Food Safety Enhancement Program Manual
Section 4 - Recognition Process

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This section details the process for HACCP recognition by the CFIA. The recognition process applies to the following federally registered commodity groups:

  • dairy,
  • processed fruits and vegetables,
  • shell eggs,
  • processed eggs,
  • honey,
  • maple, and
  • hatcheries.

For establishments registered under the Meat Inspection Regulations in which a HACCP system in accordance with the FSEP Manual requirements is mandatory, please refer to the Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures - Chapter 2 (Guidelines for the Applicant/Operator to the Registration of an Establishment and Licensing of an Operator).

Note: Subparagraph 29(2)(b)(iii) of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990, requires that an application for a licence to operate a meat registered establishment includes a description of the prerequisite programs and HACCP plans for the registered establishment. This includes HACCP plans for all human-food product lines in the registered establishment.

For the other commodities, when requesting recognition, a registered establishment must already be conducting its operations under a HACCP system for all product lines in the registered establishment.

The purpose of the recognition is to determine whether the establishment's HACCP system is complete (i.e., meets FSEP and regulatory/program requirements), and is implemented effectively as described.

The CFIA recognizes that companies invest time and resources in developing their customized HACCP systems we treat each system as proprietary to the company that developed it.

4.1 CFIA Area FSEP Coordinator responsibilities

The CFIA Area FSEP Coordinator is responsible for:

  • providing the applicant with all pertinent information concerning the HACCP recognition of an establishment;
  • providing interpretation of requirements for HACCP recognition of an establishment to the applicant as well as to the CFIA staff;
  • providing guidance to the applicant with respect to issues related to HACCP recognition of an establishment;
  • communicating all information related to the HACCP recognition from the Area to the National FSEP Coordinator for national tracking.

4.2 Recognition process steps

The process covers 6 steps, as follows:

  • The establishment submits a letter requesting recognition by the CFIA (see section 4.2.1)
  • The CFIA holds a pre-meeting with the establishment's management (see section 4.2.2)
  • The establishment submits a documentation package (see section 4.2.3)
  • The CFIA reviews the establishment's HACCP system documentation (see section 4.2.4)
  • The CFIA conducts an on-site review of the establishment's HACCP system (see section 4.2.5)
  • The CFIA issues official notification recognizing the establishment's FSEP/HACCP status (see section 4.2.6)

4.2.1 Letter requesting recognition by the CFIA

To begin the recognition process, an establishment must submit a letter to the CFIA's Area FSEP Coordinator. The letter must:

  • request recognition by the CFIA;
  • confirm that a HACCP system has been developed as per the FSEP requirements and is currently implemented;
  • be signed and dated by the establishment's senior management.

4.2.2 CFIA pre-meeting with the establishment's management

After receiving the establishment's letter, the CFIA Area FSEP Coordinator or their delegate will schedule a pre-meeting with the establishment to:

  • provide information about the recognition process, and
  • review a random selection of components from the establishment written HACCP system.

4.2.3 Submission of the HACCP system documentation package

The establishment must provide the CFIA Area FSEP Coordinator or their delegate with a documentation package that includes the following:

  • senior management letter of commitment (see section 2.2.1);
  • HACCP system performance reporting procedure (see section 2.2.5);
  • name of HACCP team leader (see section 2.2.2);
  • prerequisite programs (see section 3.1);
  • list of all products to be produced in the establishment and grouped under their respective HACCP plan;
  • HACCP plan(s) (see section 3.2);
  • process control(s), when applicable (see section 3.2.8);
  • validation data of critical control points (see section 3.3);
  • HACCP system maintenance and reassessment procedures (see section 3.4);
  • internal audit results.*

* The establishment must conduct an internal audit in order to ensure that its HACCP system is being implemented and is effective. Documentation must be available to support the internal audit. The establishment must have corrected any deficiencies identified during the internal audit or provided a plan of action to address such deficiencies.

If the documentation package is incomplete, the applicant will be notified by the CFIA Area FSEP Coordinator or their delegate and asked to submit the incomplete items.

4.2.4 CFIA review of the HACCP system documentation package

The CFIA Area FSEP Coordinator or their delegate will review the entire HACCP system documentation package and communicate any unacceptable items from the HACCP documentation review to the applicant for correction prior to final on-site review.

The CFIA must follow-up on unacceptable items prior to the on-site review.

4.2.5 CFIA on-site review of the establishment's HACCP system

The on-site review determines whether the HACCP system has been implemented as described in the written programs and is effective in meeting food safety objectives. The on-site review is initiated only after the CFIA Area FSEP Coordinator or their delegate has deemed the establishment's written HACCP system complete.

The HACCP team leader or an on-site liaison person must be available during the on-site review.

The CFIA representatives must at least include the responsible inspector, a lead CFIA representative and if appropriate, a program specialist.

At the conclusion of the on-site review, the CFIA provides a verification report including any non-compliance identified during the on-site review.

Prior to recognizing an establishment, the CFIA must confirm that all non-compliance has been corrected by the establishment.

4.2.6 CFIA notification recognizing establishment's FSEP/HACCP status

The Area FSEP Coordinator issues an official notice to the establishment's management confirming that the CFIA has reviewed the establishment's HACCP system and found that it currently meets all of the HACCP requirements of the Food Safety Enhancement Program.

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