An operation is growing produce (e.g., lettuce, herbs, etc.) using aquaponics. What is aquaponics? Can the operation obtain CanadaGAP certification?
Aquaponics combines aquaculture with hydroponic plant production. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a water based, nutrient rich solution that does not use soil. Instead, the root system is supported using an inert medium such as perlite, rockwool, clay pellets, peat moss, or vermiculite.
Aquaculture is defined as the farming of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants, algae, and other organisms. In an aquaponics system, the waste produced from aquaculture supplies the nutrients for the hydroponically-grown plants.
Operations growing fresh produce in aquaponic systems cannot use the CanadaGAP Program to obtain certification. 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. Additional science is needed to validate that all potential hazards have been appropriately addressed in the CanadaGAP generic HACCP model. Unfortunately, peer-reviewed scientific studies on potential chemical hazards associated with aquaponic systems are limited at this time.
The scope of the CanadaGAP program is limited to whole fresh fruits and vegetables. A food safety certification program that addresses both aspects of an aquaponic system – that is, the production of fresh produce and the farming of fish or other aquatic organisms – may provide a more complete assessment of an operation’s implemented food safety program.
What are the food safety requirements when dealing with a glass greenhouse as opposed to a plastic greenhouse?
There is no difference in requirements. Section 18.2 (Harvesting) requires that a visual inspection is to be conducted before product is harvested. Employees visually inspect the product and surrounding area for glass and if glass is observed (e.g., broken panes, bulbs), the employee immediately ceases harvesting and reports to the person responsible. Whether it be a glass or plastic greenhouse, glass inspection is required.
If an agricultural chemical label does not specifically identify if the product can be used on a commodity found in the field (including orchard/vineyard) OR in a greenhouse, can the agricultural chemical be used on any applicable (field or greenhouse) crop listed on the label?
No, according to the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), the label must specify “greenhouse” if it is to be used on a greenhouse commodity. If “greenhouse” use is not specified on the agricultural chemical’s label, the agricultural chemical is intended for outdoor field-grown crops only. If an operation would like to apply an agricultural chemical to a product grown in a greenhouse, the product label must clearly indicate that the agricultural chemical is intended for use in greenhouses (e.g., greenhouse eggplant, greenhouse tomatoes).November 16th, 2021 at 09:39 am