that the venting schedules are adequate (see section 4.9).

The scheduled process to be followed for sterilizing canned fish must be submitted to the CFIA for filing prior to any commercial production.

For all applicable retorts in the facility, the company must have available temperature distribution data to support the adequacy of the vent schedule.

Verification

Inspect the records of temperature distribution tests for each retort and determine that the last study conducted refers to the current retort configuration.

Determine the frequency of temperature distribution studies (as specified by the thermal process specialist) carried out on each retort and the thermal process specialist who evaluated the results.

In the case of "still" retorting, when using air pressure while processing in water, the adequacy of the water circulation to provide uniform heat distribution within the retort must be established in accordance with procedures recognized by a competent thermal process specialist.

In the case of "still" retorting, when using steam with air over-pressure for processing retort pouches or semi-rigid containers, the adequacy of the circulation system to provide uniform heat distribution in the retort must be established, by a thermal process specialist, using the racking system designed for these containers.

In the case of steam retorting using agitation and continuous container movement, temperature distribution data from the manufacturer or a thermal process specialist demonstrating that adequate venting is achieved must be obtained and kept on file by the processor for reference by the CFIA.

Confirm filing of the scheduled process with the CFIA.

4.2 Bleeders

Reason

In retorts which use steam alone as the heating medium, bleeders must be used to continuously remove any air entering the retort with the steam and to provide circulation of steam in the retort, particularly around temperature-sensing elements.

Bleeders allow for a full flow of steam past the thermometer and the temperature recorder/controller sensing elements to ensure accurate readings of the temperature in the retort are obtained.

Compliance

Bleeders must be installed to meet specifications set forth in the Recommended Canadian Code of Hygienic Practice for Low-Acid and Acidified Low-Acid Foods in Hermetically Sealed Containers.

Bleeders (except those in retorts that use air over-pressure during the processing) must be kept fully open and emit steam during the entire process, including venting. All bleeders must be located so that the operator can observe that steam and air are escaping during processing. A 1.6 mm (1/16 in.) or larger opening is used to bleed wells for mercury thermometers or temperature recorder bulbs. All other bleeders must be 3 mm (in.) or larger.

In horizontal retorts, bleeders must be located along the top of the retort within approximately 0.3 m (1 ft.) of the outermost locations of containers at each end. Additional bleeders are located not more than 2.4 m (8 ft.) apart along the top.

Vertical retorts must have at least one bleeder located in that portion of the retort opposite the steam inlet.

In retorts utilizing top steam inlet and bottom venting, an adequately sized condensate bleeder is installed in the bottom of the retort to indicate and assist in the complete and continuous removal of condensation. Its discharge is located so its operations can be observed.

For crateless retorts with top steam entry, there is one or more 9.5 mm (in.) or larger condensation bleeder at the lowest point at the bottom. When a false bottom is employed in a crateless retort, it must have a 3 mm (in.) or larger condensate bleeder with its opening just below the false bottom, but at a point higher than the condensation bleeder.

When bleeders are equipped with mufflers or a noise suppressor to reduce their noise level, evidence that air removal is not significantly impeded by the mufflers is kept on file. This may be in the form of temperature distribution data, a letter from the manufacturer, the designer, or a thermal process specialist.

Bleeder mufflers must be periodically checked for proper operation. If clogged or in disrepair, they must be repaired or replaced.

Verification

Verify the location of all bleeders and determine if they would be easily seen to be emitting steam from the operator's position, are operative and kept in good repair.

4.3 Compressed Air Lines

Reason

Compressed air is used on retorts for control systems, to provide air for pressure cooling, and in retorts used for flexible or semi-rigid containers to provide over-pressure during the cooking process. Proper design of equipment, piping and valves is essential to ensure the unrestricted operation of the control systems and to prevent any air leaking into the retort during the cooking cycle, which could result in inadequate processing.

Compliance

When air pressure is used during the cooking or cooling of containers in a retort, a globe valve, ball valve or equivalent must be used on the air-supply line to prevent any air from leaking into the retort when it is not required.

The air compressor used for pressure cooling on processing systems is separate from that used to supply air for controlling the instruments, and is suitably designed to provide oil-free air at sufficient pressure and capacity for the process being used, and has an adequate filter system. An alternative to a separate compressor would be an installation with an adequate air supply which could ensure no drop in pressure to the instruments, and could also provide clean air for pressure cooling.

When air is used for over-pressure during cooking, the proper pressure is controlled by an automatic pressure control unit and a pressure recorder is provided. A check valve is provided in the air-supply line to prevent water from entering the air system.

If air is used to promote circulation in retorts it must be introduced into the steam line at a point between the bottom of the retort and the steam-control valve.

Verification

Determine if there were any changes or modifications in the air lines to the retort since the last construction and equipment inspection.

Check, with the compressed-air system pressurized, if there is any leakage of air from the closed shut-off valves which could result in inadequate venting or underprocessing due to air entering the processing steam.

Ensure that any air used in the retorts is from an oil-free, filtered supply and that a compressor, separate from that used for the control systems, is used for retort pressurizing or air circulation.

4.4 Crates, Baskets, Trays, and Stacking Racks

Reason

Insufficiently perforated bottoms and sides in crates, baskets and trays, may prevent adequate temperature distribution in the retort.

Rough projections or sharp corners may damage the containers.

Compliance

All crates, baskets, trays, stacking racks and false bottoms in crateless retorts must be made from approved material and adequately perforated.

All rough projections, weld beads, sharp corners or edges, and wire ends in baskets must be ground smooth to prevent any possible damage to the containers.

For water-cook systems, the crates, baskets, and trays are equipped with a cover to secure containers below the cook water level.

When perforated sheet metal is used for the bottoms and sides, perforations shall be approximately 2.5 cm (1 in.) holes on 5.0 cm (2 in.) centres or the equivalent in size and/or arrangement.

Verification

Inspect and verify that crates, baskets and trays, gondolas and other equipment used to hold containers in retorts are made of adequately perforated strap iron, sheet metal, or other suitable material, and that there are no rough or sharp projections that could damage containers.

Ensure that there are sufficient perforations for adequate distribution of the heating and cooling medium, as per temperature distribution tests (see section 4.9).

4.5 Dividers/Separators

Reason

Insufficiently perforated dividers prevent adequate distribution of the steam throughout the retort. The steam must be distributed uniformly throughout the retort to ensure that all containers receive the required exposure to heat.

Use of plastic spacers as dividers is preferred to metal as they cause less container abrasion.

Compliance

In still retorts, unless the scheduled thermal process is designed to take into account the effect of container nesting, containers that can nest must be placed in baskets with an adequate divider between each layer to prevent nesting.

Where dividers are used, they shall have 2.5 cm (1 in.) holes on 5.0 cm (2 in.) centres or the equivalent in size and/or arrangement, to allow the adequate circulation of steam during the process.

For retort pouches, special racks must be used to restrict the maximum thickness of the pouch and to allow the free flow of the heating medium (i.e., steam, hot water) on both sides of the containers. Racks incorporating false bottoms can be used for this purpose.

The use of baffles is not permitted as they restrict venting and steam distribution, except when used to prevent splashing-in-water cooling, below the steam spreader.

Use of burlap sacks, boards, sugar sacks, towels, or other similar materials for separators is not acceptable.

See Appendix A, Table A.2 for Divider Plate Perforation specifications.

Verification

Compare the design of dividers/separators against the specifications set forth in the Recommended Canadian Code of Hygienic Practice for Low-Acid and Acidified Low-Acid Foods in Hermetically Sealed Containers.

Verify that the dividers fit the baskets adequately in order to prevent can nesting at the outer edges of the dividers.

Check and record the size and arrangement of the holes in the dividers. Confirm that they meet minimum requirements.

Determine if the configuration of the containers allows nesting. If so, check the scheduled process to see if it specifies that nesting is allowed. If not, dividers must be used. If baffles are used, determine if they are located and used properly.

For retort-pouch processing, check that the racks being used restrict the thickness of the retort pouch to no more than the thickness specified in the scheduled process.

4.6 Drains

Reason

Drains are required in retorts for rapid removal of water after cooling. They may also be used to ensure the removal of all condensate during the venting and cooking cycles. In vertical retorts, when steam is admitted at the top, the drain may also be used as a vent.

A large proportion of the air in a retort is absorbed into the condensate, which is continuously removed via the drain during venting.

Compliance

All retorts must ensure continuous removal of condensate throughout the venting process. A steam trap or "cracked drain" may be used for condensate removal from the retort during cooking.

In a vertical retort with top-steam entry, the drain must be open to the atmosphere when it is used as a vent.

Where there exists the potential for a can to enter or block the drain, screens or grates must be installed over the drain to prevent such an occurrence.

The drain should be large enough to permit rapid removal of water after cooling.

If drains are used to remove condensate, the drain opening must be visible to the retort operator.

Verification

Confirm that drains meet the specifications set forth in the company's retort drawings.

Confirm that the drain is able to remove all of the cooling water from the retort quickly. A drain at least as large as the inlet water pipe is the minimum size which will ensure this requirement.

4.7 Safety and Pressure-relief Valves (Retorts, Pre-Cookers and other pressure vessels)

Reason

A pressure-relief valve, approved by the agency having jurisdiction, of a capacity sufficient to prevent undesired increases in pressure, must be fitted to every pressure vessel, namely retorts and pre-cookers, for the safety of all personnel.

To avoid the danger of excessive pressure, retorts and pre-cookers must be equipped with safety valves with adequate capacity. These valves should be constructed, located and installed so that they cannot be rendered inoperative. Most pressure codes require that the relieving capacity of safety valves be such as to prevent a rise of pressure in the retort of more than 10% above the maximum allowable working pressure. Their discharge must face away from the operator's working area.

Pressure-relief valves protect against undesirable increases in pressure. Such valves automatically prevent the pressure from rising too high during the manual operation of the pressure cooling cycle. For retorts, they are typically set at 4-5 psi above the processing pressure.

Compliance

Any vessel which is used under pressure must meet certain safety standards. This may be a boiler code which is covered under ASME Code for boilers, or if it is unfired, it may be covered by the ASME Unified Pressure Vessel Code.

There are many special types of cookers, sterilizers, and pressure-treatment vessels used in the food industry, and even if the jacket alone is under pressure, it must meet certain specifications.

Verification

No inspector is to start or carry out the inspection of a pressure vessel which is not properly protected with a pressure-relief safety valve in good operating condition. If the inspector has any question as to the adequacy or reliability of the safety valves, the company is to supply information from the local boiler inspection service or other competent source, to prove that the safety valves have been tested recently and that they are in working order.

Inspect and ensure safety valves are installed on all retorts, are serviced annually (or when necessary) and checked during processing to ensure that they are not encumbered in any way such as being closed and secured with a wire to prevent blow off. The frequency of these safety-valve checks will depend on the retort usage. Usually the safety valves are checked once or twice per operating season if it is a short season.

4.8 Steam Spreaders

Reason

Steam spreaders which are properly designed and installed ensure that the steam is distributed to all areas in the retort for effective and uniform venting and heating.

Compliance

Effective steam spreaders must be installed in horizontal retorts, running the full length of the retort.

The perforations are along the top 90 degrees of the pipe, within 45 degrees of either side of top dead centre.

In vertical retorts, bottom-steam spreaders, if present, are in the form of a cross or straight pipe with the perforations along the top or sides of the pipes.

In crateless retorts with top-steam entry, steam enters through a circular steam spreader.

The number and size of holes in the steam spreader is such that there is a minimum of back pressure and a uniform flow of steam.

See Appendix A, Table A.3, for minimum hole requirements in steam spreaders.

Verification

Confirm that steam spreaders are installed to meet specifications set forth in the Recommended Canadian Code of Hygienic Practice for Low-Acid and Acidified Low-Acid Foods in Hermetically Sealed Containers.

Inspect the steam spreader's installation and verify that the piping is secure and the original integrity of the piping, as documented on the retort diagram, has been maintained. Check the location, size, spacing and number of holes in the spreader and determine if the total cross-sectional area of the perforations is equal to 1.5 to 2 times the cross-sectional area of the smallest restriction in the steam-inlet pipe. Hole sizes may be measured using drill bits of known size.

Confirm that bottom-steam spreaders, if present in vertical retorts, are in the shape of a cross or straight pipe with the perforations along the top or side of the pipes. In crateless retorts with top-steam entry, steam should enter through a circular steam spreader.

4.9 Temperature Distribution Tests

Reason

A temperature distribution test shall be conducted to establish an adequate venting schedule for each retort process. Temperature distribution tests must be carried out on each container size and configuration of loading or the venting schedule for the most difficult container size and loading configuration to vent must be determined and used as the standard.

Thermocouples should be located throughout the retort so that the processor has identified the location where the air removal from the retort system is the most difficult. Each retort system has an established venting schedule which will depend on such factors as the type and size of the retort shell, the size and configuration of the steam and vent piping, the quantity of steam supply, size and configuration of the valves, type of loading system in the retort, and the size and style of container being processed.

