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Operational procedure: Fresh fruits or vegetables grade verification

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1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspection staff on standard commodity inspection procedures related to grade verification of fresh fruits and vegetables. These inspections will verify that fresh fruits and vegetables meet requirements of the Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations and the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations.

The guidance outlined below may be used when verifying compliance of fresh fruit and vegetables, to support export certification, to aid in the assessment of a Preventive Control (PC) related sub-element, or as a follow-up to a complaint.

This document is intended to be used in conjunction with other guidance documents as referenced in Section 3.0

2.0 Authorities

The inspection powers, control actions and enforcement actions authorized by the above legislation are identified and explained in the Operational guideline – Food regulatory response guidelines.

3.0 Reference documents

4.0 Definitions

Unless specified below, definitions are located in either the:

Condition

(of fruits and vegetables): means the relative degree of soundness or preservation including deterioration and decomposition (état)

Master Container

Container which includes produce that is packaged into smaller units (contenant maître)

Quality

Means the properties of a product that determine its relative degree of excellence (qualité)

Score (To)

the action of identifying and recording a defect in a fruit and vegetable specimen (comptabiliser)

Single Process

Means that the product has a similar origin, such as the same bin. It must also be the same product, the same type or variety, the same grade and be packed on the same grading/production line. (processus unique)

5.0 Acronyms

Acronyms are spelled out the first time they are used in this document and are consolidated in the Food business line acronyms list.

6.0 Operational Procedure

This operational procedure provides inspection guidance specific to fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV) grade verification. FFV are inspected to ensure that regulatory requirements for grade are met as set in the following documents incorporated by reference (IbR) in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR):

The Canadian Grade Compendium: Volume 2 – Fresh Fruit or Vegetables sets out the grades standard for fresh fruit in part 1 and for fresh vegetables in part 2.

Part 1 Grade Requirements for Fresh Fruit contains quality information for:

Part 2 Grade Requirements for Fresh Vegetables contains quality information for:

The Canadian Grade Compendium: Volume - Import Grade Requirements sets out the grade requirements for imported food and provides a table of grade names for various imported food such as FFV.

The Grade Standard Requirements for Fresh Fruits or Vegetables Imported from the United States concerns FFV imported from the United States, but does not apply to miniature vegetables, except miniature cucumbers.

Where more specific guidance is required than what is provided in the Standard Inspection Process (SIP), these will be indicated in this section.

Commodity inspection operational guidance (OG) refers the inspector to the SIP for basic guidance on the four (4) inspection steps. If the commodity inspection is being conducted to support a Preventive Control Inspection (PCI) currently underway, some or parts of the inspection steps will have already been completed.

6.1 Prepare for Inspection

Refer to SIP, section 3, step 1. In addition to the general guidance provided in SIP, the following applies.

In addition to the Inspector Toolkit found in section 3.5 of the SIP, the following equipment is needed to perform a grade verification:

6.2 Conduct the Inspection

Refer to SIP, section 4, step 2 and to SIP, section 4.4.3. In addition to the general guidance provided in the SIP, the following applies.

There are two situations where FFV grade verification may be performed, at the time of shipping or repackaging, commonly known as "at shipping point" and at a time, other than at the time of shipping or repackaging, also known as "at destination".

A grade verification at shipping point is done when the product inspection occurs at any place (i.e. license holder facility) where domestic or imported FFV are graded, packed or repacked, loaded or shipped, regardless of the intended destination of the product:

A grade verification at destination is done:

6.2.1 Locate and identify the lot

A lot is a quantity of FFV that for any reason is considered separately from any other quantity of product for an inspection. As an example, the SFCA license holder designates a lot of FFV drawn from a combination of size, container/package, brand name, unique identifier or packed on the date, or a specific number of pallets of fresh fruits or vegetables.

When a shipment is comprised of lots on which markings indicate it was packed by different associations or persons, or is comprised of multiple products, varieties, grades or packages, each is considered as a separate inspection sub-lot. For purposes of comparison with the applicable general tolerances, each must be considered as a separate lot.

In order to randomly select samples, each unit (container or package) in the lot must have an equal chance of being selected, thereby excluding bias. Select the samples as randomly as possible within the lot, given the constraints of working in a production facility or warehouse environment. A true random selection of pallets, cases and/or individual packages can be achieved by using a random sampling technique. A numbering system in combination with a random number generator is one of several methods that can be used to ensure randomness. Refer to the Appendix 7 – Random sampling procedure of the Operational guidance: Food sample collection.

6.2.2 Determine the sample size, sample unit and sub sample

Most fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV) are packaged by weight or count depending on the type of packaging and the type of product. To determine the sample size (n), the inspector first needs to identify the number of units in the lot (N). Refer to Appendix 1 for the sampling tables used to identify the sample unit, sub samples and to determine the minimum number of samples to collect. For a high volume of FFV, Block Sampling could be an appropriate method to consider.

