CanadaGAP and CPMA Repacking and Wholesale Food Safety Program − Joint Integration Project

Updates

Background

  • Beginning in 2009, the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) and Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA)  participated in discussions relative to the potential for integrated delivery of CanadaGAP® and the CPMA Repacking and Wholesale Food Safety Program (RWFSP).     
  • With funding assistance from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a formal study was undertaken in 2010 to examine the feasibility of a joint venture including the creation of a standalone corporate entity to manage an integrated program. The study concluded this was a feasible initiative. The results were presented in spring 2010 to members of the CHC and CPMA. The members of both organizations endorsed proceeding with the implementation plan in the study. 
  • Establishing a standalone corporate entity was part of a longer-term plan for the CHC OFFS Program (now CanadaGAP) and was among the recommendations made to CHC members at the 2008 AGM, when the proposal to launch the food safety certification system was approved. This course of action was recommended to limit potential exposure to liability associated with administering the food safety program. 
  • In addition to the desirability of a separate corporate entity to minimize liability for CHC, CPMA and their respective directors, the key benefits – sometimes “intangible” – of integrating the food safety programs included: 
    • adopting an industry-wide food safety system that meets customer requirements
    • meeting the needs of vertically integrated businesses (e.g., companies that pack and re-pack product)
    • maintaining strong linkages between the various levels of the value chain, which offers opportunities to increase understanding of the challenges within each segment of the chain
    • ensuring consistent and complementary food safety standards from producers to packers to wholesalers to repackers
    • decreased confusion around overlapping programs or requirements, and decreased potential to “divide the pie” between the two associations
    • resolving concerns about conflict of interest around the national association being responsible for food safety standards and oversight of certification bodies, while also being an advocacy and policy organization serving members. There is a moral hazard related to overseeing delivery of a certification system, vs. effectively managing member relations
    • enhancing the scheme’s ability to position, promote and offer the program internationally (e.g., competing effectively with other internationally-recognized programs whose scope encompasses more of the value chain).
 Integration of the two programs involved:   
  • Establishment of an autonomous corporate entity that functions independently of the CHC and CPMA 
  • Delivery of the program by the new corporate entity 
  • Board members of the new corporate entity are drawn from CHC-nominated representatives (4 directors), CPMA-nominated directors (2), and two directors at large. All directors are elected by program participants (members of the corporation).
  •  Availability of an integrated audit  (i.e., auditors are trained to assess compliance with the technical standards from producer to repacker or wholesaler in a single audit, as applicable) 
  • Merging/harmonization of food safety standards within a single user interface (e.g., manual) to ensure consistency between requirements, and seamlessness/ease of use for businesses whose activities span producing, packing, shipping, distributing, wholesaling and/or repacking within their operation. 

Timeline

Rollout of the integrated program occurred in 2014. Certification against the new Option D was available as of April 1, 2014. Click here for further details.