Having completed sufficient temperature distribution tests to establish the venting schedule for the particular retort installation, the processor must specify in the venting schedule, both a time and a temperature which will ensure that a saturated-steam environment is provided throughout the entire retort. Other factors, where deemed critical as a result of information gained from the distribution tests, must be specified in the venting schedule. Critical factors for a vent schedule can include minimum steam-supply pressure, maximum number of retorts which could be vented at one time, vent valve and supply-steam valve operation during the venting procedure, retort basket loading or partial loading of retorts.

Compliance

Temperature distribution tests must be available for review by the CFIA.

Verification

Determine from documented temperature distribution tests, that the processor has information available to verify that the venting schedule is adequate.

4.10 Vent Piping

Reason

Vents are large outlets, controlled by valves. They are required to ensure that all air is removed from the retort before the process timing is started.

Compliance

Every retort must be equipped with sufficient vent openings, controlled by fully opening valves such as gate or plug-cock type valves, to permit rapid discharge of air from the retort during the venting period.

Good quality, fully operational valves are required to ensure the unrestricted flow of air and steam through the vent piping during this short period.

All manifolds in vent piping must be constructed such that there is a minimum of restriction to the steam/air flow during the venting process. The piping must be properly designed and sized to ensure minimum restrictions to flow and minimum friction loss.

The vent is located in the opposite portion of the retort from which the steam is admitted. The vents and all external lines and manifolds are short and as free from bends as possible. There are no additional valves or check valves installed in the vent piping or vent manifolds as these impede proper venting.

Vents must not be connected directly to any closed drain system. There must be an atmospheric break in all vent lines which are connected to a drain.

If a vent manifold connects several vent pipes from a single retort, the cross-sectional area of the manifold pipe must be greater than the total cross-sectioned areas of all the connecting vent pipes (use as a guide Appendix A, Table A.4). The temperature distribution test is used to verify the effectiveness of the vent schedule.

Verification

If a manifold header connects vents or manifolds from several retorts it must lead to the atmosphere within as short a distance as practicable and with as few bends as possible. No valves may be present. The cross-sectional area of the manifold header is at least equal to the total of the cross-sectional areas of all connecting pipes from the retorts which vent simultaneously.

Confirm that vent piping is designed to meet specifications set forth in the Recommended Canadian Code of Hygienic Practice for Low-Acid and Acidified Low-Acid Foods in Hermetically Sealed Containers.

Refer to vent-piping schematic drawings during the construction and equipment inspection to determine if changes were made to any component of the venting system.

Inspect the vent piping from each retort to ensure that there is only one valve in the vent line. Vent valves must be shut-off valves (gate valves) and not a throttling type valve.

Record the type of valves used on the vent pipe or manifold. Determine if they are suitable valves, such as a gate or ball, which open fully to permit the rapid discharge of air from the retort during venting. Globe or similar type valves are not recommended due to the high internal friction which produces a high pressure loss.

Record vent valve size and the sizes and lengths of the vent pipe and manifold. Determine if the quantity of fittings, bends, and headers has been kept to a minimum.

Where the retort vents to the drain, verify that there are no direct connections from the retort to the drain which could allow back-siphoning from the drain into the retort. Confirm that the vent is in the opposite side of the retort from the steam spreader.

Determine how many retorts are brought up to temperature at any one time and that the available steam is sufficient when the venting of all retorts occurs simultaneously. This is especially critical when a number of retorts are running at the same time, either cooking or venting, as steam availability must be ensured.

4.11 Water Piping and Controls

Reason

Some water lines are used as vents, as well as for circulating water during water cooks and for cooling containers in the retort after cooking. They must be properly designed and equipped with appropriate valves to ensure adequate venting as well as good heat transfer during cooking and cooling cycles.

The installation of back-flow prevention devices or vacuum breakers on the water-supply piping to the retort prevents the plant water supply from becoming contaminated from retort cooling water due to back-siphoning.

Dripping from the water spreader could cause underprocessing of any containers that may be located directly under the drip. Therefore the valves on the water-supply line must be maintained in good operating condition.

Both top and bottom water inlets to the retort may be desirable to provide for the most efficient cooling procedure.

Compliance

Water valves for throttling should be globe or equivalent valves with replaceable seals, which are maintained in good condition. For fully open or fully closed operations, gate or ball valves or equivalent are recommended.

If containers are to be cooled by flooding in the retort, the pressure and size of the water-supply line and inlet must be adequate to ensure rapid filling of the retort.

For spray cooling in the horizontal retorts, water enters at the top, through a full length water spreader inside the shell. The distribution of the water by the spreader must be uniform to ensure effective cooling.

A sufficient quantity of holes are made in the water spreader to provide adequate water distribution for proper cooling of the containers. It is suggested that there be at least three rows of holes in the lower 90° quadrant of the water spreader, to ensure that water is distributed uniformly. Alternately, there are at least two rows of holes facing upward to provide water splashing off the top of the retort for uniform coverage of the containers.

If the retort is to be vented through the water spreader, the total cross-sectional area of the holes is equal to, or greater than the cross-sectional area of the vent pipe. See Appendix A, Table A.5 for number and size of holes to be used when venting from the water spreader.

In horizontal "still" retorts, the water spreaders may be designed so that the header pipe extends past the location of the last retort basket. As an example, a single 6 mm (¼ in.) diameter hole is drilled in the bottom of the header pipe, so that water will empty out of the header away from any product in the retort baskets. If a water valve is leaking, this hole will provide visual indication of this condition and if the water valve leaks during retorting the header will not fill up and the leaking water will drip away from any product being processed.

The overflow line is located near the top of the retort above the top layers of containers. Gate, or other suitable valves are used to permit unrestricted flow.

In retorts using water as the heating medium through circulation systems, the systems are installed in such a manner that:

  1. the water is drawn from the bottom of the retort through a suction manifold and discharged through a spreader that extends across the top length of the retort;
  2. recirculating pumps are equipped with a bleed petcock in the pump casing that is used at daily start-up to assure that the pump is free of air; and
  3. the pump must be equipped with a pilot light or other signalling device to warn the operator if it is not running.
Verification

During the annual construction and equipment inspection of each retort installation, record any changes that have been made to the retort (piping, valves, pumps, etc.) and if a critical change has been made to the system, a temperature distribution test must have been carried out to revalidate the vent schedule.

In retorts which vent through the water spreaders, check that the number and size of the holes in the water spreader are as specified in the compliance table. The holes may be measured using drill bits of known size.

Inspect the water spreader installation and look for secure piping and clean holes in the pipes. For water spreaders with upward facing holes, confirm that the spreader pipe extends past the last retort basket and that a 6 mm (¼ in.) hole is drilled in the bottom cap for drainage.

Confirm that there is no dripping from the water spreader when the valve on the water-supply line is closed.

Follow the routing of the water-supply lines to the retorts, to determine that there are no bypasses after the water-treatment system.

4.12 Water Retention Tank for Cooling Water

(To be issued at a later date)

5. Steam Supply and Boilers

5.1 Applications General

FIR, Schedule I, Part II - Section 27

An adequate supply of steam shall be maintained at a sufficient pressure for the operations of the cannery.

Reason

Steam, which is vaporized water, is the most extensively used heat-transfer medium in food plants. Steam can be generated at a central point and piped to many locations. The pressure is related to temperature in approximately the same ratio inside and outside containers when it is used for sterilization in retorts.

Dry, saturated steam is an ideal vapour, free from suspended droplets of water.

Wet steam contains unvaporized water in suspension, which may result from condensation after the steam has left the boiler. The quality of wet steam is expressed in terms of the percentage of the total weight which is vaporized. For example, 90% quality steam has 10% of the water left in it.

The scheduled thermal process is based on very strict limits for both time and temperature, in order to obtain commercial sterility.

A sufficient supply of steam is necessary to ensure complete venting of the air from the retort during the venting cycle. Inadequate steam pressure or quantity could delay the completion of the venting of the air in the retort and subsequently cause a deviation from the scheduled process.

If the steam pressure in the supply line or the quantity of the steam flow is inadequate to hold the required temperature for the required time, the scheduled process will not be achieved.

Compliance

The capacity of the steam producing equipment and the capacity of the pipes and valves supplying steam to the retort are such that the steam pressure to the retort is maintained at 90 psi (6.3 kg/cm2, 620 kPa) or greater with the majority of the vents fully open, and the retorts being vented according to the filed process. Or where the steam pressure to the retort is less than 90 psi, the adequacy of the steam supply is validated by the temperature distribution data and the minimum steam pressure - under specified operating conditions - is listed as a critical factor of the filed process.

Each retort must be equipped with an automatic steam controller to maintain retort temperature accurately, activated by air or electricity, and responsive to either temperature or pressure. If the controller valve is smaller than the steam-inlet pipe, an optional steam-bypass valve can be installed for use during the venting period when the steam demand is higher than the capacity of the automatic temperature control valve.

Steam lines are used to deliver adequate volumes of steam, at adequate quality and pressure, to each point of application, throughout the processing plant. Long lines must be provided with adequate condensate traps, to ensure that condensate is removed promptly in order to maintain acceptable steam quality.

Steam used directly for food processing must be free from contaminants, such as suspended alkalis or acids, that may contaminate the product. Rust or scale may clog lines or interfere with the operation of valves or instruments. Any impurity which will adversely affect the food must be kept out of the steam.

The steam supply system should:

  1. be insulated to minimize the formation of condensation; and
  2. have sufficient quantity of efficient steam traps to remove all the condensate properly; and
  3. have adequate strainers to ensure the removal of all scale rust or other foreign materials in the lines.

The bypass valve at the steam control valve allows delivery of steam in case of problems with the regulating valve. In some installations, the steam bypass may be used regularly during the venting or come-up, if the steam demand is greater than that of the capacity of the control valve. This is particularly true if a small control valve is used. Since uncontrolled excessive pressure in the retort might lead to equipment damage and personal injury, the operator must never leave the retort while the bypass valve is open.

Verification

Confirm that the steam supply meets those specifications set forth in the Recommended Canadian Code of Hygienic Practice for Low-Acid and Acidified Low-Acid Foods in Hermetically Sealed Containers.

Refer to steam-supply schematic drawings or the schematic of the system, to verify that no changes were made to any component of the steam-supply system since the last annual construction and equipment inspection. The following information should be maintained on file:

  1. number of boilers and capacity (as noted on the manufacturer's nameplate, in hp) which supply steam to the retort(s);
  2. header pipe sizes for the main steam supply;
  3. size and capacity of the steam-control valve and associated bypass valves on each retort;
  4. pipe size, its length to the retort and the quantity and sizes of branch lines off the main header.

Determine the maximum number of retorts that are brought up to process temperature at one time and if the available steam is sufficient when the venting of this maximum quantity of retorts occurs simultaneously.

During retort operation, watch for the following which could indicate that the steam supply may be insufficient:

  1. excessive pressure dropping when retorts are vented;
  2. inability to meet venting requirements;
  3. extended come up time; and
  4. temperature fluctuations.

Check on the possibility of contamination from steam condensate which accumulates on the steam line during shutdown. Check also for carry-over of boiler additives in the steam used to exhaust air from the containers. Such carry-over will leave a powdery film on the containers. A water-bath cook heated with live steam will show detinning of the containers.

The quantity of steam which a pipe will carry without an excessive drop in pressure depends on the pipe diameter, the quantity of bends, valves and other flow restrictions which are involved in the system.

6. Post-process Handling Equipment

6.1 Applications General

FIR, Part IV - Section 34

Canned fish shall be sterilized by a method approved by the Minister.

FIR, Schedule II, Section 27

Canneries and all equipment and utensils used in the operations of a cannery shall be kept in good repair and in a clean and sanitary condition.

FIR, General, Section 24

No person shall export or import or attempt to export or import cans of fish

  1. that have not been properly sealed;
  2. the tops or bottoms of which have been distorted outwards; or
  3. that are otherwise defective.
Reason

The safeguarding of our food products against bacterial spoilage is dependent upon three conditions:

  1. the application of heat to the product for a time and at a temperature sufficient to produce commercial sterility;
  2. the sealing of the container in such a manner that microorganisms cannot re-enter and contaminate the sterilized product;
  3. the proper post-process handling procedures which protect the finished closures from damage, which can cause leakage or post-process contamination.

The microbial load on the container-handling lines and resultant contamination transferred to the containers are related to the amount of moisture present. Moisture facilitates the transfer of bacteria to the container closure and also increases the ability of bacteria to move through the closure into the container.

The drying belt can be a potent inoculator. The use of the drying belt should be discouraged.

Procedures such as running containers at high speed into dead ends, sharp turns in line direction, excessive bumping or jamming, may cause small deformations and strains on the seams. Even a momentary break in the seal may pull bacteria into the container.