Block sampling

When performing inspections in high volume warehouses, it is permissible to group together packages resulting from a single process and packed on the same grading or production line on the same day, and treat them as a single block of product for sampling purposes. For example, a single process, and thus, a single block, could include Canada No. 1 potatoes packed in 2.27 kg (5 lb) poly bags and 4.54 kg (10 lb) paper bags. Block sampling will allow fewer samples to be taken than would be the case if each shipment or load was sampled as a separate lot.

Sampling is conducted randomly and uniformly throughout the day's production. Each different package type must be sampled. The number of samples selected per package type must be in proportion to the quantity of the package type in the block. No fewer than 2 packages (Table A) are to be sampled for each package type.

There are several precautions to consider before block sampling can be used:

  1. The grouping of various package types is allowed only if defects or other problems appear to be evenly spread throughout the lots. As soon as a specific defect or other problem is identified as affecting a certain package type, this package type must be removed from the block inspection, sampled and inspected independently
  2. It is not appropriate to switch to a block inspection technique to assess a small lot that exceeds tolerances. Block inspections cannot be used to pass product that would fail if inspected alone
  3. Product considered as a block cannot exceed a single day's production. An example of an extraordinary but acceptable circumstance could be a block assessment that cannot be completed in one day due to mechanical failure on the packing line
  4. Sampling should always be based on the total number of packages in the block. When the block has been divided for shipping, sample selection must be done equally from each individual shipment of the block. For example, a block of 2500 packages being allocated into 5 equal shipments by truck, 20 samples would be taken (Table A), selecting 4 samples per truck

6.2.3 Grade assessment criteria

Criteria for grading FFV are found in the following documents incorporated by reference in the SFCR; Canadian Grade Compendium: Volume 2 – Fresh Fruit or Vegetables, Canadian Grade Compendium: Volume 9 - Import Grade Requirements and the Grade Standard Requirements for Fresh Fruits or Vegetables Imported from the United States.

The FFV general grading criteria are described below. For specific commodity information, refer to Appendix 6 - Commodity specific grade verification tool.

Refer to Appendix 3 for general quantitative terms, to be used when doing grade verification.

A) Size

Size is to be shown:

Size may be expressed as:

B) Decay

The term decay should be used for both fruit and vegetables in the sense of being a deterioration or decline involving decomposition of the tissue and induced by fungus or bacterial action.

Rubbing the discoloured (water soaked) tissue between the fingers provides a simple but fairly reliable test to identify decay. If the discoloured material disintegrates rather than rolls up into a small ball, it may be reported as decay.

For nested or matted decay, it may not be possible to separate or distinguish individual specimens or bunches. This makes difficult an accurate count of decayed specimens. In this case, the inspection must be based on an estimate of the amount of decay rounded to increments of 5%.

C) Colour

Colour is used to describe the actual colour of the product at the time of inspection. The commercial importance of colour varies widely with different products. In most fruits, apples among others, colour it is a matter of prime importance. Colour characteristic is also important in many of the green vegetables, while in root crops it is secondary to some other factors.

Colour should be described using terms that are accurate and meaningful. For this reason, in some cases of graded produce, colour requirements that relate to the Canadian Grade Compendium Volume 2 - Fresh Fruit or Vegetables should be used.

D) Cleanliness

Terms qualifying the degrees of cleanliness are, in descending order: Clean, Fairly Clean and Reasonably Clean. Cleanliness should always be described using terms that are accurate and meaningful. For this reason, in the case of graded produce, cleanliness requirements that relate to the grade standards should be used. The Canadian Grade Compendium Volume 2 - Fresh Fruit or Vegetables should be referred to for a more detailed explanation of cleanliness for various commodities.

E) Maturity

Botanically, in a seed-producing fruit or vegetable, it is considered mature when it has developed seeds that will germinate. At this stage, the product may have exceeded its prime for consumption purposes. For inspection purposes, "mature" means the product is either ready for consumption or it will develop to that point. See Appendix 2 for maturity descriptors in fresh fruit and vegetables.

I. Maturity of Fruit

Mature is defined in Part 1 Grade Requirements for Fresh Fruits, as a fruit that has reached the stage of development that ensures completion of the ripening process

The terms "maturity" and "ripeness" of tree fruits are often used interchangeably. However, such usage is incorrect. Broadly speaking, in the pre-harvest period, the fruit is maturing on the tree, whereas following harvest in the mature state it will progressively ripen through various stages. Unfortunately, there is no one objective test that will classify fruit as either immature or, if mature, into one or other of these various stages of ripeness. Experience based on knowledge of the product (or variety) and interrelated external and internal indicators as: stem attachment, skin ground colour (as opposed to blush), firmness, flesh colour, seed colour, attachment of the seed to the flesh, texture and flavor.

