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Archived - Celery

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This page was archived due to the coming into force of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. Archived information is provided for reference, research or record-keeping purposes only. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. For current information visit Food.

  1. General Requirements
    • 1.1 Grades
    • 1.2 Terminology Used
    • 1.3 Similar Varietal Characteristics
    • 1.4 Properly Packed and Marked
  2. Size
    • 2.1 Requirements
    • 2.2 Measuring Size
  3. Colour
  4. Cleanliness
  5. Freshness
  6. Permanent Defects
    • 6.1 Cracked Stems and Brown Checking
    • 6.2 Growth Cracks
    • 6.3 Insect Damage
    • 6.4 Mechanical Damage And/or Broken Branches
    • 6.5 Seedstems
    • 6.6 Trimming
    • 6.7 Other Permanent Defects
  7. Condition Defects
    • 7.1 Blackheart or Heart Rot
    • 7.2 Blight
    • 7.3 Decay
    • 7.4 Discolouration
    • 7.5 Freezing Damage
    • 7.6 Pithiness
    • 7.7 Scuffed And/or Bruised Areas
    • 7.8 Other Condition Defects
  8. General Tolerances
  9. Requirements for Movement of Celery

1. General Requirements

1.1 Grades

The grades and grade names for celery are Canada No. 1, Canada No. 1 Heart and Canada No. 2.

Canada No. 1 Heart celery is the grade that possesses the characteristics of Canada No. 1 grade except for uniformity of size, minimum diameter and minimum stalk length.

1.2 Terminology Used

The following are definitions which will be used throughout this manual:

Stalk: Consists of a group of short thickened stems which are attached at the root system of the plant.

Butt: Point of attachment of all branches and includes the roots.

Branch: Is the edible stem-like portion of the stalk. It includes the midrib, the node and leaves.

Foliage or leaves: Is the portion of the branch over the first node.

Midrib: Is the portion between the point of attachment to the root and the first node.

Node: Is the first point of attachment of the leaves or the top to the midrib.

1.3 Similar Varietal Characteristics

Only the Canada No. 1 grade requires the celery to have stalks that have inner heart branches of a number, length and stockiness characteristic of the variety when mature.

Characteristic means that long straight types of celery should not be mixed with short stubby types, nor green types with golden, blanching or white types.

The Canada No. 2 grade does not have this requirement.

1.4 Properly Packed and Marked

1.4.1 Requirements

The Regulations require that celery be properly packed. Produce meeting this requirement as defined below may be reported as such.

Properly packed: means that when the celery is packed in a package, they are not so packed as to be slack, over-pressed or otherwise in a condition likely to result in damage during handling or while in transit.

Slack: means the package is clearly not full and a free movement of the product is possible or evident.

Overpressed or very tight: means that the package is excessively filled, causing too much of a bulge in the package and damaging the produce within.

Both slack filled and overpressed or very tight mean that the product is not in compliance with the properly packed requirement.

1.4.2 Number of of Stalks per Container

When celery is placed in packages, ten percent (10%) of the packages may contain more than five percent (5%) more stalks or five percent (5%) fewer stalks than the number of stalks marked on the packages.

This means that the number of stalks per individual package may vary as marked in the following table.

Number of Stalks per Package Permitted Variation
0 - 9 0
10 - 29 1
30 - 49 2
50 - 69 3
70 - 89 4

1.4.3 Properly Marked

All packages must be marked with the common name of the produce (unless the product is clearly visible through the package), net quantity (number of stalks), name and address (including postal code) of the responsible party, and for Canadian and imported prepackaged produce (cello wrapped produce) the grade name.

2. Size

2.1 Requirements

Canada No. 1 and Canada No. 2 grades require that celery be sized. Canada No. 1 Heart grade does not have a size requirement.

The size requirements for each grade are as follows:

Canada No. 1

Canada No. 2

2.2 Measuring Size

Length of the Stalk: Is the distance from the point where the main root is cut off, to a point that represents the average extremity of the outer whorl of the branches.

Average Midrib Length: Is the average length of all the midribs on the outer whorl measured from the point of attachment at the base to the first node.

Diameter of the Stalk: Is the distance 51 cm (2 inches) above the point where the lowest branch is attached to the base.