Compliance

Handling of hot and wet containers after retorting must be prevented. Only containers that are cool (less than 110°F, 43°C), not distended and preferably dry may be handled by employees or equipment, since the handling of hot, wet containers will aid the transfer of bacteria into the container (i.e., unloaded from baskets).

The containers must be protected from contamination while cooling. Potential sources of contamination include dust, dirt, debris, condensation, and pooled water.

The containers must not be subjected to rough handling or to shocks which would cause the containers to leak.

The conveyors and equipment must be maintained in good repair and be kept in a clean and sanitary condition. Wherever possible, equipment must be kept dry.

The area where baskets are tipped to drain off excess water must have restricted access to prevent contact of personnel and clothing, aprons, gloves, and other foreign objects with the hot and wet containers.

There must be perimeter barriers around the cooling areas which prevent the entry of unauthorized personnel.

The equipment used for post-process handling must be kept clean and sanitary.

With respect to all conveyors, container runs, junctions, diverters, turns and all micro switches, there are no sharp corners, sharp objects, abrupt reversals, collisions, very sudden stops or similar conditions that could cause damage to the containers.

The belts do not have any staples or broken sections which could cause damage to the containers.

Verification

Temperature abuse in storage areas must be prevented.

Determine what post-processing practices and procedures are followed to ensure that the heat-processed containers remain commercially sterile.

Inspect container-handling systems in the post-process area to ensure that systems meet requirements and prevent damage to containers.

Inspect the container cooling and drying procedure. If a drying belt is used, it must be properly maintained.

Observe the post-process handling procedures for rough or unsanitary practises. Determine the storage procedures and whether the containers are stored labelled or unlabelled (called "bright" when referring to metal containers).

Determine if there is any temperature abuse as well as the type of temperature control in the warehouse.

Check for the presence of rust on containers which could be an indication of improper temperatures and humidity levels in the warehouse.

6.2 Cooling and Interim Storage

Reason

Hot and wet containers are very susceptible to contamination because the sealing compound has not yet hardened, and the container cooling will facilitate the movement of bacteria into the container, as a vacuum is drawn.

Since moisture on the double seam or container facilitates the transfer of bacteria and increases the ability of bacteria to pass through the closure into the container, the interim storage area is required to be constructed so that it can be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition free from sources of contamination. All workers in the cooling and interim storage area must be aware of the proper handling procedures for containers in this area.

Compliance

Entry to the post-process and container-cooling area must be restricted to authorized personnel only. Workers in the area must ensure that hot, wet containers are not touched by hand and that no impact damage occurs in the moving, or tipping for draining, of the crates, baskets or trays. Clean gloves, dipped in disinfecting solution, must be worn when handling the crates or baskets. Any sudden movements or sharp impacts must be avoided. The cooling area must be clean and sanitary and free from sources of contamination, such as dust, dirt, debris and condensed or pooled water which could contact the cooling containers.

The area where baskets are tipped, to remove excess water after exit from the retort, is designed for drainage of all water.

The interim storage area is a dry-working area and is constructed so that it can be maintained in a dry, clean and sanitary condition. Due to the nature of the operation, it is accepted that floors are level and drains are not considered mandatory providing their absence does not hinder sanitation.

Air for the forced-air cooling system is drawn from a source which is clean and free from dust and other contamination.

The use of foot baths is recommended for personnel entering the post-process area.

The post-process and container-cooling area is separate and restricted to only those personnel authorized to be in the area. All people entering this area must be aware of the requirement that hot/wet containers are not to be handled.

Glove-dip facilities and rubber gloves must be available so that anyone handling baskets of containers which are cooling, must wear gloves which have been properly sanitized in a disinfectant solution.

Verification

Determine that any interim storage area used for post-process storage or handling of containers after retorting, meets the above compliance requirements.

6.3 Handling Systems

Reason

Proper hygienic design of container-handling equipment is a major factor in prevention of post-process contamination of canned foods. Poor hygienic design will create conditions which may encourage the growth of microorganisms on wet surfaces resulting in potential sources of contamination.

Protection of the canned food must extend to the post-cooling container-handling systems. Studies have indicated that excessive bacterial contamination may develop on wet and soiled post-cooling container-handling equipment, even though the cooling water is chlorinated and of good sanitary quality. Bacterial contamination may be transferred, in varying degrees, to the seam areas of the containers and may lead to contamination of the product.

Containers should be handled gently. If the containers are roughly handled after processing, the seams may be damaged and the container bodies dented. Dents may fracture the lacquer coating inside the container. Leaks caused by dents or by damaged seams can result in the contamination of the product. Containers are also very susceptible to loss of vacuum, due to rough handling. This loss of vacuum may also lead to contamination of the product.

Compliance

The palletizing machine, or bright stacker, must be designed so that it can be kept clean and sanitary at all times. Container runs are designed so that surfaces and runways are dry where they contact the seams of the containers.

The handling systems at all post-process stages must be designed, constructed and operated in such a manner that they can be easily cleaned. Rough handling, drops, collisions, and abrupt reversals must be prevented. All systems must be free of sharp projections, which may cause damage to containers. These systems must be inspected periodically and where rough handling is apparent, the operation or equipment must be adjusted to eliminate problems. Continuous belts are used in container-handling systems.

Verification

Inspect all equipment used for handling filled containers to ensure that unnecessary contact between container double seams and conveying surfaces is avoided.

Inspect for sharp bends and long drop sections where containers could be damaged due to the momentum of those coming later and hitting them.

Determine that there are no sharp points on welds, at junction points on conveyors or guide rails. Check for obstacles such as nuts, bolts and rivets protruding into the path of the containers, which would prevent the smooth, free flow of containers.

Appendix A - Tables

A.1 Temperature/Pressure Table

The following table shows the gauge pressure corresponding to a specified process temperature, at various altitudes:
Temp
Deg. F
Sea
Level
Temp
Deg. C
Feet above sea level
500
Feet above sea level
1000
Feet above sea level
2000
Feet above sea level
3000
Feet above sea level
4000
Feet above sea level
5000
Feet above sea level
6000
200 93.3
205 0.5 0.9 96.1
210 0.4 0.9 1.4 1.8 2.3 98.9
212 0.0 0.2 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.4 2.9 100.0
215 0.9 1.1 1.4 1.9 2.4 2.9 3.3 3.8 101.7
220 2.5 2.7 3.0 3.4 3.9 4.4 4.9 5.3 104.4
225 4.2 4.5 4.7 5.2 5.7 6.2 6.6 7.1 107.2
230 6.1 6.3 6.6 7.1 7.6 8.0 8.5 9.0 110.0
235 8.1 8.3 8.6 9.1 9.6 10.0 10.5 11.0 112.8
240 10.3 10.5 10.8 11.3 11.7 12.2 12.7 13.1 115.6
242 11.2 11.4 11.7 12.2 12.7 13.1 13.6 14.1 116.7
245 12.6 12.9 13.1 13.6 14.1 14.6 15.0 15.5 118.3
248 14.1 14.3 14.6 15.1 15.6 16.0 16.5 17.0 120.0
250 15.1 15.4 15.6 16.1 16.6 17.1 17.5 18.0 121.1
252 16.2 16.4 16.7 17.2 17.7 18.1 18.6 19.1 122.2
255 17.8 18.1 18.3 18.8 19.3 19.8 20.2 20.7 123.9
260 20.7 21.0 21.2 21.7 22.2 22.7 23.1 23.6 126.7
265 23.8 24.0 24.3 24.8 25.3 25.8 26.3 26.8 129.4
270 27.3 27.5 27.8 28.3 28.8 29.3 29.8 30.3 132.2
275 30.9 31.2 31.5 32.0 32.5 33.0 33.5 34.0 135.0

A.2 Divider Perforations

Specifications for Divider-plate Perforations
Hole Size Distance Between Hole Centres % Effective Open Area
9 mm (⅜ in.) 20 mmin.) 20%
13 mmin.) 25 mm (1 in.) 20%
20 mmin.) 38 mm (1 ½ in.) 20%
25 mm (1 in.) 50 mm (2 in.) 20%
38 mm (1 ½ in.) 76 mm (3 in.) 20%
45 mm (1 ¾ in.) 88 mm (3 ½ in.) 20%
9 mm (⅜ in.) 14 mm (9/16 in.) staggered 40%
13 mmin.) 25 mm (1 in.) staggered 23%
16 mm (⅝ in.) 21 mm (13/16 in.) staggered 54%
25 mm (1 in.) 44 mm (1 ¾ in.) staggered 30%

A.3 Holes in Steam Spreaders

Number of Holes for Steam Spreaders
Size of Holes (inches) Number of Holes
Steam Inlet Size - Standard Pipe (inches)
1 1 ¼ 1 ½ 2 2 ½
3/16 47-63 82-109 111-148 183-244 261-347
7/32 35-46 60-80 82-109 134-179 192-255
¼ 27-36 46-61 63-83 103-137 147-196
5/16 17-23 30-40 40-54 66-88 94-125
12-16 21-28 28-37 46-61 66-87
7/16 21-28 33-45 48-64
½ 12-16 16-21 26-35 37-49

A.4 Guideline - Pipe Sizes for Venting

Manifold Pipe Size (inches) Connecting Pipe Size (inches)
½ ¾ 1 1 ¼ 1 ½ 2 2 ½ 3 4 5 6
1 2
1 ¼ [5] [3]
1 ½
2 6 4 2
2 ½ 9 5 3 2
3 8 5 3 2
4 8 6 4 2
5 10 6 4 2
6 8 6 4 2
8 10 6 4 2
10 11 6 4 2

Note: Numbers in [ ] exceed the area of manifold; all installations validated through a temperature distribution test.

A.5 Holes in Water Spreaders

Venting through Water Spreaders - Minimum Number of Holes in Water Spreaders when used for Venting
Hole Size (inches) Smallest Restriction in Vent Outlet (inches)
1 ¼ 1 ½ 2 2 ½ 3 3 ½
3/16 55 74 122 174 268 359
7/32 40 55 90 128 197 264
¼ 31 42 69 98 151 202
5/16 20 27 44 63 97 129
14 19 31 44 67 90
½ 11 18 25 38 51

Subject 3 Compliance Guidelines for Can Screening Establishments using Double-dud detector and Checkweigher

PDF (503 kb)

1. Scope

This document outlines the requirements an operator of a mechanical can screening facility must meet in order to qualify for a fish export licence (Fish Export Licence policy to be issued at a later date). These same requirements apply when a mechanical screening facility forms part of a registered establishment.

2. Authorities

Fish Inspection Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. F-12; Part I
Fish Inspection Regulations (FIR), C.R.C., 1978, c. 802

3. Definitions

Biassed Sample - refers to a sample that has been selected by identifying a specific portion of the total population (see definition for Eject Cans). (échantillon biaisé)

Can Screening Report - means the report of the screening run containing the information found in Appendix B. (rapport de tri)

Checkweigher - the first machine in the screening line. The purpose of the checkweigher is to weigh all cans in a lot and to eject those cans above or below designated set-points. (trieuse pondérale)

Coincidental Ejects - cans that have been ejected from the double dud detector based on both top and bottom end deflections being outside the operating set-points. (boîtes éjectées pour double défaut)

Commercially Sterile - the condition obtained in a food that has been processed by the application of heat, alone or in combination with other treatments, to render the food free from viable forms of microorganisms, including spores, capable of growing in the food at temperatures at which the food is designed normally to be held during distribution and storage. (Food and Drug Regulations) (stérilité commerciale)

Compliance Sampling - the compliance sampling plan for container integrity is based on a two-class attribute acceptance plan.

Inspection: sample size (n) is 200 cans and the acceptance number (c) is zero (0) serious defects.

