Best Practices Guidebook Food Hub Grower Manual

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 Introduction | Grower Requirements and Practices | Crop Specifics: Packaging, Harvesting and Grading, Cooling and Cleaning | Food Recall | Conclusion | Appendix | Resources


This Best Practices Guidebook: Food Hub Grower Manual helps growers meet pre- and post-harvest standards required by food hubs and grower co-operatives, local food service establishments and other direct market customers.

Establishing best practices enables the food hub and its growers to prepare for and pass internal audits.

What is a Food Hub?

A food hub is defined as a profitable and sustainable business model that actively manages the aggregation, logistical coordination and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy year round wholesale, retail and institutional market demand. A food hub serves as a coordinating intermediary between regional producers and suppliers and customers, including institutions, food service firms, retail outlets and end consumers.

For a food hub facility to pass third party audits, the food hub is required to demonstrate that all of the food hub’s growers have passed an internal review or audit. The Food Safety Checklist for Produce Farms example is located in Appendix 5 at the end of this manual, just before the Resources section. There is also an internal audit diagram flow in the Appendix of the Best Practices Guidebook: Food Hub Vendor Manual.

Who Can Benefit from this Manual?

This manual is primarily for growers who want to meet the requirements of a food hub and better prepare for internal reviews or audits.

Food hub and other value chain business models can direct their growers (suppliers) to this manual to help them prepare for internal reviews or audits.

There is a second manual in this series—Best Practices Guidebook: Food Hub Vendor Manual—designed to help vendors meet the standards required by food hubs and others.

Objectives of the Manual

After you have completed this manual you, as a food grower, will be able to:

  • Meet requirements of the food hub (buyer), specific to the crops you grow
  • Align your practices with current food safety standards and programs
  • Develop some of your own systems and standards
  • Prepare for internal reviews or audits by third parties
  • Prepare for a mock recall
On-Farm Food Safety (OFFS) Programs

On-Farm Food Safety (OFFS) Programs are Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)-based food safety systems developed for various commodities to enhance food safety, maintain consumer confidence and facilitate market access. These programs comply with federal, provincial and territorial legislation and are delivered by a provincial delivery agent or by the national industry organization that owns the program. All have gone through a thorough Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)-led technical review process, as part of the Federal Food Safety Recognition Program.

For more information on food safety programs, go to CFIA website at

Canada Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)

Canada GAP is one of the programs developed in Canada to promote good agricultural practices (GAPs) for fruit and vegetable suppliers (growers). This HACCP-based model is the tool used to assess potential hazards associated with the growing, handling, packing, repacking and storage of products and determining areas of higher risk. It is divided into two commodity specific programs:
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Greenhouse product
For more information on Canada GAP, go to For links to the various programs, go to Resources section at the end of this manual

Good Agriculture and Collection Practices

Good Agriculture and Collection Practices is another OFFS program developed for plants such as garlic, parsley and wild collected foods. It is a HACCP-based model used to address risk from the beginning of production to finished product around food safety, traceability and quality. It encompasses many crops and has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Canada Gap for crossover crops.

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)

Good manufacturing practices (GMP) are used for facilities involved in processing and wholesale distribution. GMPs involve general procedures to reduce food safety hazards.

Organic Certification

Organic certification, as set out in the Canadian Organic Standard, must apply to a CFIA Accredited Certification Body and be able to show complete traceability of products and be inspected by an independent third party.

For food safety information for processers, refer to Food Safety for Alberta. Refer to each program to locate organizations authorized to perform these audits.


Many institutional, food service and retail buyers will require arm’s length auditable programs such as those provide by OFFS. Programs such as Canada GAP or GACPs, GMPs and/or organic certification are often required of both the growers and the food hub facilities.

Exercise: Where Are You Now? Assess Your Current Practices

Click on this link to access a digital, fillable PDF form for this exercise – a blank form for this exercise also appears in Appendix 1 at the back of this manual.

Before you get into the details on how to establish best practices in your grower operation, use the following checklist to assess your current practices in terms of ensuring that produce is safe for consumers. .