3. Colour

There is no colour requirement as such for celery in both grades. However, the colour of stalks in Canada No. 1 grade must be characteristic of the variety and anything other than the colour of the variety when mature could affect the grade.

For more details regarding discolouration, please refer to Sections 7.2 and 7.4 of this manual.

4. Cleanliness

Usually celery stalks are washed and cleanliness is not a real problem. However, when stalks have not been washed and are affected by the dust of black earth between the branches or around the base, the inspector should not consider the celery as damaged.

Caked dirt will be scored when it affects an area per stalk equivalent to more than 38.1 cm (1 1/2 inches) in length and half of the width of the branch and affects:

Canada No. 1
More than two (2) branches.

Canada No. 2
More than four (4) branches.

5. Freshness

Canada No. 1 celery must be fresh.

Fresh means normal succulence, turgidity of the stalk, also be brittle, firm and crisp.

Canada No. 2 grade, there is no freshness requirement, however, its appearance should not be seriously affected. This means a stalk of celery must not be wilted or flabby.

Flabby or wilted means soft, weak, pliable and lacking of turgidity often due to a loss of water.

6. Permanent Defects

6.1 Cracked Branches and Brown Checking

Cracked branches and brown checking are symptoms of boron deficiency and therefore, will be discussed together. Please note that both defects do not appear necessarily simultaneously.

Cracked branches is characterized by many isolated cracks across the ribs or tears in the ribs of the outer (abaxial) surface of the branches, although the inner surface may also be affected.

Brown checking only affects the inner surface of the branches along the longitudinal axis. The damaged area appears corrugated and ranges from greenish-tan through dark brown. Horizontal cracks open in the lesions in severe cases.

These defects are scored:

Canada No. 1
When it materially affects more than two (2) branches.

Canada No. 2
When it seriously affects more than four (4) branches.

6.2 Growth Cracks

Growth cracks are vertical cracks generally occurring at the point of attachment of the branch to the butt of the stalks.

They may be caused by very rapid growth, for instance when a rainy period follows a long dry spell. The cracks vary in size but usually heal over and no rot follows the injury.

This defect is scored:

Canada No. 1
When more than two (2) branches are affected by cracks and the cracks are over 12.7 mm (1/2 inch) long.

Canada No. 2
When more four (4) branches are affected by cracks and the cracks are over 12.7 mm (1/2 inch) long.

6.3 Insect or Snail Damage

Some of the more common insects or mollusks found in celery include:

Cutworms: Cutworms usually feed on the lower part of the branches and often on the inside. It is usually necessary to spread the branches apart in order to detect the damage.

Snails: Snails are small brown mollusks, usually 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) to 25.4 mm (1 inch) in length. Snails often feed on the midrib portion of the branch or on or near the heart branches. Snails are not insects, however, the damage caused by snails will be scored as insect injury.

Leaf Miners: Leaf miners are small, yellowish maggots that mine beneath the epidermis, producing channels of dead tissue which show up as white trails, tunnels or blisters on the leaves, upper branches and midribs. On the midribs, it is seen on both the inner and outer surfaces. Leaves have a blistered appearance.

Tier Worm: Tier worm, also known as web worm, is a common cause of damage on celery. Its presence is indicated by small webs spun among the leaves. The larvae feeds on the foliage and upper branches of the celery. The midribs may also be badly blemished by worms, usually on the inside of the rib.

Note: These descriptions are only to help the inspector to recognize the damage. The inspector should never identify the insect or the kind of insect damage.

Insect or snail damages are scored:

Canada No. 1

Canada No. 2

NOTE: If live insects or snails are present, treat as a condition defect. If the insects or snails are dead, treat as a permanent defect.

6.4 Mechanical Damage and/or Broken Branches

This generally refers to broken branches caused by rough handling in the packing operation. Branches broken above the first node should not be reported on the certificate.

Mechanical damage or broken branches are scored:

Canada No. 1
When more than two (2) branches per stalk are affected.

Canada No. 2
When more than four (4) branches per stalk are affected.

6.5 Seedstems

In normal stalks of celery in which seedstems have not developed, the branches all originate at one point at the base of the plant. When seedstems develop, the branches have a tendency to grow out of the centre at points above the base. This condition is apparent only when seedstems are well advanced.

