CanadaGAP Certification: What, Why, and How

What is CanadaGAP?

When operating in and around the produce industry, certifications and standards around food quality are vital. This is why organizations like CanadaGAP® exist: to ensure that all produce is good quality, safe to consume, and fit to buy and sell. CanadaGAP is a government-recognized food safety program that oversees the processes of companies that handle fruits and vegetables. This program was made to help maintain proper food safety procedures in any operations involving fresh produce.

CanadaGAP has two manuals, one specific to fruit and vegetable operations and the other focusing on greenhouse operations. Recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative, these manuals follow a thorough hazard analysis that abides by the internationally recognized Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point approach. The manuals are made for companies that use Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) in their operations, fresh produce sellers who follow the best supplier management and product traceability practices, and wholesalers who implement Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).

Why Get CanadaGAP Certified?

The CanadaGAP certification is for companies that want their customers to know they follow the best production management practices. When a supplier is determined by the qualified authority to meet the proper GAP standards and their food safety program is consistently maintained, they can become CanadaGAP certified. This lets people know that the certified business has a procedure system that significantly reduces the risk of contamination of food products. This is to say that the Certification Body certifies processes, not products. Qualified auditors don’t just grade a company based on their current operations but rather get evidence proving there is ongoing food safety system maintenance.

Being CanadaGAP certified lets suppliers, customers, and anyone dealing with your company know that you consistently maintain the safety of your produce. This builds loyalty and trust with partners, which is why City Wide Produce is honoured to be CanadaGAP certified. The safety and quality of our produce are of the utmost importance to us, along with the satisfaction of all people and businesses involved with us. 

How Can I Get Certified?

Businesses that want to be CanadaGAP certified must pass a third-party audit based on the manuals. An auditor from the Certification Body of CanadaGAP will visit your company’s location(s), review your food safety manuals, review all food-related records, interview your staff, and assess the degree to which your company meets its Audit Checklist. Businesses that pass this audit become officially CanadaGAP certified. 

The first step to becoming CanadaGAP certified is getting your commodity-specific manual from the CanadaGAP website. Next, you fill out and submit the enrollment form to enroll in their certification program. Then, you send your completed enrollment form and annual program fee payment to CanadaGAP. You can also download the Audit Checklist before your audit to ensure you’re adequately prepared for the visit. Enroll today and let people know that your company puts food safety first!

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