C = completed P = partly NA = not applicable to my operation

Best Practices Checklist for Growers
I document all processes required by the food hub.
I ensure the correct standard operating procedures (SOPs) are available and followed for each step.
I outline clear roles and responsibilities on keeping records for all personnel.
I keep detailed records for irrigation schedules, harvesting times, water test results and processes for tracking the use of water in my crops.
I am aware of the food hub recall policies and any specific customer requirements of the food hub and its vendors.
I have outlined the process for recalls and plans for performing a timed mock recall each year. (See page 36 for basic information and links about mock recalls.)
I have established the approved types of sanitizers for certain types of crops for the food hub
I have liability insurance. (Secure and maintain Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance at all levels of the food value chain at a minimum level of $5,000,000. Liability should be correctly subrogated amongst parties using additional insured certificates.)
I have examined other insurance needs required by me, as a grower, and by buyers. I work with my insurance agent to determine what insurance is required and if existing insurance is sufficient.
I have set a clear system for grading produce that corresponds to CFIA standards, which are federal but often implemented provincially by buyers. I have had a conversation with my buyers about what they require.
I have a process for reviewing and updating any manuals, including the process for making and approving revisions, dates and signing authority.
I have identified and documented the quality assurance manager for the food hub.

Once you have started to make changes to your operation, return to the checklist to ensure that you have all applicable processes in place.

Food Hub Structure

Before you get into your role as a grower, you should understand the food hub structure and general expectations. Food hubs have organizational structures and facilities where they conduct the business of the food hub. Food hubs also have standard certifications and audits that are conducted on the facility.

Example: The Organic Box Services
  • Planning and ordering
  • Receiving and quality control
  • Storage
  • Grading and packaging
  • Distribution and fulfilment
  • Invoicing, payment and claims .

General Standards and Practices Required by Food Hubs

Food hubs generally have growers adhere to some general standards and practices, including the following.
  • All produce is washed and sanitized, when appropriate, using approved sanitizers and standard operating procedures (SOPs) as outlined by Alberta Health Services (AHS) and CFIA.
  • All produce is packaged in new food grade plastic bags and clean food grade boxes and kept at the appropriate temperature until delivery.
  • Meat and poultry products are locally processed and inspected.
  • They are stored and kept frozen until delivery. There is no intermingling of provincially and federally regulated products.
  • Eggs are from CFIA approved egg-grading facilities.
  • In general, growers must follow the Good Agricultural Practices and have participated in food safety and postharvest handling courses. The food hub determines the frequency of these courses and inspections.
Now that you have some understanding of on-farm food safety programs and the structure of a food hub, you are ready to move on to what is required by you pre- and post-harvest.

For training in Good Agricultural Practices (GACPs) contact and Canada GAP. For general inquiries, email or call (613) 829-4711.

Grower Requirements and Practices

A food hub strives to provide the highest quality food to its customers, which means the top priority is handling product in the safest manner possible. This section of the manual sets forth the steps all growers must follow to ensure the food hub can meet its goal.

A team from the food hub conducts an annual review of all grower operations to ensure compliance with the requirements outlined in this section of the manual and to help correct any deficiencies. The food hub may not be able to buy product from a grower that does not meet the standards that follow in this section of the manual. Each food hub identifies the individual responsible to work with growers on the annual review and other inspections that may be required for the operations.

For purposes of compliance and uniformity, your food hub should communicate to you any changes to the requirements and policies either by email or by written notice. The food hub should also communicate any third party audit requirements that the food hub or its buyers require.

Example: Third Party Requirements

Gordon Food Services (GFS) requires the Canada GAP Program.


This section of the manual will help you to:
  • Meet the standards of the food hub for safe handling of all products pre- and post-harvest
  • Train staff on cleaning and sanitizing of work areas
  • Ensure safety of product during packaging and transport
  • Meet specific food hub requirements for specific crops in terms of packaging, harvesting, grading, cooling and cleaning
Minimum Requirements for Growers

Some minimum requirements for growers include the following:
  • A minimum of $5,000,000 product liability insurance
  • A copy of proof of potable water, obtained by water testing
  • Completed and signed Food Safety Checklist for Produce Farms
  • A copy of AHS Food Handling Certificates if appropriate
  • A copy of proof of enrollment in programs such as OFFs or Organic Certification as required by the food hub
Exercise: Do You Meet Minimum Requirements?