Inspectors must score celery for seedstems in all grades when the first node of the seedstem is visible, when the branches are spread in a normal manner. Spread in a normal manner would mean spreading the stalk of celery at 1/2 to 2/3 up the length of the stalk. This interpretation normally limits seedstems to approximately 15.2 cm (6 inches) in length.

If the formation of seedstems is found evenly throughout the lot and the inspector has no reason to believe that they developed after packing, the celery has to be considered as having a permanent defect.

However, if the celery was in transit for an extended period of time as evidenced by more yellowing of the foliage in the upper layers of the load and irregularity in the percentage of seedstem formation in individual cases which would indicate that the seedstems have developed after packing, the defect must be treated as a condition defect.

6.6 Trimming

Canada No. 1
Celery in this grade is required to be:

Trimmed: So that any outside coarse or damaged branches and suckers have been removed; and the portion of main root remaining is not more than 76.2 cm (3 inches) in length.

NOTE: This 76.2 cm (3 inches) tolerance includes rootlets attached to the main root.

Over-Trimming:  Score the stalk when more than two (2) branches are loose.

Canada No. 2
There are no specific trimming requirements for Canada No. 2 grade.

Trimming: Inspectors must ensure that the appearance of the celery is not seriously affected by inadequate trimming

Over-Trimming: The stalk has not more than four (4) branches loose.

6.7 Other Permanent Defects

Are free from any damage, defect or a combination thereof, other than the damage or defects mentioned in sections 6.1 to 6.6 that:

Canada No. 1
Materially affects the appearance, edibility or shipping quality of the celery.

Canada No. 2
Seriously affects the appearance, edibility or shipping quality of the celery.

7. Condition Defects

7.1 Blackheart or Heart Rot

Blackheart also known as heart rot is a physiological disease of celery.

Typical symptoms of blackheart are dead black tips or entire leaflets of the heart leaves. In severe cases, the branches of the heart leaves may also be discoloured. Blackheart may be detected readily in stalks with sparse or spreading branches. In tightly formed stalks, however, the branches must be forced apart to locate diseased leaves.

Blackheart may become more serious during transit. Any amount of black discolouration affecting the heart leaves is scoreable against both grades.

7.2 Blight

There are two kinds of blight, early blight and late blight. These diseases are caused by two different types of fungus.

Early Blight: This disease appears on celery leaves as circular, pale yellow spots which enlarge rapidly and become brown. In damp weather the centers of old spots assume a grey cast due to the growth of the fungus. When present on branches, lesions run lengthwise on the stalk. The lesions can generally be distinguished from those of late blight by the yellowish grey colour and by the absence of black fruiting bodies found on late blight lesions.

Late Blight: This disease appears as yellowish spots when small but change to brown, greyish or even black spots with advancing age. The spots may be isolated or coalesced into large areas. Shiny, black fruiting bodies grow on dead and adjacent, normal appearing tissue. On the branches, the spots are elongated and run parallel to the branches. Undetected, incipient lesions will enlarge during transit or storage.

Both types of blight are scored:

Canada No.1
When the leaves of more than one (1) branch are affected or when more than one (1) midrib is affected.

Canada No. 2
When the leaves of more than two (2) branches are affected or when more than two (2) midribs are affected.

NOTE: At destination, this defect should not be named but rather the symptoms or condition of the product be described on the certificate.

7.3 Decay

The term decay is used to describe a deterioration involving decomposition, which is induced by fungi or bacteria and which is of a complete and progressive nature.

Inspectors are not pathologists, so it is not their duty to name the specific decay affecting the stalks.

Any soft decay or breakdown is scoreable against both grades. Rub the affected area between your fingers to be sure it is decay and not just a water-soaked area of the leaf.

At destination, the inspector should report the area where decay is found. (example: 3% decay generally affecting midribs.)

7.4 Discoloration

Discolouration of the leaves or of the branches may be caused by various pathogens or may be an indication of the freshness of the stalk.

A yellowish discolouration is a normal indicator of the freshness of the stalk, while colours varying from tan to brown to black indicates that the discolouration may have been induced by a pathogen.

