As of January 1, 2020, operations involved in production, packing or storage of microgreens are no longer able to obtain certification through the CanadaGAP Program. CanadaGAP has determined that, given the potential risks of contamination with the production and handling of microgreens, a site-specific HACCP Plan is the best approach for managing food safety risks associated with these products.
CanadaGAP uses a generic HACCP model as the basis for the food safety requirements and procedures published in the CanadaGAP Food Safety Manual and Audit Checklist. We have determined that further research and scientific study is needed to understand the full range of microgreens production and handling practices, the associated food safety hazards, and the most effective control measures. Going forward, as the industry expands and new methods are adopted, additional science will be required to validate that all potential hazards have been appropriately addressed in the CanadaGAP generic HACCP model. Therefore, the decision was taken to phase out this scope of CanadaGAP certification for the time being.
The CanadaGAP program defines microgreens/shoots as small forms of edible product produced from very young vegetables, herbs or other plants. Seeds (from vegetables and herbs) are planted and they develop and grow in soil, substrate (e.g., peat moss or other fibrous material), aeroponically or using an alternative growing method. They are NOT grown in water. Microgreens, if sold already cut, are cut above the soil surface (approximately 3-6 cm long), packed without roots and the seed portion of the plant gets left behind in the growing medium. Larger greens would be considered as baby leafy greens. Microgreens are ideally grown in high light conditions, with low humidity and good air circulation. Unlike sprouts, the seed portion is not consumed. Microgreens are smaller than baby leafy greens and larger than sprouts.
Microgreens, if sold already cut, are cut above the soil surface and packed without roots. The seed portion of the plant gets left behind in the growing medium. Microgreens can also be sold in potted soil or another substrate; these are sometimes marketed as “living” greens. The consumer cuts the microgreens just before eating, for optimal freshness. Microgreens, sprouts, and baby greens are NOT the same.
Please see the CanadaGAP communiqué for more information.