Think about what requirements you have already met. Check those off the previous list. Go to the section, Food Safety Checklist for Produce Farms, Appendix 5, and check off other requirements you have already met.

Each food hub has specific requirements and the programs (e.g. OFFs or Certified Organic) that are expected of growers. As a grower, you then apply the rules outlined within the specified requirements or programs.

As a basic, you need to implement an on-farm food safety program. This would include, but not be limited to, the general practices that follow in this section of the manual...


Harvest requirements focus on washing and sanitizing harvest tools and proper hand washing by staff.

Harvest Tools
Take the following steps to ensure harvest tools meet requirements.
  • Clean knives before sanitizing. Use hot water (45C) and detergent to scrub clean and then rinse in clean running water.
  • Mix sanitizers to the correct solution strength (100 ppm chlorine) to kill microbes without contaminating food with sanitizer.
  • Test the sanitizer strength with test strips regularly to ensure sufficient concentration.
  • Wash and sanitize harvest knives and other tools with the sanitizer. Soak for two minutes and air dry using a drying rack.
  • Wash harvest tubs before harvest and sanitize once per day following the recommended sanitizing solution process.
For more information on sanitizers, see the section, Sanitizer Solutions, on page 15.

Restroom and Hand Washing Stations

Provide staff access to restrooms (within 400 metres) and handwashing stations while harvesting. Hand-washing stations should have potable water in a container with a minimum capacity of five gallons or 20 litres. The water should be warm, between 30 - 45C.

The acceptable method for washing hands is in the stream of running water for approximately 20 seconds and not in the water resting in the catch basin. The collection system to catch the wastewater from hand washing must be equal or greater to the capacity of the potable water container. You must provide single-use towels and liquid soap in suitable dispensers.

Visit AHS website for more on hand washing processes.

Exercise: Meeting Requirements

Do you meet the above requirements for restroom and hand-washing stations? Yes or No? If no, what do you need to change?

Post-Harvest Procedures for Staff

Post-harvest procedures focus on diligent hand washing and proper use of food handling gloves. At the end of this section are some additional procedures for staff.

Before post-harvest handling, ensure staff:
  • Rinse overshoes or change out of footwear
  • Change out of clothes that are too soiled
  • Wash hands
  • Put on a clean apron
Hand-Washing Policy

All staff must follow proper handwashing practices and use only hand-washing stations designated for that purpose. Ensure that all staff adhere to the following procedures.

Post the following two sets of instructions prominently by wash stations:

Hand-Washing Steps
  1. Wet your hands with warm running water.
  2. Wash hands with liquid soap.
  3. Wash palms, between the fingers and under nails, wrists, back of hands, thumbs and fingertips for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse hands with warm running water.
  5. Dry hands with paper towel.
  6. Turn off faucet using a paper towel and dispose of paper towel in lidded garbage can.

Hand-Washing Requirements

All staff must wash hands:
  • Before beginning work upon entry of facility or kitchen
  • Before touching food and/or equipment
  • After touching dirty utensils or equipment
  • When any contamination of hands occurs
  • After toilet use before returning to work
  • After touching face, nose or hair
  • After sneezing or coughing
  • After cleaning duties
  • After smoking
  • After touching garbage
  • After eating
Posters that you can place in the appropriate areas of your operation are available from Alberta Health Services (AHS) and online.

Food Handling Gloves

Food handling gloves can prevent contamination of food if used properly, particularly with ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking. Ensure your staff adhere to the following requirements.

