Mandatory Requirements for Production Lot Codes
Sarah Martz, Risk Identification and Management Coordinator
On January 1, 2018 all Ontario maple syrup must be labelled with a production lot code.
With regard to food production, a production lot is the quantity of product which has been produced, processed or packaged under similar circumstances. For example, a lot could be the product that is produced between cleaning cycles or one day's production. A lot code is the specific identifier assigned to all products in each production lot. It is any unique combination of letters or numbers, or letters and numbers, by which a unit of product can be traced and identified in the operation's records.
Using a lot code to identify a production lot is not only mandatory, but is beneficial to a producer in the event of a food safety or quality issue. During these types of events, product may have to be removed from the marketplace. If product is not lot coded, the entire year's production could be considered one lot and all of it may need to be removed and/or destroyed.
Having a lot code enables product to be identified, and only one lot of product may be affected. When creating a lot code, there are no specific rules regarding the make-up of the production lot code or the size of production lot it represents. It should be unique to each production lot and legible for the maximum life of the maple product.
The lot code can be applied to any location on the container. The code can be affixed or attached to the container by any means. As long as the lot code can be traced back to records that indicate the meaning of the code, any number or combination of numbers and letters or number of characters is acceptable (see some examples in the table below).
Records should accompany each lot code and should contain several important pieces of information, including:
Distribution records should also be kept and should include:
Records for each production code should be kept for a period of time that exceeds the expected shelf life of the maple product.
Product lot codes should be:
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300