Reinspection: sample size (n) is 1250 cans and the acceptance number (c) is zero (0) serious defects. (Reference: Government of Canada Visual Inspection Protocol) (échantillonnage de conformité)

Cull - means the removal of cans with serious defects from a lot of low-acid or acidified low-acid foods. (Reference: Government of Canada Visual Inspection Protocol) (élimination sélective)

Defective Cans - a unit which fails to meet one or more dimensional specifications or visual standards outlined in the Metal Can Defects Manual. (boîte défectueuse)

Defect Rate - means the frequency of serious defects per 100,000 cans screened. (nombre de défauts)

Double Dud Detector - the equipment designed to identify and eject low vacuum cans. (détecteur bi-calibre)

Eject Cans - means those cans with end deflections or gross weight outside of the operating set-points for either the dud detector or the checkweigher. These cans are more likely to contain defects than non-ejected cans and form a biassed sample of the total population. Eject cans are examined and may be returned to the lot if they are found after inspection to be good order cans. Any potentially defective cans must be held for confirmation and classification of the defect. (boîtes éjectées)

Ejection Rate - the percentage of ejected cans. (taux d'éjection)

End Deflection - the vertical distance from the top edges of the double seam to the lowest point on the can end. (déformation des bouts)

Good Order - meets the requirements of the regulations. (bon état)

Hand Culling - means a combination of visual and tactile can-by-can examination, to identify and remove defective cans. (tri manuel)

Inspection - means the physical examination of a lot of low-acid or acidified low-acid foods to verify that it meets all the requirements of the Fish Inspection Regulations and Food and Drug Regulations. (inspection)

Inspection Lot - means a lot limited to one container type and size, one product type and style, originating from one processing establishment normally bearing one identical lot or production day code. (Reference: Government of Canada Visual Inspection Protocol) (lot d'inspection)

Laboratory - means a laboratory acceptable to the regulatory agency having jurisdiction. (Reference: Government of Canada Visual Inspection Protocol) (laboratoire)

Leakers - those cans which have lost hermetic seal (definition from Common Inspection Approach). (fuyard)

Mechanical Screening - means the use of a double dud detector and checkweigher or other automated equipment to draw a biassed sample in order to determine the safety of the lot. (tri mécanique)

Minor Defect - a minor condition is one which is clearly an abnormal container characteristic, but one which does not result in loss or potential loss of container integrity, and consequently does not represent a potential public health risk. (Reference: Metal Can Defects Manual) (défaut mineur)

Operating System - refers to documented procedures (e.g., standard operating procedures) that are developed, implemented and maintained by the operator of the mechanical screening facility to ensure that the facility is operating in compliance with the requirements of the FIR. (système d'exploitation)

Owner's Representative - the person duly authorised to act or speak on behalf of the owner of the lot of product. (mandataire)

Qualified Person - means a person competent to carry out the assigned task, normally gained through experience and/or training. (personne qualifiée)

Reconditioning - the removal of defective units from the suspect code. (reconditionnement)

Reinspection - for the purpose of this document, means the inspection of a previously screened lot of low-acid or acidified low-acid foods for the presence of serious defects after the lot has been culled. (réinspection)

Screening Run - a screening run consists of one or more day codes from one production year from one establishment. Each screening run must have cans with uniform ends and bodies. (lot soumis à l'examen)

Serious Defect - means any container:

  1. which is swollen;
  2. which shows evidence that the hermetic seal is lost or seriously compromised; or
  3. is unsuitable for distribution and sale as stipulated in the Food and Drugs Act section 4 and/or sections 27.003 and 27.005 of the Food and Drug Regulations.

These defects are described in the Metal Can Defects Manual. Some products may appear slightly swollen due to overfilling by design or due to gas packing. If this is verified by the inspector, these cans are not considered to be swollen. (Reference: Government of Canada Visual Inspection Protocol and Metal Can Defects Manual) (défaut sérieux)

Sort - means the segregation and control of product that has been damaged during storage or transportation. (tri)

Suspect Codes - means those codes that may contain unacceptable levels of defective cans. (code suspect)

4. Roles and Responsibilities

4.1 The operator of the mechanical screening facility is responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of a written operating system that provides a reasonable level of assurance that canned fish is assessed to verify compliance with standards for container integrity.

4.2 The operator of the mechanical screening facility is responsible for providing information to the owner or the owner's representative, for each screening run specific to the can code, the number of cans in the screening run and the number and classification of any defects identified.

4.3 The operator of the mechanical screening facility is responsible for ensuring that they contact the owner, or the owner's representative, to determine whether any swollen can suspected of not being commercially sterile should be sent to a laboratory for sterility analysis. The operator of the mechanical screening facility is responsible for informing the CFIA office of those lots containing swollen cans that are suspected of being non-sterile and holding the suspect code.

4.4 As part of a cannery's Quality Management Program (QMP) Plan, canneries may include can screening as a verification of a critical control point (CCP) in their HACCP plan, or as a CCP.

4.5 The cannery is responsible for providing the operator of the mechanical screening facility with information necessary for the operation of the checkweigher and double dud detector, such as the amount of allowable overfill (see point 7.1(5) below).

4.6 The cannery is responsible for providing product information to the buyer or the owner's representative to allow for compliance with the labelling requirements of the Fish Inspection Regulations and, if applicable, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations. This information includes, but is not limited to, the correct name of the fish species in the container, the container's net weight, and any special labelling information. The operator of the mechanical screening facility is responsible to ensure that they have this information prior to screening any products.

4.7 The cannery where the fish was processed is responsible for the identification of product distribution to its first shipping destination under its Lot Accountability and Notification Program.

4.8 The cannery where the fish was processed is responsible for the procedures to notify the CFIA of any valid health and safety complaints under its Lot Accountability and Notification Program.

5. Mechanical Screening Facility and Equipment

5.1 Mechanical screening facilities must include in their operating system information on proper can handling procedures to prevent damage to the cans. Can-screening equipment must be constructed and operated so that can damage is prevented (e.g., proper loading of the de-palletizer, automated boxing machines timing mechanisms, mechanical push bars, the absence of sharp edges on conveyors, design of eject collection boxes which will avoid abrasion and impact points).

5.2 The checkweigher and double dud detector must be installed and maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions, specifically:

  • the checkweigher (CW) must be installed before the double dud detector (DDD) in order to remove excessively overweight cans and/or gross leakers before they reach the double dud detector;
  • the DDD equipment must have separate can counters for each can end; and
  • the DDD must ensure that coincidental ejects are accounted for during operation.

5.3 Suitable dry storage areas must be available for labelled and unlabelled product and a secure can storage area must be available to store defective cans.

5.4 All applicable inspection tools must be properly calibrated, i.e., weigh scales, deflection gauges, and micrometers. A description of the procedures for calibrating equipment must be included in the operating system plan.

6. Employee Qualifications

6.1 The operator of the mechanical screening facility will ensure that qualified persons are available to configure and operate the equipment on the screening line.

6.2 Only persons qualified to classify defective cans shall examine the ejected cans. Qualified persons shall classify the defects in accordance with the Metal Can Defects Manual.

6.3 The operator of the mechanical screening facility will ensure that qualified persons conduct an evaluation of each screening run, and complete and sign a Can Screening Report (see Appendix B).

6.4 Only qualified persons will perform the responsibilities associated with the reconditioning of any suspect codes.

7. Checkweigher (CW)

The primary purpose of the checkweigher is to weigh all of the cans in a lot and to eject those cans at or below an underweight set-point, and those cans at or above an overweight set-point. Ejected underweight cans may have leaked during the process but may still have maintained a vacuum (e.g., a pin hole that may be sealed by coagulated protein). Ejecting overweight cans will allow the DDD to sample cans with low end deflections due to low vacuum rather than excessive weight.

7.1 Checkweigher set-up

The operator of the mechanical screening facility must provide as part of their operating system a description of the set-up procedures they will follow in determining the checkweigher underweight and overweight settings, which includes the following steps:

1) Define the screening run

A screening run consists of one or more day codes from one production year from one establishment. Each screening run must have cans with uniform ends and bodies.

2) Sampling to establish checkweigher settings

The set-points are determined through the following sampling procedure.

  1. Sampling is carried out in order to establish checkweigher set-points if company weight data from in-season end-of-line monitoring is not available.
  2. Sample cans must be representative of the screening run. Therefore, they must be drawn from various locations throughout the pallets and from as many pallets in the screening run as possible.
  3. For a screening run containing five (5) day codes or less, the minimum sample size is 50 cans.
  4. For a screening run containing more than five (5) day codes, an additional 10 cans should be sampled for each additional day code, to a maximum of 100 cans.

3) Calculation of average gross can weight

The average gross can weight of each screening run is determined by:

  1. calculating the average weight of the sampled cans; or
  2. taking the average weight of the can codes as supplied from data gathered by the canner during in-season end-of-line monitoring.

4) Determination of underweight set-points

The underweight set-point can be determined by one of the following methods:

a) Determine the value for (t1), which is a calculation that is equal to the declared weight minus the tolerance. The term (t1) is used to describe a defective sample that exceeds the prescribed tolerance by one tolerance unit. The procedure for calculating (t1) is outlined in the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations (see Chapter 14 of the Fish Products Inspection Manual). These values are dependent on the can label weight. The set point is determined by subtracting the value for (t1) from the average gross can weight of the sample.

or

b) The set-point is determined by deducting 5 grams for each 100 grams of fill weight (calculated to the nearest whole gram).

or

c) The set-point may be determined by using Quality Control data to determine the average gross weight of the can codes and subtracting three standard deviations to yield a set-point. (Note: The checkweigher calibration adjustment should be set at "0" and should not be changed.)

or

d) Adjusting the set-point to obtain a minimum 0.25% ejection rate consistently throughout the screening run to ensure ejection of the "population outliers".

5) Determination of overweight set-points

The overweight set-point is determined by the canner as the amount of overfilling that will not result in bulging cans, when the product is heated to a temperature of 35°C (reference: FIR Section 35). Examples of checkweigher overweight factors for canned salmon are included in Appendix A.

7.2 Overweight or underweight screening runs

Screening runs which had been identified as being overweight or underweight can be reconditioned using the screening line, providing the operating set-points of the checkweigher will not compromise the settings used to identify defective cans.

7.3 Checkweigher operating checks

  1. Routine operating checks must be completed at least every four hours to: demonstrate that the checkweigher is operating within the specified limits; prevent a loss of control; and allow for adjustments of the checkweigher before a deviation occurs. The procedures must be described in the operating system. The operator must be able to demonstrate that their operating check achieves the desired results. An operating check requires that cans of known weight are run through the checkweigher at the normal operating line speed to verify the acceptance/rejection point of the checkweigher machine. As a minimum, a can that exceeds the checkweigher ejection set-point by 10 grams, and a can that is below the checkweigher set point must be ejected 100% of the time. See Appendix A for an example of canned salmon operating checks.
  2. If the line speed is changed more than ± 15% of the normal operating speed, the checkweigher must be retested as in section a) above.
  3. Each checkweigher must be challenge tested at least once every 40 hours of operation at normal operating line speeds. This activity provides a test of the checkweigher's calibration. For an example of the checkweigher 40-hour challenge testing see Appendix A.

8. Double Dud Detector (DDD)

8.1 A properly operated double dud detector must:

  • eject cans with zero vacuum, and
  • select a biassed sample from the can population that is most likely to contain defects, i.e., lowest vacuum cans.

8.2 Double dud detector set-up procedures

The operator of the mechanical screening facility must provide, as part of their operating system, a description of the set-up procedures they will follow in determining the initial set-point, the minimum set-point and the upper set-point for the double dud detector.

8.3 Establishing manual dud detector setting

  1. Sample cans must be representative of the screening run. Therefore, they must be drawn from various locations throughout the shipping pallets and from as many pallets in the screening run as possible.
  2. Sample size should be 50 to 100 cans, depending on the number of codes in the lot. The recommended sample size is 50 cans for up to five (5) day codes, with an additional ten (10) cans for each day code above five codes.
  3. Sample cans must be inspected prior to the DDD to ensure they are good order cans.
  4. Initial set-point: For a 3% ejection rate, select the second lowest end deflection reading for each end and adjust the DDD for 100% ejection. For a 7% ejection rate, select the third lowest end deflection reading.
  5. Minimum set-point: Initial set-point minus 0.005 inches.

8.4 Establishing automatic double dud detector setting

  1. Run the first 50 cans per screening run through the auto-DDD.
  2. The operator is to check the cans and print out a histogram to ensure that the set-point is correctly established and all cans were good order. End deflection readings used to establish initial set-point for the DDD should not be > 0.002 in. from the next value.
  3. The DDD is automatically set to eject 100% of all cans with end deflections below the minimum set-point.

8.5 Double dud detector operating checks

  1. Ensure that the target ejection rate is maintained at a 3% minimum total for each screening run. For example, either 1.5% each end, or 2% top (code) end and 1% bottom (integral) end. Set-points may vary during the screening run to attain the target ejection rate (i.e., at 350 cans per minute, approximately five (5) cans per minute should be kicked-out for each end, i.e., 10 cans in total).
  2. Equipment should not operate below the minimum set-points.
  3. If the ejection rate becomes unmanageable and there is a requirement for the set-point to be lower than the established minimum, then the set-up procedure must be repeated to establish new set-points before continuing with the screening run.
  4. The frequency of set-point adjustment should be kept to a minimum, i.e., once per pallet. The target ejection rate (for each end) should be evenly distributed throughout the screening run as described in point a) above.
  5. Cans must all be oriented either all code-end up or all code-end down during the screening run.
  6. For manual DDD only, the screening line operator shall:
    1. calculate and record the ejection rate once per hour and at the end of the screening run; and
    2. verify and record the operating set-point, at least once per hour, or more frequently as necessary to determine that the operating set-point does not fall below the minimum set-point. This is especially important when adjusting the setting downward.

    The following procedures should be used to verify the operating set-points.