Post these instructions for your staff:
  • Wash hands properly before putting on the gloves and every time you change the gloves.
  • Change gloves between tasks.
  • Throw disposable gloves away after each use.
  • Wear gloves over bandages on hands.
  • Whenever possible, use utensils such as spoons or tongs, instead of a gloved hand.
  • Discard and replace contaminated gloves.
Hand Sanitizers

Your food handlers may be able to use hand sanitizers as long as they have access to a well-stocked hand sink. Train staff to use hand sanitizer on clean hands and follow these steps.
  • Add the product to the palm of one hand, dip all of your fingertips into the sanitizer and rub your hands together to distribute the sanitizer.
  • Rub your hands until they are dry.
Remember that hand sanitizer is not considered as effective as washing hands in warm water and soap. If you have soil on your hands, first wash with water and soap and then sanitize.

Other Staff Procedures

In addition to proper hand washing and proper use of food handling gloves, ensure staff follow these procedures:
  • To prevent food-borne illness, practice good personal hygiene, store and handle food properly and clean and sanitize food contact surfaces.
  • Do not handle food while experiencing flulike symptoms (sore throat, fever, vomiting, diarrhea or jaundice) or a diagnosis of a foodborne illness (commonly called food poisoning).
  • Wash hands thoroughly and frequently, whether or not gloves are worn.
  • Keep fingernails clean and short. No artificial nails are allowed.
  • Wear clean uniforms and aprons. Change as often as needed.
  • Keep hair tied back or controlled by wearing a cap or hairnet.
  • Keep jewelry at home. Do not wear jewelry while handling food.
  • Drink liquids out of a closed container only.
  • Do not eat in harvest/postharvest areas. Eat only in designated places outside of food harvest and packing areas.
  • Launder all soiled aprons/clothes after use.
Sealed surfaces are the standard; check them regularly to ensure they are still sealed.

Cleaning and Sanitizing of Work Areas

It is critical that you properly clean and sanitize work areas. The following outlines the requirements for each work area or component.

Specific Work Areas

All food contact surfaces: wash prior to washing produce. Tables, counters, sinks and equipment must be:
  • Cleaned with soap and water (using scrub pads) or pressure washed
  • Wiped with a squeegee to remove excess water or allowed to air dry
  • Sprayed with a surface sanitizer of 100 ppm bleach
  • Left to air dry before use
Cloths and scrub pads: in between use, soak in bleach solution that is made fresh each day. The solution will lose potency with exposure to air and dirt. Replace squeegees when cracks become visible.

Floors: sweep at least once per day, when food is not out, and wash/sanitize as needed. Ensure the prepared food does not come in contact with the floor.

Equipment: scrub or pressure wash and clean before and after each harvest in such a manner that it does not contaminate the product. This may include wash tanks, sinks, brushes, brush washers, roller tracks and produce tubs.

Coolers: clean regularly and sanitize with a surface sanitizer. Monitor and document temperature readings daily.

For training videos on temperature monitoring, thermometer calibration and sanitation visit http://www1.$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/fs14712

Packaging: ensure all boxes are in good, clean condition. See specific crop instructions for use of a plastic liner.

Garbage: remove routinely and discard or store safely.

Animals: do not touch animals (including dogs and cats) during harvest or postharvest handling. Do not allow pets in the fields, and take measures to exclude wildlife. If you find animal feces in a production field, remove the feces and the soil around them.

Do not allow animals in postharvest facilities. Keep rodents and birds out of all facilities, and do not harvest produce soiled with bird droppings or in close proximity to animal feces.

Vehicles: keep all vehicles clean. If animals travel in a vehicle used to transport food, clean and sanitize the vehicle before you load food. Transport items in an enclosed vehicle following temperature guidelines for produce or other products. Use vehicle cleaning logs.

Exercise: Improve Specific Work Areas

Select a couple of the areas above and write down some improvements you could make. Then make those improvements.

Sanitizer Solutions

Chemical sanitation involves the use of an approved sanitizer at a specified concentration and contact time. Common sanitizers used in the food industry include chlorine solutions (bleach), hydrogen peroxide, iodine and quaternary ammonium compounds (quats). Be sure to check with the program you are following to confirm which sanitizers and cleaners are permitted.

Example: Sanitizers for Organic Growers

Organic growers need to address clause 8.2 of the General Principles and management standards (CAN/CGSB 32.310) .

