Advisory Services for Foods of
Plant Origin Processors
The Foods of Plant Origin (FPO) Program within the Ontario Ministry
of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs (OMAF and
MRA) provides food safety guidance to non-federally registered foods
of plant origin food processors in Ontario.
Food safety guidance is delivered by the Risk Identification and
Management (RIM) Unit staff. Contact information can be found on
the next page.
A number of tools are used by the RIM Unit to help FPO clients
identify and manage food safety risks.
- Environmental Monitoring - Staff conduct ATP
bioluminescence and microbial environmental swabbing at volunteer
plants to introduce clients to environmental monitoring as a tool
to verify the effectiveness of their cleaning and sanitizing programs.
While the number of no-cost swabbing sessions for each facility
is limited, after seeing the benefits of such a program, facilities
often initiate their own swabbing programs.
- Food Safety Assessments - To help identify
strengths and weaknesses of a plant's operating procedures and
facilities, staff perform food safety assessments (gap analysis)
during on-site visits to individual facilities.
- Mitigation Approaches - In response to observations
during on-site visits and to e-mail and telephone inquiries, staff
suggest approaches to mitigate food safety concerns.
- Good Manufacturing Practices - To support producers
and processors who are pursuing formal food safety programs (e.g.
Good Manufacturing Practices or GMPs), staff conduct GMP writing
workshops, review GMP programs and offer constructive suggestions.
It should be noted that staff do not prepare individual plant
- Assistance in addressing non-compliance - Product
samples tested under the ministry's Food Safety Monitoring Program
are sometimes found to be non-compliant with Health Canada guidelines
and standards. When this occurs, staff assist the producer/processor
in finding and correcting the underlying problem.
- Presentations - Staff make presentations on
food safety topics at foods of plant origin commodity group and
- Infosheets - One or two-page infosheets contain
technical information covering a range of food safety issues for
a variety of foods of plant origin commodities.
- Guidebooks - Detailed commodity-specific guidebooks
describe GMPs that should be followed to ensure the production
of safe food.
- Guidebooks for minimally processed fruit and vegetables,
maple syrup and apple cider are available in print and on
the ministry's website: www.ontario.ca/producesafety.
- The Sprouted Seeds Good Manufacturing Practices Guidebook
is available in print format.
- A cleaning and sanitation guidebook outlines proper cleaning
and sanitizing procedures for all foods of plant origin processing
facilities. It is available in print and on the ministry's
- Articles - Staff produce food safety-related
articles for commodity group newsletters and other publications.
- Business Information Bundles - Information on production methods,
technology, regulatory requirements and business and marketing
options for maple syrup and honey producers is provided in Business
Information Bundles (BIBs): www.ontario.ca/maple
- Annual Seminar - An industry-wide seminar on
a topic relevant to all FPO commodity processors is held annually,
usually in the Greater Toronto Area. Recent topics have included
Cleaning and Sanitation and Controlling Listeria. Smaller, commodity-specific,
seminars/workshops are held in various locations across the province
throughout the year.
Periodically, Ontario foods of plant origin producers/processors
are asked to participate in research studies designed by the ministry.
These studies assist producers/processors in identifying food safety
risks, as well as in assessing implementation of measures to manage
these risks. Recent examples include studies assessing the effectiveness
of cleaning and sanitation practices and the microbial quality of
wash water at minimally processed produce operations.
We Want to Hear From you!
All non-federally registered Ontario foods of plant origin food
processors are invited to take advantage of the services offered
by OMAF and MRA's Foods of Plant Origin Program. For more information
regarding educational resources or seminars, presentations for your
group or individualized advisory services, please contact:
Risk Management Specialist
Risk Management Specialist
Risk Identification and Management Coordinator