Producers can be certified to the CanadaGAP® Program by organizing themselves as a Group and running a central food safety management system.
This approach was developed based on GLOBALG.A.P.’s group certification scheme. If cost considerations are the driver for group certification, it should be noted that this approach, to date, has proven most beneficial to larger groups (e.g., at least 75 members) where existing resources of the group can be effectively applied and economies of scale achieved.
The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) in May 2010 formally benchmarked and recognized certification options B and C as meeting international requirements for food safety. Re-benchmarking to GFSI Version 7.1 was completed in June 2018.
Essentially, Group Certification offers a two-layered approach to auditing, involving:
i. Use of qualified internal auditors engaged by the Group to audit member sites (i.e., production, storage and packing locations) and internally audit the Group Management System, and
ii. External audits of the Group by a licensed Certification Body.
Using a qualified internal auditor(s), the Group must carry out audits each year on all registered group members, all central storage and packing facilities, and the Group Management System. The audits of production, storage and packing sites must cover the full CanadaGAP Audit Checklist. New members must pass the audit prior to being entered on the registered list. The audit reports, corrective actions, etc. must be impartially reviewed by the Group Management System Internal Auditor or another qualified person who did not perform the audit of the group member’s operation.
The Group must engage a qualified Group Management System Internal Auditor to perform an annual internal audit based on using the CanadaGAP Group Management System Checklist. In effect, the Group is charged with acting as if it were a certification body operating with initial certification and surveillance audits of its members’ operations. For further details, refer to the CanadaGAP Management Manual, Appendix III.1.
Audits of the Group by a licensed Certification Body. The external audit functions must be carried out by a CanadaGAP-licensed Certification Body annually. Sampling of the group members (i.e., production, storage and packing sites) is permitted to certify the Group under Option B. For further details, refer to the CanadaGAP Management Manual, Appendix III.1.
The specifics as to who is audited and at what minimum frequency, including random sampling plans, are outlined in the table below for “Option B”. Some cost information is also indicated in the chart.
(Note: Certification to Option B occurs on an annual basis.)
|Annual Program Fee (for first 25 group members)||$2,625||Yes||Yes|
|Annual Program Fee for Additional Group Members (per each additional 25 group members)||$525||Yes||Yes|
|Internal Audit of Group Management System by Group Management System Internal Auditor||Group responsible for delivery and costs||Yes||Yes|
|Internal Audits of each Central Storage/Packing Site by Group's qualified internal auditor(s)||Group responsible for delivery and costs||Each central site||Each central site|
|Internal Audits of each Member by Group's qualified internal auditor(s)||Group responsible for delivery and costs||Each group member||Each group member|
|Certification Body (External 3rd party) Audit of Group Management System||Check rates with Certification Body||Yes||Yes|
|Certification Body (External 3rd party) Random Audit of Group Management System||Check rates with Certification Body||Could be selected as part of surveillance program (10% of all Option B enrolees under each Certification Body)||Could be selected as part of surveillance program (10% of all Option B enrolees under each Certification Body)|
|Certification Body (External 3rd party) Audits of Central Storage/Packing Sites||Check rates with Certification Body||Square root of # of central sites||Square root of # of central sites|
|Certification Body (External 3rd party) Audits of Selected Group Members - in conjunction with Group Management System Audit||Check rates with Certification Body||Minimum: Square root of # in group|
(can be increased up to 4x)
|Minimum 50% of square root of # in group|
(can be increased up to 4x)
|Certification Body (External 3rd party) Random Audits of Group Members - during the certification year||Check rates with Certification Body||During the certification year: 50% of square root of number in group||During the certification year: 50% of square root of number in group|
|Certification Body (External 3rd party) Triggered Audit * (if needed to investigate a potential Food Safety risk at a particular site and/or within the Group Management System)||Check rates with Certification Body||Possible||Possible|
|Certification Body Auditor's Travel Costs||Check rates with Certification Body||Varies by location||Varies by location|
* A triggered audit would only be deemed necessary to investigate a potential food safety risk at a particular site. These could be triggered as a follow up to an on-site visit, from the audit of the Management System, etc. The cost of triggered audits would be borne by the Group. Participants can avoid triggered audits by managing risks as outlined in the CanadaGAP manual(s).
IMPORTANT: You are advised to check with your customer regarding acceptance of various CanadaGAP certification options. Option B was formally recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) in May 2010.
With Option B, some cost savings will be found in terms of a lower Annual Program Fee payable to CanadaGAP for delivery of program services (on a per-producer basis, as compared to Options A1, A2 or C). However, in contrast, Option B includes a potentially significant, additional cost component, related to the Group’s delivery of the required internal (second party) audits. Each grower must undergo an on-site, internal audit by the Group each year. The cost of administering an internal food safety management system and delivery of internal audits is up to the group, allowing for these costs to be scaled to decisions made relative to internal administration.
Option B involves four cost components:
Costs to manage their internal management system, conduct internal audits, review audit reports of Group member farms, follow up on corrective actions, etc.
Paid directly by the program participant to the Certification Body. Covers the Certification Body’s cost to deliver audit and certification services including auditor’s time to perform audits, auditor travel time, technical review of audit reports, follow-up on corrective actions, issuing certificates, administration and office overhead, billing functions, etc.
Costs vary depending on location of the facility, closest available auditor, and proximity to other audit sites. Every effort will be made to schedule audits in such a way to minimize auditor travel expenses.