Handle sanitizers carefully and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While you can use vinegar to physically remove dirt and debris by scouring and wiping surfaces, it does not kill bacteria and viruses and is not an approved or effective sanitizer.

Factors impacting the effectiveness of a chemical sanitizer include:
  • Concentration of the sanitizer
  • Temperature of the sanitizing solution (all sanitizers work best at temperatures between 24 - 49C)
  • Cleanliness of the surface to be sanitized
  • Age of the sanitizer. Because sanitizing solutions lose their effectiveness over time, as they are exposed to air and organic materials, make sanitizer solutions daily, check them with test strips and record the test strip results. For example, bleach has approximately 6 month’s effectiveness. Label your bottle with the purchase date to keep track.
Note that water temperature above 50C may release chlorine gas which is toxic. The potential for corrosion also goes up with increased temperatures.

General Post-Harvest Procedures for Crops

During the postharvest process, cull all unsatisfactory crops. If you must wash the product, the water used for cleaning and rinsing product must be clean and potable.

All crops must be clean when they arrive at the food hub. This may require you to wash with chlorinated wash water or a hydrogen peroxidebased sanitizer, rinse and drain or simply brush or remove visible soil. The method depends on the product.

When brushing or wiping product, use tools designated for the product only. Do not use the same tools for cleaning the product and cleaning food contact surfaces, as this can lead to cross contamination. Clean brushes and towels between product types; change towels when soiled.

See the section “Crop Specifics: Packaging, Harvesting and Grading, Cooling and Cleaning” for more information on how to prepare each specific crop for delivery.


As a grower, you must be able to provide your product in institutional case size lots and are expected to clean, sanitize and package the product in industry standard packaging. You are responsible for purchasing and providing any packaging (tomato boxes, box liners, clamshells, etc.). You can purchase from the food hub or source independently.

CFIA has commodity-specific packaging requirements. Check with your food hub or CFIA inspector for details.

Exercise: Packaging Requirements

In addition to the specific crop packaging instructions below, can you meet the following requirements?

Check off those that you currently meet.
  • Use food-grade packing materials
  • Use clean packing materials (boxes can be re-used if new, clean liners are added)
  • Keep packing containers clean during field packing
  • Provide adequate drainage for all products, in order to prevent bacterial growth
  • Keep raw food separate from produce (if packing meat, dairy and produce)
  • Keep clean produce separate from soiled produce
Contact The Organic Food Box if you need help finding sources of packaging.

Temperature Log
You are required to keep a daily temperature log for each refrigerator or freezer unit.

Many templates for temperature logs are available in the Food Safety Guidebook at and in the Marketing Food Safely Resource, a home study manual for farm direct marketers.


Include the following information on your labels:
  • Your farm name
  • Reference/purchase order (PO) number
  • Product identity and amount
  • Date of packing
  • Lot #
Your labelling must comply with CFIA regulations. For more information on labelling, check out the CFIA’s Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising on the CFIA web site.

Tracking System

As a grower, you are required to use a tracking system that allows both you and a third party to pinpoint the source of any product, using the information on the product label. Keep these records on hand for one year. Include the information found in the sample tracking log below.

Sample Tracking Log

The Tracking Log form is Appendix 2 at the back of this document.

Food Hub Logistics

This next section covers the logistics of the food hub operation, from transportation and payment to supplies and delivery. These standards would not be required for your audit (as an individual grower) but are necessary for developing a successful food hub.

Make sure you have contact information for your food hub for after-hours questions and procedures.

Transport to Food Hub or Distribution Center

Prior to, and during transport, keep all foods in temperature controlled storage to limit microbial growth and extend shelf life. Under Alberta legislation, all high risk foods must be stored at temperatures not more than 4C and not less than 60C.

The following table provides some guidelines for storage.

