What is included within the ‘Leafy Greens’ scope of the CanadaGAP program?
There are many different varieties of leafy greens available that fall within the scope of the CanadaGAP program. Mature greens and baby leafy greens of all types are included but microgreens are NOT covered by the CanadaGAP program.
CanadaGAP is now defining baby greens and microgreens as the following:
Baby leafy greens: These are NOT the same as microgreens (see definition below). Baby leafy greens are bigger than microgreens (usually more than 6cm in length) and smaller than mature leafy greens. Baby leafy greens are harvested earlier than other mature leafy greens (usually 15-40 days old), for a more immature leaf. During harvest, baby leafy greens may be cut once, and any further cuts to the harvested leaves will be considered as minimal processing. Baby leafy greens may be mixed with other types of leafy greens or herbs. During packing, if any other items are added to the packed product (e.g., nuts, raisins, seeds, etc.) or if the atmosphere is modified in the packaging, this is considered minimal processing.
Microgreens (including shoots): 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.
Both Field and Greenhouse grown leafy greens are included in the scope.
Leafy greens can be grown in a variety of medias, using a variety of systems.
Living lettuce is included in the scope since risk mitigation strategies are covered in the Greenhouse Food Safety manual.
Harvest may include ONLY one cut (anything beyond one cut is minimal processing).
Harvest may also include trimming (to remove a few outer leaves but not to change the integrity of the leafy green – e.g., romaine hearts are not covered in the scope – this is minimal processing).
Leafy greens may be sold as one individual product or a mixing of products/varieties.
Mixing of leafy greens is acceptable during harvest, after harvest, during packing, etc.
Products can be washed during the packing process.
Not included in the CanadaGAP scope:
The addition of anything else (e.g., nuts, raisins, dressing, croutons, dried fruit, etc.) in any type of packaging (e.g., in a sealed bag, loose within the packaging, etc.)
Modified atmosphere packaging
Chopping of leafy greens into small pieces and bagging