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Archived - Honey Establishment Inspection Manual

This page has been archived

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.

1.0 Background

The Government of Canada has consolidated all federally-mandated food inspection and quarantine services into a single federal food inspection agency - the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The consolidation into a single agency integrates the delivery of inspection and quarantine services previously provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Health Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. All inspection services related to food safety, economic fraud, trade-related requirements, and animal and plant health programs, are provided by CFIA. Health and safety standards for CFIA are set by Health Canada.

The Honey Program is one of fourteen programs within CFIA. The Honey Program has two manuals of procedures - the Honey Product Inspection Manual which outlines procedures for product inspections and this manual, the Honey Establishment Inspection Manual.

The CFIA has also established procedures and various manuals for the Food Safety Enhancement Program (FSEP). FSEP is currently a voluntary program for registered honey establishments who wish to be recognized by CFIA since they have developed and applied a HACCP system. The four chapters of the FSEP manual can be found at: Once a registered honey establishment achieves FSEP recognition by CFIA, it will no longer receive inspection services as described in the Honey Establishment Inspection Manual; instead, audit principles as described in Chapter 4 of the FSEP manual will be utilized.

The Honey Establishment Inspection Manual outlines procedures for: the registration of establishments, inspection of the establishments, follow-ups, and enforcement and compliance actions in cases of non-compliance. The manual establishes clear national standards and procedures, which will be of assistance in training as well as in maintaining program uniformity. Peculiarities and issues that are not covered by this manual are to be brought to the attention of the Program Network Specialist.

This manual is intended for use by CFIA inspection staff and registered honey establishments. The inspection tasks are divided among prerequisite programs, manufacturing controls and records. It is expected that the registered honey establishment demonstrates control over programs for premises, transportation and storage, equipment, personnel, sanitation and pest control, recall and manufacturing to meet requirements in order to produce safe, wholesome, properly represented and high quality honey products.

The Honey Establishment Inspection Manual has been incorporated into CFIA's electronic inspection database called the "Multi Commodity Activities Program (MCAP)". All information relevant to registered honey establishments has been entered and stored in the database. Inspection worksheets, compliance rating and corrective action reports are generated from the MCAP database.

This edition of the manual has been revised from the Honey Inspection Manual issued in 1989. Amendments will be issued on an as-needed basis for each chapter. Requests for changes or modifications should be directed to the Chief, Honey Program or National Manager, Dairy, Eggs and Honey, in Ottawa.

2.0 Legal Authority

The Honey Establishment Inspection Manual is based on the authority and requirements of the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Honey Regulations, the Food and Drugs Act and its Regulations, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations and Part 7 of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice. This manual has no precedence over any federal regulations.

3.0 Objectives

  1. To ensure that honey which is traded interprovincially and/or internationally or carries the Canada grade mark, is manufactured in registered establishments
  2. To ensure that registered honey establishments are in compliance with federal Canadian legislation.
  3. To ensure that registered establishments are inspected in accordance with the Honey Establishment Inspection Manual.

4.0 Responsibilities

4.1 Industry

Industry is responsible for compliance with appropriate government regulations regarding:

  • safety (biological, chemical and physical hazards)
  • representation (fraud, labelling and substitution)
  • quality (grade, standards and composition)

The establishment inspection program measures the attainment of these responsibilities. Industry is encouraged to actively participate with the inspection team during the establishment inspection. Industry is further encouraged to develop and implement a quality management system and self monitor their performance on an ongoing basis. A quality management system may include, On Farm Food Safety (OFFS), ISO certification or HACCP Recognition.

In order to facilitate an accurate and thorough evaluation of tasks, establishment management is responsible for:

  • accompanying the inspection team;
  • providing for the dismantling of equipment, when required;
  • assisting in record and program reviews.

4.2 CFIA

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the delivery of the inspection program as designed and adhering to the following safe work practices.

4.2.1 Occupational Safe Work Practices

All inspection staff must be aware of the hazards that are inherent in their working environment. Pre-occupational checks of the work area are essential to identify unsafe conditions or situations. These must be corrected before inspection is started. Work should not proceed on third party premises until unsafe conditions and situations are corrected.

Following safe work practices combined with on the job training will help reduce the chance of injury to an inspector. The following safe work practices are to be observed when performing inspection tasks outlined in this manual.

(a) Manual Material Handling

Plan and notify the regulated party of your visit. Have a regulated party representative assigned to you at all times. If required, use proper lifting techniques:

  • keep feet at least a foot apart to provide a stable base;
  • with a straight back, bend the knees to lift;
  • lift as close to your body as possible;
  • turn by pivoting at the feet, not twisting at the waist;
  • ask for assistance when necessary

When conducting an inspection at a workstation, ensure that table height is adequate to perform the inspection and lighting is at least 540 lux.

(b) Moving Vehicles

Be aware of all moving vehicles (forklifts, trucks, etc.) while travelling around and within the regulated party's workplace. Use designated walkways when possible. Do not assume that the pedestrian has the right of way and try to remain visible to any vehicle operators. Be aware of the dangers associated with exhaust fumes from vehicles.

(c) Personal Protective Equipment

Ensure you wear and are trained in the use, care and maintenance of the personal protective equipment as per your scales of entitlement.

Personal protective equipment requirements and safety measures are recommended, and are often listed on products or substances encountered in the workplace. The Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS) is a nationwide system intended to provide information on hazardous materials used in the workplace. There are three key elements to WHMIS: Labels, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and Worker Education. The WHMIS label and, in its absence, the product label are sources of information on the relative toxicity (flammability, corrosivity, etc.) of a substance, the first-aid measures that should be taken if and when exposure does occur, recommended personal protective equipment that should be worn and a statement to refer to the MSDS. A system of symbols and risk phrases indicates the toxicity of the substance.