Guidelines for Storage of Products

ProductStorage Requirements
Fresh fruits and vegetablesAppropriate for the product, generally 0 - 22C
Frozen productsTemperatures that do not permit thawing, -18C
Whole eggsTemperatures not exceeding 7C and kept separate from other products
Shelf-stable, non–perishables, such as jams, jellies and picklesCool, dry, well ventilated areas. Temperatures between 10 - 21C for dry storage
Non-food items Keep physically separated from food products
If food products can be stored at room temperature, they must be protected from direct sun, excessive heating or rapid temperature changes and moisture which could adversely affect the integrity of the products’ containers or product safety. Dry goods generally have a low risk of bacterial growth but, like perishable products, they too have limited storage time.

Vehicles used for transporting product to the distribution facility should be clean and well maintained. You are responsible for keeping your delivery vehicle in good repair and in a clean condition. Keep the cargo area clean and protected from dust, dirt, water and pests during transport. Insulate the cargo area to preserve the quality of produce.

Incoming vehicles are inspected by the food hub receiver, and product may be rejected if it is not up to standards.

All products must be delivered in the quantities and packaging as detailed in the specific crop instructions starting on page 22.


Access to the distribution facility is controlled; it is locked when the receiver is not present. Deliveries to the facility must be made during food hub receiving hours.

Exercise: The Organic Box Receiving Hours
Monday 9 - 5
Tuesday 7 - 7
Wednesday 7 - 7
Thursday 7 - 7
Friday 7 - 7

Check regularly with your food hub to confirm receiving hours.

All visitors are required to sign in and out and show identification. Over time, you get to know the facility manager; if you are using a substitute driver to drop off product or pick up supplies, notify the manager in advance.

You need to keep a shipping record similar to the sample below.

Sample Shipping Record

The Shipping Record form is Appendix 3 at the back of this document.


Generally, food hubs outline the process for growers to communicate availability. Some growers provide online inventory postings and purchase order management, while others will have direct contact with the food hub by telephone, hand filled inventory logs and times for notification to the food hub of volumes and types of products available in advance.

The food hub will communicate the final purchase orders to growers on an agreed-upon ordering cycle, depending on the product.


Generally, you are paid on net 30 term, and payments generally will be 21 - 28 days out from the purchase order receiving date. Always check with the food hub buyer to confirm the payment process.

Storage of Bins

As a grower, you may opt to transport products in re-usable bins, trays or other forms of sturdy transport. These accessories are your property but can remain at the food hub between deliveries. Label all bins with your farm name. It is your responsibility to maintain your own inventory and to ensure bins are sanitized before being used for the next delivery.

Crop Specifics: Packaging, Harvesting and Grading, Cooling and Cleaning

The following requirements for each crop are examples (click on this link) from The Organic Box. As a grower, you need to find out the requirements of the food hub with which you do business.

For more information on grading, go to CFIA.

Food Recall

The food hub and its growers need to be prepared for a recall situation. A mock recall is required every year by the food hub to test the plan it has in place. A mock recall is a simulated recall exercise with a time limit to complete the entire exercise (e.g. 2 hours).


After you complete this section, you will be able to:
  • Identify how a food recall will affect you
  • Prepare for a recall
  • Take part in a mock recall
What is a food recall and how does it affect you?

Food hubs and growers use many controls to make sure that the products they produce are safe. Sometimes, for many different reasons, a product may be grown, packaged and sold in a manner which may make some people ill or injure them, or is in violation of the legislation.

When an unsafe food product has left the control of the manufacturer or packager or seller, it must be removed from the market. To do that, everyone in the value chain is involved. This process of removing the product is called a “recall”. If a company has purchased a product which is unsafe and/or you have sold the product to someone else, the company must recall the product. Part of the recall is to isolate the problem and to ensure the company can fix the problem and minimize it from happening again. To do this, traceability is vital.

If the food hub should choose not to conduct a recall, the Minister of Agriculture may order the food hub to conduct the recall under Section 19.

Exercise: Are You Ready for a Recall?

As a grower, try to answer the following questions to see how prepared you are for a recall.
  • Where do you fit in a recall?
  • What will be expected of you?
  • If you needed to remove a product from the market right now, would you be able to do it?
  • Would you be able to remove the product quickly?
  • Would you be able to remove the entire product?
Use the CFIA guide to help you answer the questions, develop a recall plan and put the plan into action in the event of a recall. It will assist you in identifying unsafe products which you have received or sold.

