Good Importing Practices for Food

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for the purposes of this document, those substances that may cause serious or life threatening reactions in sensitive segments of the population. Allergens include: peanuts; tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts [filberts], macadamia nuts, pecans, pinenuts, pistachios, walnuts); sesame seeds; milk; eggs; fish, crustaceans (e.g., crab, crayfish, lobster, shrimp) and shellfish (e.g., clams, mussels, oysters, scallops); soy; wheat; sulphites.
a standardized evaluation of the inherent capability of equipment to consistently perform a specified function under actual operating conditions, after significant causes of variation have been eliminated.
the procedure by which official certification bodies and other officially recognized bodies provide written or equivalent assurance that foods or food control systems conform to requirements. Certification may be, as appropriate, based on a range of inspection activities which may include continuous on-line inspection, auditing of quality assurance systems and examination of finished products. (Codex)
means that an operation performs consistently within pre-determined limits based on process capability, meets process requirements, provides a mechanism to maintain the stability of the process and consistently results in a safe product with a constant composition, quality and net quantity.
Control (noun)
the state wherein correct procedures are being followed and criteria are being met.
Country of Origin
for the purposes of food labelling, that country where 51% or more of the cost of the product was incurred, including manufacturing and labour, and where the product came into being.
Corrective action
the actions to be taken when the result of monitoring a Critical Control Point (CCP) indicates a loss of control. This term refers to any action taken to bring the process into control and deal with any affected product when critical limits or other criteria are not met. The action should be prompt and appropriate to the seriousness of the deficiency.
Critical Control Point (CCP)
a point, step or procedure at which control can be applied and a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels.
Critical factor
any property, characteristic, condition, aspect, or other parameter, variation of which may affect the safety, quality, composition or quantity of the product or the process beyond critical limits.
Critical limit
a value which separates acceptability from unacceptability.
Container size
for the purposes of this document, container size includes the full range of sizes from the smallest size of the containers sold at retail to include bulk amounts in packages sold per litre, kilogram, etc.
for the purposes of food products discussed in this document, deterioration can be used interchangeably with spoilage. However, non-food products such as packaging materials can also deteriorate. For non-food items, deterioration is a physical or chemical change in the material that may adversely affect the safety or quality of the food.
failure to meet the critical limits or other specified requirements for a critical factor.
Deviation procedure
a pre-determined and documented set of corrective actions which are implemented when a deviation occurs. The goal is to re-establish control of the process and hence, of the affected product.
for the purposes of this text, documents refer to written formulae, procedures or specifications used by, or required of, an importer or manufacturer.
Final use of product
the nature of the product at the time of sale (for example, ready-to-eat, re-processed, repackaged).
please refer to definition in the CFIA Import Policy document.
Handling instructions
instructions on the label or in the product description document explaining how the consumer should store or handle the food in preparation for eating (i.e., keep refrigerated after opening, keep frozen, cooking instructions - microwave or oven cooking).
the potential to cause harm. A biological, chemical or physical property that may cause an unacceptable consumer health risk, or a problem/situation that may cause a deviation in the composition or quality of a food product.
tests in which the heat processed products are kept at a specific temperature for a specified period of time in order to determine if outgrowth of microorganisms or other problems occur under these conditions.
Inspection areas
for the purposes of the Section 3.2.2 of this document dealing with lighting requirements, any point where food products or containers are visually inspected or instruments are monitored.
Labelling instructions
details required on the label and in the product description document as per the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act & Regulations, or applicable labelling sections in other Acts and Regulations enforced by the CFIA.
List of ingredients
a listing of ingredients and components (ingredients of ingredients) of a food product, listed in descending order of their proportion by weight.
the amount of product of a specific container size, product style and code produced by a food establishment during a specified period of time.
Low acid food
a food, other than an alcoholic beverage, where any component of the food has a pH greater than 4.6 and a water activity greater than 0.85.
a planned sequence of observations or measurements to assess whether a CCP (or other activity) is under control.
Origin of product
for the purposes of the Product Information described in Section 1.1.1, the country in which the product was manufactured or grown.
Packaging material
the type of container in which the product is packaged (e.g., glass, wood, plastic, cardboard).
Product specifications and characteristics
for the purposes of Section 1.1, Product and Shipment Information/Specification Product Description, including the Shipment Information sub-section, those features that characterize the product by identifying safety and quality risks, and handling and storage requirements. Examples include frozen foods, canned foods, low-acid canned foods, acidified-low-acid-canned foods, marinated foods, foods with > 4.3 pH., foods packed in 6% sugar or packed in light syrup, etc.
Product description
the defining characteristics of a product that enables its identification.
Product name
the common name of the food as set out by the Food and Drug Regulations: a) the name of a food printed in bold name type in the Food and Drug Regulations; b) the name prescribed by any other Regulations; or c) if the name is not so printed or prescribed, the name by which it is commonly known. Examples include: canned apple sauce, milk chocolate, whiskey, bottled water, (naming the fruit) juice, frozen mixed vegetables, dried kidney beans, etc.
Product specifications
are the measurable levels and tolerances of characteristics which influence the level of risk associated with each product.
Product variety
the specific type of the commodity (where applicable), such as Macintosh apples, 1/a pears.
Quality Management System - one of the six principles outlined in the CFIA Import Policy document.
Recall: periodic testing
internal activities conducted on a periodic basis to verify the capability of the importer to rapidly identify and control a given lot of product. These activities do not necessarily require the importers to contact customers.
for the purposes of this document, observations and measurements recorded by an importer and a manufacturer to determine adherence to critical limits or other specified requirements for critical factors or critical control points.
Health Risk
an estimate of the likelihood of the occurrence and the likely magnitude of the consequences of an adverse event to animal or human health in the importing country during a specified time.
a process whereby food is rendered unacceptable through microbiological or chemical reaction.
for the purpose of this text, vendor is equivalent to supplier.
Vendor certification
the process of acceptance of incoming materials that does not rely on 100% inspection of incoming lots. The importer conducts a series of events prior to receipt of the material that ensures the material meets the required specification.
examination of the accuracy, correctness or effectiveness of validated processes or process controls through testing, investigation or comparison against a standard.
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