According to the CanadaGAP Food Safety Manuals, the definition for ‘minimal processing’ is as follows:
Minimal processing: Transforming whole fruits and vegetables from their original state (e.g., peeling, slicing, shredding, coring, grinding, shelling, husking, chopping, combining/mixing ingredients, juicing, modified atmosphere packaging, ready-to-eat preparation, drying, etc.). Minimally processed fruit and vegetables are sometimes also called ready-to-use, ready-to-eat, fresh-cut, or pre-cut fruits and vegetables.
The following are not considered minimal processing:
- Removing outer leaves (e.g., of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, etc.) after harvesting
- Trimming off leaves, ends, tops or other parts of the product generally considered inedible or unsaleable (e.g., trimming ends from asparagus, removing outer stalks of celery, removing rhubarb leaves, trimming ends from rutabagas, etc.)
- Removing tops from vegetables such as carrots, beets, turnips, etc.
- Air drying or curing products such as onions, squash, etc.
The CanadaGAP program does NOT include any minimally processed activities or products. Therefore, products such as baby carrots, romaine hearts, cut and bagged lettuces, celery hearts, cantaloupe halves, etc., are not part of the CanadaGAP scope. The controls contained in the CanadaGAP Food Safety Manuals are specifically designed for unaltered product. The scope includes whole, raw product only. Minimally processed product has been altered in some way, therefore there are different risks that need to be considered, beyond what is covered in the manuals.