A fillable form for the recall exercise can be found in Appendix 4.

Example: Fenugreek Recall

Health Hazard Alert – Bunches of fresh fenugreek leaves may be contaminated with the toxic weed Senecio vulgaris.

Advisory details

Ottawa, February 11, 2012 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Fruiticana Produce Inc. are warning the public not to consume certain bunches of Fenugreek leaves because they may be contaminated with a toxic weed Senecio vulgaris.

The bunches of Fenugreek leaves were sold exclusively through Fruiticana stores in British Columbia and Alberta from February 5, 2012 to February 11, 2012 inclusive. These bunches of Fenugreek leaves contain no lot codes or labels. If consumers have purchased these bunches of Fenugreek leaves at any Fruiticana location, and are unsure if they have the affected product, they should consult the place of purchase to verify if their product is affected by the recall.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product. The toxic weed Senecio vulgaris can contain various chemicals known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) which are known to cause liver damage in humans if consumed in sufficient amounts.

For more information go to:

To access the CFIA Guide, go to


You should now be able to meet the requirements of your food hub for the specific crops you grow and align your practices with current food safety standards and programs. You can also be better prepared for any internal audits or reviews or even a food recall.

This manual is one of two in a series. The other manual in the series – Food Hub Vendor Manual – is designed to help vendors meet buyer expectations surrounding such things as pricing, ordering, delivery, quality, sustainability and service.


The forms appearing in the Appendix are available in digital, fillable, PDF format. These forms can be accessed directly by clicking on the links provided below:

Appendix 1: Best Practices Checklist for Growers

Appendix 2: Tracking Log

Appendix 3: Shipping Record

Appendix 4: Exercise on Recall

Appendix 5: Food Safety Checklist for Produce Farms


Commercial Vegetable Production Manual on the Prairies$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex15123

Public Health Act and Food Regulation

On-Farm Food Safety Programs$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/fs14986

CANADA Gap Food Safety for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

CFIA Grading Link,_c._285/page-10.html#h-27

Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising

Irrigation Water Quality Safety For Fresh Field Grown Fruits and Vegetables$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/irr14171

Surface Water Quality Guidelines for use in Alberta

Accredited laboratories in Alberta that can test for fecal coliforms and E.coli visit

Temporary Hand Washing Stations

Hand Washing

For training videos on temperature monitoring, thermometer calibration and sanitation visit:$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/fs14712

Explore Local homepage$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/explore13596

Selling Local Food Directly to Foodservice and Hospitality$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex14381

Selling Local Food Directly to Institutions and Schools$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex14457

Food Safety Guidebook$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/afs12301

Chapter 10 Development of a Recall Plan$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/explore13314/$FILE/Chapter16.pdf

Food Safety Information for Producers$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/fs14615

Food Safety Branch webpage$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/fs14746

“On‐farm Food Safety: Cleaning and Sanitizing Guide,” ISU Extension PM 1974C:

Temperature Conversion Table

Recommended Storage Temperatures (from Small-scale post-harvest handling practices – A manual for horticultural crops) storage temperatures

Organic Alberta

This publication and the format are based on a 24-page guidebook, Grower’s Manual: A Template for Grower Cooperatives, published by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in 2011. The manual originally was developed and used by GROWN locally, a producer co-operative in northwest Iowa. More information at

Permission was granted to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry on September 15, 2015, to adapt the original material for use in Alberta.

Initiated by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, funding for this project was provided through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative.

More information, contact:
Alberta Ag-Info Centre
Call toll free: 310-FARM (3276)

Source: Agdex 843-1. November 2016.

Other Documents in the Series

  Best Practices Guidebook Food Hub Grower Manual - Current Document
Best Practices Guidebook Food Hub Vendor Manual
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This document is maintained by Jennifer Rutter.
This information published to the web on November 3, 2016.
Last Reviewed/Revised on October 22, 2018.