It should be noted that product and varietal differences should be taken into consideration when assessing maturity criteria.

II. Maturity of Vegetables

Part 2 Grade Requirements for Fresh Vegetables refers few times to "mature" or to a degree of "maturity", however both terms are not properly defined such as Part 1 Grade Requirements for Fresh Fruits. Maturity in vegetables means the vegetable has reached the desired stage of maturity at harvest to ensure suitable shipping quality (for example a mature green Florida tomato), storage quality (for example mature potatoes that are free from skinning), or consumption qualities (for example fresh lettuce). Maturity in vegetables varies and should comply with the maturity grade requirements in the grade standard for that vegetable.

F) Properly Packaged

A fresh fruit and vegetable product which is properly packaged means that it is packaged in such a manner that the product is not likely to result in damage during handling or transport, and that the container contains not less than the net quantity of fresh fruit or vegetables declared on the label.

I. Weight

Verification of the net quantity and the package condition are done as part of the grade verification activity. To verify the tightness and fill of packages refer to Appendix 5.

To check the declared weight on consumer prepackaged products, a preliminary inspection is performed by weighing a minimum of 4 samples or 10% of the samples. If short weights are found, it will trigger an official net quantity verification. Follow the Operational procedure: Food Net Quantity Verification before reporting a non-compliance.

II. Container Sizes

Verify that FFV are packaged as prescribed in the SFCR, PART 10 - Packaging. Standard containers sizes for carrots, potatoes, beets, onions, parsnips and rutabagas are prescribed in items 5 to 10 in Table 2 of Schedule 3 of SFCR. For these six specific fresh vegetables, prescribed containers sizes do not apply when being exported, please refer to Section 187 of the SFCR. Table 7 and Table 8 of Schedule 3 of SFCR set out some exceptions concerning volume capacity.

Most test market authorizations (TMA) that were issued under the now repealed Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Regulations (FFVR), were incorporated into the SFCR. Some rare TMAs have been reissued or others, that were issued less than 24 months before SFCR, are within the validity period and still continue to be valid for the period for which they were issued. For information on the status of previously issued TMAs for fresh fruits or vegetables, please consult the summary page Test markets issued under the now repealed Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations.

G) Defects

General tolerance for the grade are based on external and internal defects. Defects are also identified as Permanent or Condition by a (P) or a (C), respectively. Refer to Appendix 4 for a List of the common conditions and permanent defects affecting fresh fruit and vegetables

I. Internal defects

Many FFV are subject to internal defects. Internal defects cannot be detected without cutting the produce. For example, net necrosis in potatoes, internal brown discoloration in plums, tip burn in lettuce or pithiness in celery. Some of these defects may give an external indication of problems, but others do not.

Preliminary examination

In order to confirm that there are no internal defects present, perform a preliminary examination by randomly selecting and cutting a sub-sample consisting of 20% of the specimens from the first two or three sample units.

Procedure for product without external indications

Where the external appearance gives no indication of the defect or is not reliable, the inspector should take random samples by selecting and cutting 20% (sub-sample) of the specimens from the remaining sample units. Defect specimens are scored against the cut sub-sample.

Never score the same specimen twice. It is acceptable to either cut a 20% sub-sample and score it as each package is inspected or the 20% sub-sample from each sample may be set aside and accumulated for inspection as a composite sample after the other samples are inspected.

For example, when inspecting a 50 lb. bag of potatoes, the inspector finds that net necrosis is present but the outward appearance of the specimens gives no indication of the defect. The inspector then takes 10 lbs. (20% of the package contents) from the bag completely at random and, after cutting every specimen, finds that 2 lbs. are showing net necrosis. The 2 lbs. of net necrosis would be scored against the 10 lb. sample (2/10 x 100 = 20%). The remaining 40 lbs. are used exclusively for scoring size, permanent and condition defects. It is acceptable to both cut the 10 lb. sample and score it as each package is inspected, or the 10 lbs. from each sample may be set aside and accumulated for inspection as a composite sample after the other samples are inspected.

Procedure for product with external indications

If the outward appearance of the specimen does give some indication of the defect, the suspect specimens should be selected from the total sample and then cut for examination. Specimens found to be defective must be scored against the total sample.

For example, if a preliminary examination of a 50 lb. bag of potatoes reveals that only the larger rough potatoes have hollow heart, this type of potato is picked out of the lot and cut for examination. If 10 lbs. are picked out and, after cutting every specimen, 5 lbs. are accountable for hollow hearts then the 5 lbs. are scored against the total 50 lb. sample. (5/50 x 100 = 10%).

II. Permanent defects

Permanent defects are unchangeable or non-progressive in nature. Examples of permanent defects are: off sized, misshapen, insect injury, improper trimming, mechanical injury.