    • Measure the top and bottom end deflections of 6 good order cans.
    • Measure the end deflections of 6 cans ejected for their bottom deflections and 6 cans ejected for their top deflections.
    • Record, for each end, the highest end deflection of the ejects and the lowest end deflection of the corresponding good order ends as the operating range.
  7. Each double dud detector must be audited (i.e., challenge tested) at least once every 40 hours of operation at normal operating line speeds following a procedure outlined in the operating system. The results of this test must show a unique distribution of the data for ejects as compared with the data for the good order cans. For an example of the DDD 40-hour audit see Appendix A.

9. Handling, Control and Disposition of Cans

9.1 Handling ejected cans from the checkweigher

All cans ejected from the checkweigher (CW) must be manually weighed to identify gross underweight cans (potential leakers), as well as gross overweight cans. All cans ejected must be examined by a qualified person for any defects, with labels removed. Good order cans may be continuously returned to the line before the DDD (refer to Appendix A for information on canned salmon). All defective cans are marked for identification.

If no container defects are found, underweight cans are held for possible re-canning, or re-labelling. Gross overweight cans are destroyed.

9.2 Handling ejected cans from the double dud detector

All ejected cans shall be inspected for defects. All defective cans are marked for identification. Good order cans may be returned to the labelling line.

9.3 Defects properly classified

All ejected cans identified as being defective must be classified in accordance with the criteria identified in the Metal Can Defects Manual. Information on the screening run, (e.g., classification and number of all defective cans and the number of cans screened) shall be entered into the Can Screening Report (see Appendix B). The deflections of defective cans must be determined and recorded for evaluation as described below in section 10.2.

9.4 Control and disposition of defects

All cans classified as containing a serious defect, minor droops, or as being overweight, must be kept in a designated, secure storage area within the establishment where the mechanical screening facilities are located.

All cans with serious defects must be destroyed. Cans with minor droops must either be re-canned or destroyed. Gross overweight cans must be destroyed.

An accurate system must be in place to control defective cans requiring destruction. The status of these defects must be recorded on the Can Screening Report and initialled by the appropriate personnel once the defective cans have been destroyed.

10. Screening Run Evaluation and Decision

To decide on the acceptability of the can screening run, the screening establishment must evaluate:

  • can screening line performance;
  • defects ejected by the checkweigher and double dud detector; and
  • defect rate of the screening run.

10.1 Can screening line performance

The validity of the screening run results is dependent on both the checkweigher and double dud detector maintaining the target ejection rate throughout the entire screening run.

10.1.1 Provide selective sampling by ejecting a target 3%.

Can screening operating records must demonstrate that a 3% biassed sample of cans with low-end deflection and with low weight were ejected by the can screening line.

10.1.2 All cans in screening run passed through both machines

A review of the operating records for both the checkweigher and the double dud detector indicates that all the cans passed through both the checkweigher and double dud detector before being labelled.

The evaluation must demonstrate that the can screening line was operating properly as described in this document. If this is not the case, the results of the can screening run are not valid and cannot be used.

10.2 Evaluation of the defective cans ejected by the can screening line

When an evaluation of the defective cans ejected by the can screening line shows that:

  • a majority of the deflections of the defective cans are within the tolerance limit of the DDD 40-hour challenge test (Appendix A); or
  • a considerable number of cans had the same type of defects,

there is a potential for an unacceptable number of serious defects still being present in the good order labelled production. In this case, the can screening warehouse must contact the owner or the owner's representative, who in consultation with the canner should take the appropriate actions to verify that there is no unacceptable number of serious defects present in the good order labelled production. An accurate record of the decision and any relevant information must be kept.

10.3 Evaluating the defect rate of the screening run

An evaluation of the defects by classification, canning line and by production code should be done, to determine if a particular code or type of defect was the major contribution to the defect rate.

When the serious defect rate is less than 25 per 100,000 cans, the can screening run results are acceptable and the product can be released for market.

When a screening run is found to have a serious defect rate of greater than 25 per 100,000 cans, the operator of the mechanical screening facility must contact the owner or the owner's representative, who in consultation with the canner should conduct an assessment to decide as the best way to:

  1. cull the lot; or
  2. conduct a compliance sample of the screening run, using a sample size sufficient to be confident that the identified defect has been removed from the good order product.

A single serious defect identified in a small screening run (under 4,000 cans) would exceed the defect rate of 25 per 100,000. This screening run may be evaluated as acceptable if the canner has Quality Control data or data from other screening runs for the same code indicating that the code is acceptable.

11. Culling of Screening Runs

When a decision has been made to cull the screening run, an evaluation of the screening run and the type of defects should be used for guidance as to whether the defects are linked to a specific code and the best method for culling. Based on this evaluation, the owner or the owner's representative, in consultation with the canner, may choose one of the following culling options.

11.1 Screening line

Results of the evaluation indicate that the suspect code or screening run will be successfully culled through the use of a screening line. Set-up and/or operating procedures should be followed that would ensure the particular defects are removed by the screening procedure. An evaluation of the culled lot should be performed to verify that the defective cans are removed.

11.2 Mechanical seam-scanning device

The results of the evaluation indicate that the suspect code will be successfully culled through the use of a mechanical seam-scanning device. The owner or the owner's representative may choose to utilize mechanical seam-scanning equipment to cull the suspect code, e.g., use of a Can Guard to remove cans with specific types of double seam defects.

11.3 Hand culling

The results of the evaluation indicate that hand culling will be successful in bringing a suspect code or entire screening run in compliance. Visual and tactile can-by-can examination (hand culling) must be carried out under the following conditions:

  1. The hand culling crew must maintain concentration during the operation, otherwise the hand culling must be stopped.
  2. Good lighting must be provided in the inspection areas to properly inspect cans and avoid eyestrain or fatigue. Section 1.7 of Chapter 5, Subject 1 of this manual sets out the light intensity levels that must be available.
  3. The hand culling crew must not use gloves unless either the fingers are cut off or one glove is removed. This is to ensure that defective seams can be identified with bare fingers.
  4. The evaluation indicates that either the suspect code will be successfully reconditioned without the removal of the labels, or the labels must be removed due to the location or type of defect.

Removing the label from the individual cans would not be necessary during a screening run where it can be demonstrated that the label would not interfere with the culling. However, the labels would have to be removed from each sample can during compliance sampling for can integrity assessment in accordance with the Government of Canada Visual Inspection Protocol.

12. Shipment Meets Regulatory Requirements

12.1 Final shipment information

The operator of the mechanical screening facility must describe and implement a method to trace each shipment to the first shipping destination. The operator of the mechanical screening facility must maintain the following information for each shipment:

  • the fish species;
  • the quantity;
  • the method of transportation including manifest, container numbers or other information sufficient to trace the location of each shipment;
  • the date of shipment; and
  • the date on which each shipment was mechanically screened.

12.2 Label and carton information

The operator of the mechanical screening facility must describe the procedures to be followed to ensure that label and carton information match the regulatory product information provided to them by the canner.

13. Records

The following records are maintained by the operator of the mechanical screening facility. Examples of each record are included in the operating system.

  1. The owner of each lot of canned product.
  2. Each screening run of canned product shall have an operating log for the double dud detector detailing the operating information at that specific time (i.e., set-points, total cans screened, ejects). The printed auto DDD record will be considered a permanent operating record for the screening line.
  3. Each screening run of canned product shall have an accurately completed Can Screening Report. This report must detail the quantities, disposition and classification of all defective cans, must be signed by the qualified person responsible for the operation of the screening line, and must be verified by a person responsible for the screening establishment operation.
  4. The shipping records sufficient to identify or trace the canned product to the first destination.
  5. Correct label information for each screening run.
  6. The label being placed on each can matches the label information provided by the canner.
  7. The outside carton information meets regulatory requirements,(i.e., proper can code shown on carton).
  8. Notification to the owner or the owner's representative of any lot being screened, the can code, number of cans in the screening run and the number and classification of any defects identified.
  9. Documentation of the results of routine operating checks and 40-hour challenge test completed on both the checkweigher and double dud detector.

Appendix A
Double-dud Detector and Checkweigher Operating Checks for Canned Salmon

This appendix describes the specific set-point determination procedures and operating checks for screening canned salmon, using double-dud detector and checkweigher.

1. Determination of "Underweight" Checkweigher Set-points

a) Subtract specific weight factors (t1) from the average can weight of the sample. These weight factors are dependent on the can label weight. The term "t1" is used to describe a defective sample that exceeds the prescribed tolerance by one tolerance unit. The procedure for calculating "t1" is outlined in the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations (see Chapter 14 of the Fish Products Inspection Manual).

or

b) The set-point is determined by deducting 5 grams for each 100 grams of fill weight (calculated to the nearest whole gram).

or

c) The set-point may be determined by using quality control data to determine the mean gross weight of the screening run and subtracting three standard deviations to yield a set-point. (Note: The checkweigher calibration adjustment should be set at "0" and should not be changed.)

or

d) Adjusting the set-point to obtain a minimum 0.25% ejection rate consistently throughout the screening run will provide for the ejection of the "population outliers".

2. Determination of "Overweight" Checkweigher Set-points

For canned salmon, the overweight checkweigher set-point is determined by adding the following weight factors to the label weight of the can:

Can Size Label Weight Weight Factor
301 × 106 106 grams 15 grams
307 × 111 170 grams 22 grams
307 × 111.40 180 grams 22 grams
307 × 115 213 grams 25 grams
307 × 200.25 213 grams 25 grams
301 × 408 418 grams 30 grams
3. Checkweigher routine operating check

Routine operating checks will be completed at a frequency included in the operating system. Cans of known weight must be run through the checkweigher at the normal operating line speed to verify the acceptance/rejection point of the checkweigher machine. Cans that deviate from the checkweigher ejection set-point by 10 grams must be ejected 100% of the time.

First test

The checkweigher passes if a can that is 10 grams below and 10 grams above the set point is ejected.

If the cans are not ejected, then conduct a second test by running the cans through the checkweigher 5 to 10 times.

Second test

If the test results are 100% ejection, then the checkweigher passes.

If the can does not eject 100% of the time, then re-calibrate the checkweigher and re-test.

4. Checkweigher 40-hour challenge test

Both the underweight and overweight set-points must be tested.

a) Underweight Set-point: Use a minimum of five (5) cans with exact weights in increments of 2 grams. For example, if the ½-lb. underweight eject set-point is 256 grams, then test the checkweigher with cans weighing 256, 254, 252, 250, and 248 grams respectively. Repeat this test 5 times. The results of the test should agree with the chart below. Use either the pass criteria for ejection rate, or ejections per 5 challenges, depending on the number of cans used during the test.

Test weight (grams) 256 254 252 250 248
Pass criteria ejection rate 50% 75% 90% 100% 100%
Pass criteria, ejections per 5 challenges 2/5 3/5 4/5 5/5 5/5

b) Overweight Set-point: Use a minimum of five (5) cans with exact weights in increments of 2 grams. For example, if the ½-lb. overweight eject set-point is 276 grams, then test the checkweigher using cans weighing 276, 278, 280, 282, and 284 grams, respectively. Repeat this test 5 times. The results of the test should follow the following chart. Use either the values pass criteria for ejection rate, or ejections per 5 challenges, depending on the number of cans used during the test.

Test weight (grams) 276 278 280 282 284
Pass criteria ejection rate 50% 75% 90% 100% 100%
Pass criteria, ejections per 5 challenges 2/5 3/5 4/5 5/5 5/5

Results of Checkweigher 40-hour challenge

First test

If test results were as specified in above tables, then the checkweigher passes.

If test results are lower than the above ejection rates, then conduct a second test.

Second test

If test results were as specified in above tables, then the checkweigher passes.

If the test results are lower than the above ejection rates, then re-calibrate the checkweigher and re-test.

5. DDD Routine operating check

Check automatic double dud detector sensor calibration using the following procedures:

  • measure the end deflection of a can,
  • pass the can through the auto-DDD, and
  • compare the digital readouts to the actual measurements.

First Test

If the DDD readout is within 0.005 inches of the end deflection of the test can, the set-point calibration is acceptable.

If the DDD readout is not within 0.005 inches of the end deflection of the test can, then retest.

Second Test

If the DDD readout is within 0.005 inches of the end deflection of the test can, the set-point calibration is acceptable.

If the DDD readout is not within 0.005 inches of the end deflection of the test can, then adjust the DDD and retest.

6. DDD 40-hour audit

Each double dud detector machine must be tested at least once every 40 hours of operation at normal operating line speeds using the following criteria:

a) At the time of drawing the 40-hour sample, the auto-double dud detector should be in automatic mode.

b) Sample 25 top ejected cans, 25 bottom ejected cans, and 25 good order cans.

c) Measure the end deflections of the sampled cans. Ejected cans only require measurements of top or bottom end deflections as appropriate, while good order cans require measurement of both top and bottom end deflections (i.e., total of 100 measurements).

d) Plot end deflections on a graph with the end deflection measurements along the horizontal axis and the number of measurements on the vertical axis.

