On Farm Food Safety - Canada   Canada

5 Steps to On Farm Food Safety
5 Essential Components to On-Farm Food Safety


A National Commodity Group usually needs 5 essential tools for a successful on-farm food safety program.  These are:

  • Generic HACCP Model
  • Producer Manual
  • Conformity Assessment System
  • Auditor Training program
  • Program Management System


These five components are necessary to ensure:

  • that the commodity-specific hazards have been analyzed and adequate controls have been identified;
  • that these controls have been translated into the program’s requirements (e.g. GPP’s and CPP’s) for implementation on-farm;
  • that the program requirements are communicated clearly and effectively to program participants;
  • that an assessment can be made to determine if a farm has implemented and is maintaining the program;
  • that the on-farm auditors making these assessments are properly trained, and
  • that the commodity-specific OFFS Program will be administered effectively.


The Generic HACCP Model consists of:

  • Forms 1 – 11 – Required for CFIA Technical Review Stage of the CFIA Recognition Process
  • Outlines Production Flow at the Farm
  • Identifies Farm Inputs
  • Identifies food safety hazards at each stage of production; Biological, Chemical and Physical
  • Hazard Analysis to determine CCPs or control of Hazards by GPPs
  • Cross-referencing of GPPs, CCPs and Hazards
  • HACCP – CCP Plan


The Generic HACCP Model
provides the bulk of the documentation and work needed to complete a workable On-Farm Food Safety Program.  Though it is not necessary to follow this exactly, it is an excellent guidance document, and is also required for submission to CFIA for Technical Review.  Through Forms 1 – 11, hazards are identified and analyzed for incoming materials, and each production step.  These hazards are then addressed in terms of GPPs or CCPs with establishment of Critical Limits, Deviation Procedures and Verification Procedures.  The HACCP Generic Manual and the Producer Manual make up the bulk of the documentation that is submitted to CFIA Recognition Process for the first phase of Technical Review.


The Producer Manual
provides the guidelines and requirements that the producer needs to follow to implement the On-Farm Food Safety Program on their farm and to be in compliance with the O FFSP.  It is essentially a complete package of information and records necessary for an individual operator to implement all elements of an On-Farm Food Safety Program including:

  • Regular OFFS Program maintenance
  • OFFS Program Training
  • Commitment between producer and Regional office
  • Producer agreement to comply with the OFFS Program
  • Well-defined Good Production Practices 
  • Requirements for Producer Compliance
  • Outline of Roles and Responsibilities


The Conformity Assessment System 
is the set of procedures and/or criteria which are used by a producer, auditor and/or a commodity organization to assess the conformance of the individual producer to the requirements of the on-farm food safety program which they are participating in.  These procedures/criteria could include items such as audit readiness assessments, auditor assignment and scheduling, how to perform the audit, and evaluation reports.   The conformity assessment is not only a way for the producer to demonstrate that they are following the program correctly, but can also be used to find areas to improve upon.  


The Auditor Training Program
focuses upon the education of on-farm food safety auditors.  There is usually a general program and a commodity specific training program.  

On-Farm Food Safety Auditors, or those interested in becoming auditors should contact the commodity organization they are interested in to find out more about their requirements. 


The Program Management System
is the second part of the Technical Review Phase of the CFIA Recognition Process.  A successful program management system (sometimes called an administrative management system) demonstrates control of the components of the OFFS Program and provides confidence for the Organization responsible for Recognizing the OFFS Program, that the Program components are:

  • Maintained effectively and consistently
  • Implemented effectively and consistently
  • Delivered in a uniform manner regardless of the infrastructure or size of a NPO

This management system is necessary in order to effectively implement, maintain and administer an On-Farm Food Safety program.

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