Score in both grades:

Yellowish Discolouration of the inner leaves and foliage is not considered as damage and the inspector should not score it at shipping point. However, yellowing at destination can be reported in general terms for those stalks having more than twenty-five percent (25%) of their foliage yellow or yellowing. Yellowing of the mid-ribs could be permitted in late fall when the celery has been touched by cooler temperatures.

Brown to black discolouration of the leaves or of the midribs is much more serious than yellowish discolouration and must be reported in both grades. (Example: 15% of stalks show brownish discolouration affecting nearly all the leaves.)

NOTE: Discolouration caused by blight must be scored under this heading at destination. See Section 7.2 of this manual.

7.5 Freeezing Damage

Freezing damage causes the leaves and branches to appear wilted and water-soaked upon thawing. Mild freezing causes depressions in the parenchyma tissue between the ridges on the convex side of the branches. Furthermore, the epidermis tends to separate, loosen and sometimes rupture. On the concave side, the frozen areas are circular and the epidermis is loose but entire thus giving a bubble effect. Both types of lesions turn brown with age.

Freezing damage is scored:

Canada No. 1

Canada No. 2

Blistering or peeling of the foliage: should not be scored unless it materially affects the appearance, more than one-half (1/2) of the foliage. Blistering or peeling of the foliage should be reported in general terms.

Discoloured foliage: must be reported under the discolouration heading instead of freezing injury. The rational behind this is the midribs are edible while, the foliage is affecting the appearance only and so it is not as serious as freezing injury on the midribs.

7.6 Pithiness

Pithiness is invisible externally, but affected branches are soft and collapse when squeezed. The central part of such branches is hollow and some or most of the tissue is white, spongy and appears dry. Pithiness seen on the market is a sign of senescence that may appear before or after harvest or as a result of freezing injury in the field. Outer, old branches become pithy before young ones and often only the outermost branches are affected.

Stalks must be scored when midribs are pithy:

Score also:

Canada No. 1
When more than two (2) branches are affected.

Canada No. 2

7.7 Scuffed and/or Bruised Areas

The symptoms of these two defects are the flattened, discoloured or bruised areas on the outer midribs, usually as a result of rubbing, chaffing or sudden heavy pressure during handling. This condition does not usually appear at the time of packing but will show up later as a grey to black discolouration.

These conditions must be scored:

Canada No. 1
When more than two (2) branches have over a 6.45 cm2 (1 inch2) discolouration in aggregate.

Canada No. 2
When more than four (4) branches have over a 6.45 cm2 (1 inch2) discolouration in aggregate.

7.8 Other Condition Defects

Are free from any damage, defect or a combination thereof, other than the damage or defects mentioned in Sections 7.1 to 7.7 that:

Canada No. 1
Materially affects the appearance, edibility or shipping quality of the celery.

Canada No. 2
Seriously affects the appearance, edibility or shipping quality of the celery.

8. General Tolerances

Notwithstanding anything in these Regulations, in the grading of celery, the grade standard for a grade shall still be met if not more than:

9. Requirements for Movement of Celery

9.1 Interprovincial Movement

Celery shall not be sent or conveyed from one province to another unless they are packed or marked properly and meet one of the following grades:

Celery not meeting the above requirements or moving in non standard containers (example: bulk bins) shall not move interprovincially unless a Ministerial Exemption has been granted by the Minister or a delegate of the Minister.

9.2 Export

Celery being exported outside of the country must meet the requirements of one of the following grades:

Celery not meeting the above requirements or moving in non standard containers shall not be exported unless a Ministerial Exemption has been granted by the Minister or a delegate of the Minister. In such instances, the foreign consignee is required to give Agriculture Canada a written confirmation of the transaction. The confirmation could take the form of a telex, a letter on company letterhead or a facsimile of the letter on the company letterhead.

9.3 Imports

Celery being imported must meet the requirements of:

Agriculture Canada has an agreement with USDA which gives their inspectors the authority to inspect celery destined for Canada based on the following U.S. standards:

Again, these requirements are for properly graded, packed and marked celery going for the fresh market. Celery not meeting these grades or Canadian standard containers shall not be imported unless a Ministerial Exemption has been granted by the Minister or a delegate of the Minister.

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