First Test

The DDD operation is acceptable if the a graphical plot of the end deflections of good order and ejected cans shows that:

  • the mean of good order cans is greater than the mean of the ejected cans; and
  • the maximum overlap is 0.010 inch between good order cans and low deflection eject cans.
  • If the results exceed the above criteria, then retest.

Second Test

If the DDD meets the above criteria for an acceptable test, then the DDD operation is acceptable.

If the DDD does not meet the above criteria, then the equipment must be adjusted and retested.

Appendix B
Can Screening Report

Can Screening Report. Description follows.

Description - Can Screening Report

Date:
Lot #:
Inspection #:
Packer:
Screening Co.:
Ctn/can size:
Lot size:
Label Order #:
Label:
Quantity (ctn.):
Destination:
Marks:

Samples 1 through 10 - Can Code and Quantity (ctn.)

Manual Dud Detector Settings (0.001 inch) - Canner's End: Manufacturer's End

Checkweigher Settings (grams) - Underweight Setting: Overweight Setting:

Serious Defects
Total defects for: Abrasion, severe; Cut-over; Cut Down Flange; Cut Seam; Double End; Droop; False Seam; Fractured Bottom Profile; Fractured Seam; Knocked Down Curl; Knocked Down End; Knocked Down Flange; Metal Plate Flaw; Pin Hole; Scrap-in-die Mark; Vee

Minor Defects
Total defects for: Droop, Minor; Flipper; Overweight

Total Serious Defects
Total Minor Defects
Total Cans Screened
Total Cans Labelled
Defect Rate: /100,000 cans

Signature:

Remarks:

Subject 5 Compliance Guidelines for Conveyances and Equipment Used for Unloading, Handling, Holding and Transporting Fresh Fish - Fish Inspection Regulations, Schedule V

Introduction

These compliance guidelines are intended to provide guidance to operators of conveyances and equipment used for unloading, handling, holding and transporting fresh fish on the requirements to comply with Schedule V of the Fish Inspection Regulations (FIR) with regards to the unloading, handling, holding and transporting of fresh fish exported for human consumption. The regulatory standard for the construction, equipment and operation consistent with recognised food handling practices is set out in Schedule V of the FIR.

Section 20 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

No person shall unload, handle, hold or transport fresh fish intended for processing unless the unloading, handling, holding or transportation meets the requirements of Schedule V.

Section 21 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

No person shall export, process for export or attempt to process for export any fresh fish unless the unloading, handling, holding and transportation have been conducted in accordance with Schedule V.

1.0 Equipment

Regulation

Schedule V, Section 1 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Forks, pumps, tools, or other equipment and practices that pierce, tear, or otherwise damage or contaminate the edible portion of fish shall not be used.

Intent

The use of forks or the improper use of pumps, shovels, and gaffs will result in discoloration, bruising, blood clots and muscle separation of the edible portion of the fish. Damage caused by sharp instruments will hasten bacterial spoilage, which in turn shortens the shelf life of the fish, causes major deteriorations in product quality and results in lower yields during processing. The potential keeping time is considerably shortened when fish are not handled, stored and transported properly.

The presence of animals around fish unloading sites and transport vehicles is highly objectionable as they and their excreta are a major contamination hazard.

Compliance Guidance

The use of forks is prohibited. Fish must not be forked or thrown onto the wharf, walked over, or handled roughly. Gaffs or a single tined implement may be permitted where no alternate method exists for handling or unloading fish, provided the fish are gaffed or pronged in the head. Pumps and air unloaders will be permitted provided they are constructed and operated in such a manner as to minimize physical damage to the fish and are accessible for cleaning. Fish should be dropped into boxes gently by means of chutes or conveyors, etc. It is recommended that special purpose fish unloading systems such as conveyors, hoists, net bags, or onboard removable containers fitted with lifting lugs be used for unloading fish at the wharf.

Animals are not permitted around unloading sites or transport vehicles.

Regulation

Schedule V, Section 2 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Fish handling equipment, such as chutes, conveyors, fish washers, tables and utensils, shall be of smooth, non-absorbent, non-corrodible material, other than wood, free from cracks and crevices and so constructed as to facilitate cleaning.

Intent

Corrosion-resistant material is required in order to preclude the possibility of contamination of the product with such substances as rust. It is essential that the surfaces of all fish handling equipment be of a non-absorbent and crevice-free material so that they will not become saturated with liquids containing bacteria which would give rise to off-odours and be a source of contamination to the product. If handling and unloading equipment are not constructed in a manner which provides accessibility during regular cleaning operations, accumulation of debris and bacterial contamination of product can occur.

Compliance Guidance

All processing equipment such as chutes, conveyors, fish washers, tables and utensils shall be constructed of suitable materials. Cutting surfaces may be of hardwood construction, but must be smooth with no cracks or crevices. Examples of suitable material are stainless steel, saltwater-resistant aluminum alloys, high density plastic and fiberglass reinforced plastic. Galvanized metal and soft woods are not acceptable. Handling and unloading equipment shall be open and accessible, or easy to dismantle for cleaning of all parts. The equipment shall be free of cracks and crevices that impede proper cleaning.

2.0 Storage

Regulation

Schedule V, Section 3 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

(1) Fish shall be transported in covered containers approved by the President of the Agency or enclosed vehicle bodies.

(2) The contact surfaces of fish storage areas in vehicles and of containers used for transporting fish shall be smooth, free from cracks and crevices and made of non-corrodible material.

Intent

It is essential that all fish contact surfaces be constructed of a non-absorbent and crevice-free material so that they will not become saturated with liquids that contain bacteria, which could give rise to off-odours and be a source of contamination. Corrodible materials are objectionable because they will shed particles that will contaminate the ice or fish. Wood is not acceptable because it is a material which will become soaked with liquids, blood and slime, all of which contain spoilage bacteria and provide a fertile media for their growth. As a result, wood surfaces quickly become sour, giving rise to unpleasant odours and becoming a major source of bacterial contamination to the fish coming into contact with these surfaces.

Compliance Guidance

Vehicles which are used for transporting hazardous or unsanitary materials shall not be used for transporting fresh fish. Examples of these materials are chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, fish offal, waste, garbage, etc. Vehicles that are also used for purposes other than transporting fish (such as transporting other types of food or non hazardous items) shall use suitable containers when carrying fish. Containers used to hold fish at dockside or to transport fish onboard trucks shall be constructed of suitable materials such as saltwater-resistant aluminum alloys, high density plastic, or other materials suitable for contact with food. They shall also be free of cracks and crevices and be constructed so as to provide drainage and prevent crushing when stacked. Containers carried in open vehicles shall be completely covered. Rigid or non-rigid and preferably insulated non-absorbent plastic or rubberized covers, if adequately secured, may be used. Canvas tarpaulins are not acceptable. Vehicles designed solely for transporting fish are not required to use containers, provided the body of such vehicles is enclosed and is constructed of smooth, impervious and non-corrodible material.

Regulation

Schedule V, Section 4 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

(1) The containers and vehicle bodies used to hold or transport fish shall be filled to a level no higher than 90 cm of its depth.

(2) The body of a vehicle used for transporting fish in bulk shall be divided at intervals of 1 m along its length.

Intent

Bulk storage of fish during transportation at a height of greater than 90 cm of the container depth, particularly in very large containers or in containers without proper "shelving and penning" will result in excessive pressure on the fish located at the bottom of the container. This may cause crushing and will result in a loss of texture, possible mutilation of the fish and may squeeze out significant quantities of moisture/liquid, which can subsequently cause an undesirable weight loss in the fish.

Compliance Guidance

Vehicles that transport fish in bulk shall have bodies that are shelved at 90 cm intervals. Vehicles with chilled water or slush ice systems such as herring tankers are exempt from this requirement. Additionally, some species of fish are more susceptible to damage by crushing (e.g., crustaceans, mackerel, and herring) and should be stored at depths less than 90 cm, such as follows:

  • Mackerel - 60 cm
  • Herring - 60 cm
  • Crab - 60 cm

Where fish is transported in bulk, the vehicle body shall also be penned along its length, at intervals not longer than one (1) metre. Pens are not required in vehicles transporting fish in chilled water/slush ice. Where fish is transported in containers, these containers should not be filled to a height greater than 90 cm of the container depth.

Regulation

Schedule V, Section 5 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

(1) Fish held prior to being transported shall be iced or chilled after unloading from a vessel and be protected from the sun and weather and from contamination.

(2) Fish shall be iced or chilled while being transported.

Intent

Temperature is the single most important factor influencing the keeping quality of fish. Sufficient ice must be available to enable adequate icing of the fish. Each one (1) degree rise in temperature increases the rate at which spoilage bacteria present on the surface and in the gut of the fish multiply, which consequently decreases the quality and shelf life of the fish.

Compliance Guidance

Fish held prior to transport shall be covered to protect it from the sun, weather and contamination. A recommended ratio for icing fish is 1 part flaked or finely divided ice to 3 parts fish. Where chilled water systems are used, they must be capable of reducing the temperature of the fish to 4°C or lower. Furthermore, the ice supply must be made from water that is not a source of contamination, in order to prevent contamination of the unloading site equipment, the transport vehicle(s) involved as well as the fish itself. Care must be taken at the unloading site to properly handle, hold and store both the ice and the fish, so that they do not become contaminated with extraneous material such as dirt, foreign objects, bird droppings, etc.

Fish transported in vehicles shall be iced or chilled. Where ice is used, the recommended ratio is 1 part flaked or finely divided ice to 3 parts fish. When transporting fish in bulk, especially on long trips, icing should be heaviest against the sides and floor of the vehicle. This will help to prevent fish from coming into contact with these surfaces, thereby reducing the occurrence of an offensive type of microbial spoilage, i.e., bilgy fish.

Ice left over from a vessel which has just completed a fishing trip must not be used to ice down fish on a transport vehicle as it is contaminated with ice melt water, blood and slime, all of which contain large numbers of spoilage bacteria.

Icing or chilling is not required if the temperature of the fish delivered to the processing plant does not exceed 4°C. Chilled water systems are acceptable for transporting fish provided the temperature of the fish can be maintained at a temperature of 4°C or lower and the fish is protected from the sun, weather and contamination.

3.0 Sanitation

Regulation

Schedule V, Section 6 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Water used for unloading, washing or transporting fish shall be clean and obtained from a source approved by a fish inspection laboratory.

Intent

The water supply used to unload, wash or transport fish must not be a source of biological, chemical or physical contamination.

Compliance Guidance

The source and/or supply of water used for cleaning and/or sanitizing facilities and equipment used in the unloading, handling and transporting of fish must not be a source of biological, chemical or physical contamination. Clean sea water is acceptable for cleaning. Clean sea water is sea water which meets the same microbiological standards as potable water and is free from objectionable substances. Potable water is fresh-water fit for human consumption. Standards of potability shall not be less than those outlined in Tables 7.1 and 7.2 for microbial contaminants and Table A3.3 for chemical contaminants of the latest edition of the WHO International Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality.

Harbour water or water from alongside the dock where the vessel is tied up must not be used for cleaning purposes. This is also the case for water in close vicinity to towns, villages, industrial plants, fish plants and freezer/factory ships.

When water supplies that are not a source of contamination are not readily available for cleaning or sanitizing facilities and/or equipment used in the unloading, handling and/or transporting of fish, contact the CFIA for further guidance.

Regulation

Schedule V, Section 7 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Offal and other refuse shall be disposed of in a manner satisfactory to an inspector.

Intent

The accumulation of offal or other refuse near unloading sites or transport vehicles is unsightly and may give rise to obnoxious odors and unsanitary conditions. Furthermore, birds, insects, rodents, and other animals may be attracted to the area and be a source of contamination.

Compliance Guidance

The method of offal and other refuse disposal must be such that obnoxious odors and unsanitary conditions are not created around fish unloading and handling areas. The presence of birds, insects, rodents, maggots, and other animals result from unsanitary conditions and are unacceptable.

Regulation

Schedule V, Section 8 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Areas where fish is landed or handled and all surfaces which come in contact with fish during unloading, handling, holding and transportation shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.

Intent

These practices are required in order to prevent the accumulation of spoilage bacteria-laden slime, blood and other residues on unloading site equipment, containers and transport vehicles. Contaminated surfaces will in turn contaminate the fish and give rise to offensive odors.

Compliance Guidance

This section will be deemed compliant when all surfaces of unloading, holding and handling equipment that come in contact with fish are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with an acceptable sanitizer (i.e., suitable for food contact surfaces). Vehicles and/or containers and associated equipment that come in contact with fish shall be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each trip and immediately after unloading. Cleaned surfaces shall be disinfected with an acceptable type (i.e., suitable for food contact surfaces) of sanitizing agent.

