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Good Agriculture and Collection Practices (GACP): Safety, Quality Assurance and Traceability for the Canadian Herb, Spice, Specialty Ag, Natural Health Products Industry, Wild Collected products and Hemp.
For wild harvesters and farmers alike, day-to-day busyness (i.e., getting the work done) is usually what fills each day. Even though producing a high quality, safe product is their top priority, making sure they can prove they have done so is not always that easy. This does not mean they are not doing a good job, but it is hard to show others the evidence of their good work. GACPs are a tool that can help.
"Our company has recently been faced with a dramatic shift in the regulatory landscape of the specialty agriculture and food additive industry. As we do business in various countries, the demands for compliance in the area of food safety has been varied and complex. In order to address new demands, we looked into various training and compliance programs. Most required a significant level of expertise and financial investment to obtain a basic level of compliance. Training courses were often spread across the country and continent, and did not have any specific structure or guidance towards our specialized industry.
The GACP program developed and administered by the CHSNC has been the solution we needed. The combination of locally available training and expertise has allowed our company to quickly get up to speed with the demands of the new regulatory environment. Our entire staff was trained on-site, and by a trainer who understood our industry, and was able to ensure the program was administered in a relevant and useful way. The complexity of the new food safety laws in various jurisdictions has been simplified into a program that meet’s both the requirements of our customers and of our own internal needs. The GACP is an absolute necessity for Western Canadian agriculture."
Putting GACPs into practice
Although many growers/collectors are using GACPs, not everyone has formalized their system and records. The CHSNC Growers GACP Workbook will make it fairly simple to formalize a plan for individual operations to ensure food safety, and keep records for verification. For certified organic growers/collectors, many of the records required will already be in place, however, they will still have to develop GACPs to ensure food safety within their operation. A certified organic system doesn’t necessarily have all of the GACPs in place (example Plant Identification).
THE GOOD AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES WORKBOOK INCLUDES:
— 1. Plant/Product identification
(available now at: www.saskherbspice.org)
— 2. Pest Control Products
Your use or your neighour's use what effect is it having on your products
— 3. Purchasing
What do you use day to day in your operation?... is it adding risk?
— 4. Production
Where are you harvesting or collecting?; What do your production methods include? ...are you adding risk?
— 5. Post harvest processing
What happens to your product after you harvest it?; Where are the products stored? ; What are they stored in? ... are you adding risk?
— 6. Personnel training
Does everyone understand what you want them to do ? ... are they adding risk? Do you know how to teach your staff or family?
— 7. Preventative maintenance
Are you able to clean your tools and equipment to the point that it is not adding risk to your product
— 8. Record Keeping
Can you prove that you have done any of the above?
Can you keep small problems small?
Growers/collectors who participate in the voluntary CHSNC HACCP based Good Agriculture and Collection Practices Program will benefit greatly by reducing risks on their operations, ensuring food safety and improving traceability throughout the entire value chain. Many buyers are already asking to purchase raw materials produced under a GACP system. Where problems arise, growers/collectors who have a GACP system in place will be in a better position to prove the safety and quality of their products. As raw material suppliers, growers/collectors play a key role and are the foundation of safe, ethically collected quality products.
These GACPs will ensure a strong value chain of traceability and safety tightly linked with the existing processing good manufacturing practices in both the culinary and medicinal worlds. There is a large gap between production/collection and manufactured products across Canada and around the world. Developing Good Agriculture/Collection Practices that connect with Good Manufacturing Practices up the chain strengthens the chain, boosts consumer confidence and develops strong business relationships. We want Canada to be the country of choice for raw materials such as fiddleheads and mushrooms. This tool can make that happen.
Brand Canada the country of choice for safe, ethically collected quality products.
CHSNC will be holding training and information workshops for growers/collectors across Canada.
For more information or updates to the program, contact: Connie Kehler, CHSNC Executive Director and CHSNC OFFS Technical Committee Lead at: firstname.lastname@example.org