The MSDS has more specific information about the product or substance and it should be consulted if it is available at the site. Personal protective equipment may include but is not limited to:

  • coveralls/lab coat/hair net;
  • CSA approved head protection;
  • CSA approved non-slip footwear;
  • CSA approved eye protection;
  • CSA approved hearing protection;
  • nuisance dust mask;
  • protective bee equipment (veils).

(d) Slip and Fall Prevention

Reduce the risk of slip, trip and fall accidents by:

  • wearing CSA approved protective footwear;
  • keeping footwear in good condition - replace at 30% wear;
  • practising good housekeeping;
  • keeping work area and walkway free from debris;
  • following safe work practices.

(e) Third Party Premises

Be aware of environmental conditions (e.g. presence of excessive number of bees) and any structural concerns. Inform plant management of the occupational health and safety hazard.

(f) Climbing

Inspectors must not climb any skids, equipment or materials. Inspectors must not stand on the forks of a lift truck or stand on any platform being hoisted by a lift truck. Ask the regulated party for assistance when necessary.

(g) Emergency Procedures

Inspectors must be familiar with the emergency procedures in the establishment they are working in. The inspector must also :

  • know the emergency plan of the work site he is in;
  • if such a plan does not exist, you must ensure you have your own plan of escape if an emergency occurs;
  • you must be aware of the emergency exits in your immediate work area, these exits must remain unlocked and unobstructed;
  • refer to the appropriate MSDS when dealing with chemical hazards.

(h) Right to Refuse

Inspectors always have the right to refuse to perform an inspection for occupational safety and health reasons. If you have doubts about your safety, or a co-worker's safety, notify your supervisor and identify the safety issue. The safety issue will be addressed and resolved before you begin work.

5.0 Honey Establishment Inspection Activity Frequencies

Inspection frequencies in the work plans are established based on the previous compliance history of the various activities and their risks. Annually activities are prioritized by Programs and Operations at the national level.

The frequencies outlined in the table below should be considered as a guideline. Each registered honey establishment has a unique situation (e.g. seasonal considerations, number of products produced or imported, previous compliance history, etc.) which the inspector needs to take into consideration to determine the actual level of inspection, either more or less than indicated in the table, required for a particular establishment.

In those instances where it may not be possible to complete the activities outlined by the work plan, this information should be communicated to the Inspection Manager and/or Program Specialist with the reason(s) why they could not be delivered. Only program activities related to establishment inspection are listed in the following chart. Product inspection frequencies are listed in the Honey Product Inspection Manual.

Activity Domestic Frequency
FSEP/ HACCP Recognized
Domestic Frequency
Import Frequency
Establishment In-depth Inspection N/A 1/yr N/A
Directed Inspections (as per Chapter 2 of this manual) N/A   N/A
- Pasteurizers N/A 4 x year N/A
- Packers N/A 1/quarter when operating N/A
- Producer Graders N/A N/A N/A
Establishment - FSEP audit 1/yr N/A N/A

6.0 Honey Inspection Activity - Time Standards

Most of the honey inspection time standards are a calculated average of how much time is needed to complete the activity. They include all the time required for preparation, inspection, and documentation, including any clerical support time. Activities do not include travel time. Where there is no time standard and real time is tracked, the inspector should keep a log of all the time taken in the office and/or at the establishment/importer site to the nearest quarter hour (15 minutes). The RMS Help Manual can be found at: O:\programs\RMS

Establishment Registration
Registration less then (<) 20 hours CFIA 3043 - Application for Registration
CFIA 3382 - Descriptive Profile
CFIA 5138 - Certificate of Registration
Registration greater then (>) 20 hours CFIA 3043 - Application for Registration
CFIA 3382 - Descriptive Profile
CFIA 5138 - Certificate of Registration  
Registration - Renewal CFIA 3043 - Application for Registration
CFIA 3382 - Descriptive Profile
CFIA 5138 - Certificate of Registration
Establishment Inspection
Food Safety Enhancement Program - FSEP Training Training records Real Time
Food Safety Enhancement Program - FSEP Recognition Process FSEP Forms - Appendix 1, 2 and 4 Real Time
Food Safety Enhancement Program - FSEP Regulatory Partial Audit FSEP Forms - Appendix 6 Real Time
Food Safety Enhancement Program - Follow-up FSEP Regulatory Partial Audits FSEP Forms - Appendix 6 Real Time
Food Safety Enhancement Program - FSEP Regulatory Full System Audit FSEP Forms - Appendix 6 Real Time
In-depth Inspection - Pasteurizer /Packer MCAP
Establishment Inspection Worksheet
In-depth plant Inspection - # of follow-up inspections of Pasteurizer/Packers completed   MCAP
Establishment Inspection Worksheet
In-depth plant Inspection - # of directed inspection of Pasteurizer/Packer   MCAP
Establishment Inspection Worksheet
CFIA 0992 - Inspection Report
In-depth Inspection -Producer/Grader MCAP
Establishment Inspection worksheet
In-depth plant Inspection - # of follow-up inspections of honey producer/graders completed MCAP
Establishment Inspection worksheet

7.0 Honey Inspection Activity - Fees and Fee Schedule

The various fees for activities carried out in the Honey Program can be found in Part 7 of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice at:

The fee schedule including financial coding may be found at:

More information on the procedures involved in cost recovery can be found in the Registration of Establishment Chapter of this manual and the Cost Recovery Procedures Chapter of the Honey Product Inspection Manual.

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