It is most important that all cleaning be performed with water that is not a source of contamination, so as to avoid the overall contamination of vehicles, containers, and fish handling, holding and unloading equipment. If filth, slime, blood, scales, etc. are allowed to dry and/or accumulate, cleaning will be more difficult. Consequently, cleaning should commence promptly after unloading.

Thorough cleaning can be achieved by using the following steps:

  • Rinsing with a high pressure jet of cold water;
  • Scrubbing with a stiff brush or using a high pressure cleaner in combination with an acceptable detergent;
  • Rinsing with cold water containing a hypochlorite solution or other acceptable disinfectant.

Additionally, pans, utensils, shelf and pen boards shall be allowed to air dry prior to stacking or storing.

For a list of suitable cleaners, please refer to the CFIA's Reference Listing of Accepted Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-Food Chemical Products

Subject 6 Compliance Guidelines for Vessels Used for Fishing or Transporting Fish - Fish Inspection Regulations, Schedule III

Introduction

These compliance guidelines are intended to provide guidance to operators of vessels used for fishing or transporting fish on the requirements to comply with Schedule III of the Fish Inspection Regulations (FIR) with regards to vessels used for fishing or transporting fish exported for human consumption. These guidelines will assist regulated parties in meeting Sections 14.1 and 14.3 of the Fish Inspection Regulations:

Section 14.1 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

No person shall operate a registered establishment unless it meets the requirements of these Regulations.

Section 14.3 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

No person shall use a vessel for fishing or for transporting fish unless the vessel meets the applicable requirements of Schedule III.

1.0 Protection of Catch

Regulation

Schedule, III Section 1 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Areas where fish and ice are stored shall:

  1. have covers to protect the fish and ice from the sun and weather;
  2. be provided with drainage to effectively remove ice melt water and ensure that fish and ice do not come into contact with bilge water or other contamination; and
  3. where it is necessary to prevent physical damage to the fish, be divided into pens which shall be shelved vertically at intervals of 90 cm or less.

Intent

  1. It is essential to minimize any increase in the temperature of freshly caught fish as well as to protect the fish from the sun, weather and sources of contamination.
  2. Effective drainage of ice melt water, blood, and slime is required in order to remove excess liquid, due to the fact that it contains large numbers of spoilage bacteria and is a very fertile media for their rapid growth. Bilge water is also heavily contaminated and must not be permitted to come in contact with the fish holding area.
  3. Bulk storage of the catch without shelving will result in excessive pressure on the fish located at the bottom of the pens. The consequent crushing causes loss of texture, possible mutilation, and discolouration of the flesh. It may also squeeze out significant quantities of moisture/liquid, which can subsequently cause an undesirable weight loss in the fish.

Compliance Guidance

  1. Sun and Weather

    This section shall be adhered to as stated.
    Vessels with holds will be required to have close fitting, preferably insulated covers of suitable material. The opening to a hold shall have a "coleman", meaning a raised barrier around the edge of the opening to the hold which prevents materials on deck from entering the hold. This will reduce air circulation and prevent the melting of the ice, thereby minimizing the temperature increase of the catch. Suitable materials for holds are stainless steel, corrosion resistant aluminium, high density plastic, fibreglass reinforced plastic and smooth coated smooth wood. Smaller vessels with open holds will be required to have a cover, or they may use covered boxes instead. Non-absorbent plastic or rubberized covers, if adequately secured, may be used for short trips. Canvas or polypropylene tarpaulins are not permitted.

  2. Bilge Water and Other Contamination

    Fish storage areas shall be constructed to provide drainage and to ensure that bilge water does not come in contact with fish and/or ice. Adequate measures must be in place to ensure that the bilge itself is prevented from contacting the fish. Contamination from other sources such as grease, oil, etc., in the ice and fish storage areas could result in the loss of the catch. Therefore, equipment such as chain drives, drive-shafts and bearings found in fish storage areas shall be relocated or enclosed in order to protect the fish and ice and to minimize the risk of contamination by equipment. Service facilities such as fuel lines, fuelling ports, waste disposal lines and fuel storage tanks shall not be located in fish storage areas. If these cannot be relocated, they shall be totally enclosed and be watertight. It will not be necessary to enclose below deck bilge pumps, hydraulic lines and hydraulically operated fish pumps, provided they are adequately maintained and coated with suitable epoxy or paint. Rubber hoses must not be painted as flexing causes the paint to flake off.

  3. Physical Damage

    Shelving must be provided for in vessels where the catch is iced in holds that have a depth of greater than 90 cm. Vessels such as herring seiners, equipped with chilled sea water or slush-ice systems, are exempt from this provision. Some species of fish are highly susceptible to damage by crushing. For example, crustaceans, mackerel and herring should be stored at depths much less than 90 cm, such as follows:

    • Herring and mackerel - 60 cm
    • Crab - 60 cm

Construction of Storage Areas

Regulation

Schedule III, Section 2 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Subject to item 3, fish and ice storage areas shall be of non-absorbent, non-corrodible materials, other than wood, and so constructed as to preclude physical damage to the fish and facilitate cleaning and any surfaces that contact fish shall be smooth and free from cracks and crevices.

Schedule III, Section 3 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

In the case of vessels built prior to September 15, 1982 and vessels having no below deck storage areas, built-in fish and ice storage areas shall be so constructed as to preclude physical damage to the fish and may be of wood, if the surfaces are smooth, free from cracks and crevices and coated with a durable, light coloured paint or coating of a type approved by the President of the Agency.

Schedule III, Section 4 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Boxes for fish other than live shellfish shall be of smooth, non-absorbent, non-corrodible material, other than wood, free from cracks and crevices, and so constructed as to provide drainage and protect the fish from damage by crushing when the boxes are stacked.

Schedule III, Section 5 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Fresh fish storage areas shall be separated from engine compartments and other heated areas of a vessel by watertight, insulated bulkheads and wall surfaces, bulkheads and deck heads in frozen storage areas of a vessel shall be well insulated.

Intent

Unless surfaces are of a non-absorbent and crevice-free material, they will become saturated with liquids containing bacteria, which can give rise to off odours and be a source of contamination for the fish that comes into contact with them. Corrodible materials are objectionable because they shed particles that contaminate the ice and/or fish. Wood is also an objectionable material due to the fact that it is absorbent and will become soaked with fluids from the fish, in addition to blood and slime, all of which contain large numbers of spoilage bacteria and provide a fertile media for their growth. As a result, wood surfaces quickly become sour, giving rise to unpleasant odours and become a major source of bacterial contamination to the fish coming in contact with them. In vessels constructed prior to 1982, special efforts will be required to ensure that the wooden hold area is maintained in a sanitary manner, thereby minimizing contamination of the ice and/or fish and preventing consequent quality loss.

Unless the engine compartment and other heated areas are separated from the ice and fish storage area by a properly insulated bulkhead, heat exchange from these areas will occur and result in the melting of the ice. This will allow fish temperatures in the hold to rise, resulting in a loss of quality. Furthermore, bulkheads are required to be watertight in order to prevent any contamination of the fish storage area with fuel, grease or other contaminants.

Compliance Guidance

Schedule III, Section 2 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Vessels built after 1982: Fish contact surfaces of holds, pens (including shelving and dividers), boxes and chilled water tanks shall be constructed of non-corrodible, smooth surfaced, suitable material that is impervious to water. Examples are stainless steel, seawater-resistant aluminium alloys, high density plastic, polyurethane coated cement, or fibreglass reinforced plastic. Holds, pens (including shelving and dividers) boxes and chilled water tanks only coated with epoxy will not be acceptable and will be considered out of compliance.

Schedule III, Section 3 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Vessels built prior to September 15, 1982: Special purpose, light-coloured coatings (suitable for food contact surfaces) may be applied to the surfaces of existing wooden or steel holds, fish kids, checkers and large-holding containers or pens that are not regularly removed from the vessel. If there are severe cracks, crevices or gouges, the hold must be relined prior to applying the coating. Such coatings must be kept in good condition during the fishing season.

Schedule III, Section 4 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Boxes: This section will be adhered to as stated and applies to all removable boxes onboard fishing vessels. Boxes shall be of non-corrodible, non-absorbent suitable material, free from cracks and crevices and constructed to provide drainage and prevent crushing when stacked. Epoxy coated wooden boxes will not be acceptable and will be considered out of compliance. Boxes used for holding live shellfish are exempt from the provisions of this section.

Schedule III, Section 5 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

The insulating material used must minimize heat transfer to fish storage areas. All insulating material must be properly installed. Any ice melt water, blood or slime seeping through the fish hold lining will reduce the efficiency of the insulation and this will, in turn, lead to an increase in the temperature of the fish. All insulation must be properly covered with a suitable, impervious fish hold lining material. All joints must be watertight.

3.0 Fish Handling Equipment and Practices

Regulation

Schedule III, Section 6 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Fish handling equipment, such as chutes, conveyors, fish washers, tables and utensils, shall be of smooth, non-absorbent, non-corrodible material, other than wood, free from cracks and crevices and so constructed as to facilitate cleaning.

Intent

Corrosion-resistant material is required in order to preclude the possible contamination of the product with such substances as rust. Additionally, it is essential that surfaces be made of a non-absorbent and crevice-free material so that they will not become saturated with liquids that contain bacteria, which can in turn give rise to off-odours and be a source of contamination to the product. It is essential that handling equipment be constructed in a manner which provides accessibility during regular cleaning operations and prevents the accumulation of debris that might cause contamination.

Compliance Guidance

All processing equipment such as chutes, conveyors, fish washers, tables and utensils (including knives) shall be constructed of suitable materials, examples being stainless steel, salt water-resistant aluminium alloys, high density plastic and fibreglass reinforced plastic. Galvanized metal and epoxy coated wood are not acceptable and are not considered compliant with this regulation regarding the construction of equipment. Such equipment shall be accessible and/or easy to dismantle so that all parts may be cleaned. Fish cutting boards must not be made of wood.

Regulation

Schedule III, Section 7 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Forks, pumps, tools or other equipment and practices that pierce, tear, or otherwise damage or contaminate the edible portion of fish shall not be used.

Intent

The use of forks and/or the improper use of pumps, shovels and gaffs will result in discoloration, bruising, blood clots, and muscle separation of the edible portion of the fish. Physical damage caused by sharp instruments will hasten bacterial spoilage and will result in a shortening of the shelf life of the fish, a major deterioration in quality and lower yields during processing. It must be emphasized that fish quality deteriorates rapidly and that the potential keeping time is considerably shortened if the fish are not handled and stored properly.

To avoid physical damage, textural defects and discoloration of the fish flesh, fish must not be trampled, walked upon, or roughly handled and must not be piled too deeply on the deck prior to stowage. When a gaff has to be used in fish landing operations (as in long lining), whenever possible, the fish should be landed by hooking under the gills rather than gaffing in the body or lifting by the tail. With heavy fish, the spine may break, resulting in flesh separation.

Fish should be bled as soon as possible after being taken on board the vessel, when most fish are still alive and at a relatively low temperature. The fish should be allowed to bleed for 10 to 15 minutes in a bleeding tank containing clean, continuously running seawater and where applicable (i.e., depending on the species and type of fishery involved), should be properly gutted to remove the viscera, so as to avoid "belly burn", the deterioration of the belly cavity caused by poor or delayed evisceration of the fish after harvest. Care should be taken during bleeding and gutting not to allow pieces of viscera to contaminate the rest of the catch, due to the fact that these tissues are heavily laden with spoilage bacteria and digestive enzymes which will hasten spoilage. Fish should be immediately and properly washed after gutting so as to remove pieces of viscera, blood, slime, etc.

Fish must not be thrown or dropped into the hold, but rather be allowed to slide down chutes, flumes and other devices designed to minimize physical damage to the fish.

For vessels with below-deck storage, rather than throwing or dropping fish into the hold, chutes, flumes or other devices shall be provided to minimize physical damage to the fish. Fish shall not be walked on. Fish viscera, offal and wash water cannot be allowed to contaminate the rest of the catch and must be disposed of in an acceptable manner. Gutted or bled fish must be adequately washed with water that is not a source of contamination prior to storage. Recirculation of wash water is not acceptable.

The presence of animals onboard fishing vessels is not allowed as they and their excreta are a contamination hazard.

Compliance Guidance

The use of forks is prohibited. Gaffs or single tined implements may be permitted where methods of fishing require it, or where no alternate method exists for handling or unloading fish. However, the fish must be gaffed or pronged in the head. Pumps are acceptable, provided they are constructed and operated in a manner that minimizes physical damage to the fish.

4.0 Preservation of Catch

Regulation

Schedule III, Section 8 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Fish, while on board a vessel used for fishing or transporting fish, shall be

  1. preserved by the use of finely divided ice sufficient to reduce and hold the temperature at 4°C or lower, and such ice shall be made from water from a source approved by a fish inspection laboratory; or
  2. preserved by such other methods as the President of the Agency may approve.

Intent

Temperature is the single most important factor influencing the keeping quality of fish. Sufficient ice must be available to enable adequate icing of the catch. Each one (1) degree rise in temperature increases the rate at which spoilage bacteria present on the surface and in the gut of the fish multiply. This in turn decreases the quality and shelf life of the fish. The following chart provides an example of the number of days that can elapse before fish spoilage odours become noticeable when fish is held at various temperatures:

  • 10°C (50°F) - 1.5 days
  • C (41°F) - 3.5 days
  • C (38°F) - 5 days
  • C (32°F) - 8 days

Compliance Guidance

Fish held in pens or boxes should be iced at a recommended ratio of 1 part flaked or finely divided ice to 3 parts fish. The ice shall be made using water that comes from a source that will not result in contamination of the vessel hold and the catch. Ice shall be as evenly distributed as is practical throughout the fish.

A sufficient layer of ice is required between the fish and vessel sides, bulkheads, box sides, etc., in order to prevent the fish from coming in contact with these surfaces, thereby reducing an offensive type of microbial spoilage, i.e. bilgy fish. Refrigerated or chilled seawater systems or other methods that rapidly cool and hold fish at 4°C or lower may be used. Cool ambient temperatures or refrigeration systems producing cool air are not suitable replacements for ice when cooling fish in bulk quantities.

Used or otherwise contaminated ice that is left over from a fishing trip must be removed from the fishing vessel as soon as the catch is unloaded. It must not be used on future trips as it is contaminated with ice melt water, blood and slime, all of which contain large numbers of spoilage bacteria. The salting of fish at sea is acceptable, provided salting is an initial part of the processing.

Regulation

Schedule III, Section 9 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Where chilled water systems are installed on a vessel, such systems shall be of materials approved by the President of the Agency, be constructed to facilitate proper cleaning and be capable of holding fish at −1°C

Intent

For fresh fish, a maximum delay in spoilage is obtained when fish are held at the temperature of −1°C. Care must be taken to ensure that the temperature in the chilled water system does not fall too far below −1°C, as the texture of the fish may be damaged by partial freezing. Non-porous surfaces are to be used in chilled water systems as they reduce the risk of contamination.

Compliance Guidance

This section shall be complied with as stated. The rapid cooling of fish is the primary task of the system. Examples of suitable materials to be used in chilled water cooling systems are stainless steel, high-density plastics, seawater-resistant aluminium and copper-based alloys. The entire system must be designed to allow the easy introduction and effective circulation of the cleaning and disinfecting solutions. There shall be no areas in the system where proper cleaning cannot be carried out.

Slush Ice System

Effective circulation of the ice water around the fish is required. Sufficient ice is required to maintain the fish at 4°C or colder.

Refrigerated Sea Water or Brine Systems

There must be sufficient compressor capacity to prevent a significant rise in temperature of the pre-chilled sea water or brine solution when the holding tanks are being loaded with freshly caught fish. Due to the difficulty in controlling the temperature precisely, the system must continually operate in a manner that would reduce the temperature of the fish to a range between −1°C and +2°C and be able maintain it there.

5.0 Freezing Facilities and Practices

Regulation

Schedule III, Section 10 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Freezing facilities on a vessel shall be capable of freezing the daily catch at a rate equivalent to at least the freezing rate of a 25 mm thick block of fish when the temperature of the thermal center is reduced from 0°C to −20°C in two hours or less.

Note: Definition of thermal centre - "the last point of the fish or packaged fish product to reach the specified temperature".

Intent

Rapid freezing minimizes the deleterious effects that freezing has on the texture of the product. It is therefore important that the freezing system be capable of freezing the daily catch at the target rate of 0°C to −20°C in two hours or less.

Compliance Guidance

This section will be satisfied when:

  • in the case of an air blast freezer, the freezer is capable of freezing fish by means of an air current at a temperature of -30°C or colder, moving at a velocity of not less than 125 metres per minute over the surface of the fish;
  • in the case of a brine freezer, the freezer is capable of freezing fish in a well-agitated brine solution at a temperature of −15°C or colder;
  • in the case of contact or other freezers, this section must be adhered to as stated. In case of doubt, it will be necessary for competent technical persons to determine the freezing rates.

Regulation

Schedule III, Section 11 of the Fish Inspection Regulations
  1. Fish on board a vessel shall be frozen at a freezing rate not less than the rate prescribed by item 10.
  2. In the case of a packaged fish product on board a vessel, the time required to reduce the thermal centre of the packaged product to −20°C shall not exceed 36 hours.
Schedule III, Section 12 of the Fish Inspection Regulations
  1. Except for brine frozen fish, the thermal centre of the fish on board a vessel shall be reduced to a temperature of −20°C or lower before the fish can be removed from the freezer to the cold storage area.
  2. In the case of brine frozen fish on board a vessel, the thermal centre of the fish shall be reduced to −12°C before the fish can be removed from the freezer to the cold storage area.
Schedule III, Section 13 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

After freezing, fish on board a vessel shall be glazed or packaged to protect it against dehydration and oxidation.

Intent

As described in Item 10, rapid freezing minimizes the deleterious effects of freezing on the texture of the product. It is for this reason that a freezing rate has been established. It is important to continue the freezing process long enough to ensure that the thermal centre of the fish or pre-packaged fish product has reached the correct temperature. Tightly packaging the product with impervious material or glazing the fish will protect it from quality loss due to dehydration and oxidation.

Compliance Guidance

Schedule III, Section 11

The type of packaging, thickness of the product and the procedures for loading of product into the freezer must be such that the freezing rate and the time limit specified can be adhered to.

Schedule III, Section 12

In the case of brine frozen tuna intended for canning, the fish must be frozen to a temperature of −l2°C or colder and held there. In the case of other brine frozen fish, the fish may be removed from the brine after the temperature of its thermal centre has been reduced to −l2°C. However, the freezing process must be completed to −20°C in another freezing facility prior to the fish being placed in cold storage. With regards to other freezer systems, this section must be adhered to as stated.

Schedule III, Section 13

The fish must at all times be coated with a good quality glaze that is made from water that will not be a source of contamination, or tightly wrapped in a suitable impervious packaging material.

Regulation

Schedule III, Section 14 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Storage areas in which frozen fish is held on board a vessel shall be maintained at a temperature of −26°C or lower.

Intent

To prevent any change in the quality of frozen fish products during storage, it is important that cold storage areas be maintained at the required temperature of −18°C or lower. Fluctuations in temperature must be acted upon immediately to ensure that product quality is not affected.

Compliance Guidance

Temperatures must be maintained at −18°C or lower, to be consistent with the requirements for registered establishments. Temperature fluctuations will adversely affect the quality of frozen fish. Each cold storage room on the vessel must therefore be equipped with an accurate thermometer or other temperature measuring device, so situated that it will indicate the average air temperature of the room. Temperatures in each cold storage room in the vessel shall be read and recorded at least once a day while the vessel is engaged in fishing or fish transporting operations. The installation of automatic temperature recorders is recommended.

6.0 Sanitation

Regulation

Schedule III, Section 15 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

At least once daily, fish receiving areas and all equipment, containers and utensils used in the handling of fish on board a vessel shall be thoroughly cleaned with water from a source approved by a fish inspection laboratory and disinfected.

Intent

These practices are required to prevent the accumulation of slime, blood and other residues on equipment and utensils. Contaminated surfaces will contain bacteria that lead to spoilage and that present food safety hazards. They will also give rise to offensive odours. If allowed to dry, slime, blood, scales, etc., become very difficult to remove.

Compliance Guidance

All fish receiving areas, equipment, containers and utensils must be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day while the vessel is operating. Cleaning and disinfecting chemicals must be suitable for food contact surfaces. Vessels holding live shellfish are not required to disinfect until the catch has been discharged. Cleaning must be performed with water that will not be a source of contamination of the overall fish handling areas. Following cleaning operations, all equipment and surfaces must be disinfected and then "rinsed off" to remove the disinfectant.

Clean sea water is acceptable for cleaning. Clean sea water is sea water which meets the same microbiological standards as potable water and is free from objectionable substances . In contrast, potable water is fresh-water fit for human consumption. If potable water is used for cleaning, the standards of potability shall not be less than those outlined in Tables 7.1 and 7.2 for microbial contaminants and Table A3.3 for chemical contaminants of the latest edition of the WHO "Guidelines for drinking-water quality".

Harbour water or water from alongside the dock where the vessel is tied up must never be used for cleaning purposes. This is also the case for water in close vicinity to towns, villages, industrial plants, fish plants and freezer/factory ships.

The following method of cleaning is recommended as it has been found to be the most effective:

  1. Rinsing with a high pressure jet of cold water to remove excess slime, blood and scales;
  2. Scrubbing with a stiff brush or by using a high pressure cleaner in combination with an acceptable detergent;
  3. Rinsing with cold water;
  4. Sanitizing with cold water containing a hypochlorite solution or another acceptable disinfectant;
  5. Rinsing once again to remove the disinfectant.

Containers, utensils, penboards and shelfboards shall be allowed to air dry prior to stacking or storing.

Regulation

Schedule III, Section 16 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Following the discharge of fish from a vessel, all equipment and utensils used in the handling of fish and the storage areas, chilled water system, fish containers, penboards and shelfboards shall be forthwith thoroughly cleaned with water from a source approved by a fish inspection laboratory and disinfected.

Intent

It is necessary to clean and remove all fish slime, blood and other residues from all equipment and storage areas as soon as the catch is unloaded. This will reduce the multiplication of micro organisms that lead to spoilage and that present food safety hazards. This practice will also reduce the generation of offensive odours and prevent the drying of residues on the hold or other surfaces which could result in the contamination of future catches. To accomplish these objectives, regular disinfection followed by a rinse is recommended after usual cleaning operations are conducted.

Compliance Guidance

At the end of each fishing trip, promptly after unloading and while surfaces are still wet, all fish holding facilities, penboards, shelfboards, other equipment and utensils that come in contact with the fish shall be washed with clean sea water. Once the washing step is completed, all surfaces and equipment are to be thoroughly scrubbed with a stiff brush or high pressure cleaning equipment, using an acceptable detergent. A rinsing step using water that will not be a source of contamination should then be used. Cleaned and rinsed surfaces should be disinfected with hypochlorite solution or any other acceptable type of sanitizing agent and then rinsed with cold water to remove any remaining disinfectant.

The recirculation of cleaning water is not permitted. Harbour water, or water from alongside the dock where the vessel is tied up, must never be used for cleaning purposes. This is also usually true for water in close vicinity to towns, villages, industrial plants, fish plants and factory/freezer ships.

Cleaning and disinfection must be completed prior to taking on fresh ice for the next trip. In the case of boats equipped with chilled water systems, all pipes and heat exchangers must be flushed with water that will not be a source of contamination and an acceptable cleaning solution is to be used to remove any slime, blood, scales, etc. that may be present. Pipes and heat exchangers should then be flushed once again using water that will not be a source of contamination, in order to remove all traces of the cleaning solution. The use of a disinfectant is also strongly recommended, providing the system is rinsed with water before the tanks are filled prior to the next fishing trip.

For a list of suitable cleaners, please refer to the CFIA's Reference Listing of Accepted Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-Food Chemical Products.

7.0 Storage Records

Regulation

Schedule III, Section 17 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

A storage record of the fish catch shall be kept on all fishing vessels and the identity of each day's catch shall be maintained.

Intent

A well prepared storage plan enables the various days' catches to be kept separate during unloading. Fish from catches taken on different days should never be stored together.

Compliance Guidance

This section applies to vessels that fish for periods longer than one day and shall be adhered to as stated. To determine compliance, the storage record shall be available to the Inspector. Vessels equipped with refrigerated sea water (R.S.W.) or chilled sea water (C.S.W.) systems are exempt from this requirement.

8.0 Hand washing and Toilet Facilities

Regulation

Schedule III, Section 18 of the Fish Inspection Regulations

Hand washing and marine type toilet facilities shall be provided on vessels over 13.7 m or more in overall length that have sleeping accommodation and shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.

Intent

The presence of micro organisms associated with sewage in food products is highly objectionable. Poor hygienic practices may substantially contribute to contamination of the fish.

Compliance Guidance

Hand washing facilities shall be equipped with running water (the use of a reservoir piped to a sink is acceptable), liquid or powdered soap and single service towels. As a general guide, one marine-type flush toilet and one washbasin should be provided for every ten crew members. The hand washing facilities should be located close to the fish handling area to encourage frequent hand washing. The use of the galley sink for hand washing is acceptable.

The waste discharge must drain overboard and be equipped with a check valve if necessary. The discharge must be situated on the opposite side of the vessel from water intakes and be located closer to the stern of the vessel in order to minimize the possibility of contamination when the vessel is in forward motion. A washbasin draining into a pail is unacceptable. Vessels fishing in lakes and rivers will have to meet individual provincial/territorial requirements regarding the discharging of sewage.

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