III. Condition defects

Condition defects are changeable or progressive in nature. Examples of condition defects are decay, bruising, soft, sprouting. Condition is most often the prime concern of a licenced holder.

IV. Multiple defects

Specimens may only be scored once even if they are affected with multiple defects. When there are multiples defects affecting a specimen, only the defect that impacts the grade the most, either condition or permanent, will be scored. If decay is included as one of the multiples defects, the specimen must be scored for decay.

6.2.4 Determine compliance

To determine compliance of the lot, refer to the Commodity Specific Grade Verification tool for the grading of FFV found in Annexe 6 - Commodity Specific Grade Verification Tool and the tolerance section in the Canadian Grade Compendium Volume 2 - Fresh Fruit and Vegetables.

A lot in compliance means that none of the tolerances have been exceeded and therefore the product meets the grade and its requirements.

If a lot is non-compliant, refer to SIP, section 4.5, and to SIP, section 4.6. If the product does not meet the grade and its requirements, control or enforcement action may be required. Refer to the Operational guideline – Food regulatory response guidelines.

6.2.5 Capture notes related to commodity inspection in the Multi Commodity Activities Program (MCAP)

The grade verification of FFV is currently being recorded in MCAP. If needed, the inspection Detail Worksheet (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 11284338) is a worksheet available for inspectors to record their grade verification observations when MCAP is not available.

For information on capturing notes related to FFV commodity inspection in MCAP, refer to Agrifood MCAP user manual (accessible only on the Government of Canada network).

6.3 Determine lot compliance

Refer to SIP, section 5, step 3.

Grade verification results are shared on the "Certificate of inspection for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables" currently generated by MCAP and must be given to the requester.

6.4 Conduct the follow-up inspection

Refer to SIP, section 6, step 4.

For general inquiries related to this Operational Guidance Document, please follow established communication channels, including submitting an electronic Request for Action Form (e-RAF) (accessible only on the Government of Canada network).

7.0 Appendices

Appendix 1 – Sampling Tables – Grade verification purposes
Appendix 2 – Fresh fruit and vegetable maturity descriptors
Appendix 3 – General quantitative terms
Appendix 4 – List of the common permanent and condition defect affecting fresh fruit and vegetables
Appendix 5 – Tightness or fill of packages
Appendix 6 – Commodity Specific Grade Verification Tool

Appendix 1 – Sampling Tables – Grade verification purposes

Tables A and B are used to determine the sample size to be examined in a lot of prepackaged FFV and to determine the sub samples in the case of a master container. Tables C1 to C4 list different situations to help with sample unit identification and are used in conjunction with Tables A and B.

The minimum sample size to be collected in Tables A and B has been determined by a statistical method and is valid to a confidence level of 95%. This means that the results of inspections are a reliable indicator, to all parties involved, of the true value of the produce within the lot.

Table A - Minimum samples size

The minimum sample size to be examined in a lot of prepackaged FFV are as follows
Number of packages or
Lot Size (N)
Minimum sample size (n)
1 - 50 2
51 - 100 3
101 - 200 4
201 - 350 6
351 - 500 8
501 - 750 10
751 - 1,200 12
1,201 - 2,000 15
2,001 - 3,500 20
3,501 - 5,000 25
5,001 - 10,000 32
10,001 - 20,000 40
20,001 - 40,000 50
40,001 and up 60

When a lot consists of different sizes or brands of the same commodity, the samples must be proportionate to their percentage in the lot. Each size or brand may be inspected individually upon the applicant's request.

The above minimum sampling rates should be used by inspectors as a guide in deciding how many samples from a lot should be examined. Varying conditions may require that more than the minimum number of samples be taken. It is the inspector's responsibility to decide how many samples may be examined in excess of the minimum sampling rate to obtain an accurate assessment of the quality of the lot being examined.

Table B - Further sampling of a master container (sub-sampling purpose)

The minimum subsample to be examined in a master container are as follows
Number of packages per master container Minimum number of
Packages to be examined (subsample)
1 to 4 1
5 to 12 2
13 to 19 3
20 to 36 5
37 to 50 10

Table C1 - Sample unit for packaged products "based on weight"

Example - products such as potatoes and onions
Package Weight Sample Unit
< 9.07 kg (20 lbs) Each container
9.07 kg (20 lbs) or more 9.07 kg (20 lbs) sample or the entire contents (at the inspector's discretion)

Table C2 - Sample unit for packaged products "based on count"

Example – products such as apples and tomatoes
Package Type "on Count" Sample Unit
Cell or tray pack 1 layer (alternating layers)
Bulk bin 100 specimens (sample as randomly as possible)
Packages up to 6.35 kg (14 lb) capacity The entire content
Packages of 6.81 kg (15 lb) up to, and including 11.34 kg (25 lb) capacity 25 specimens or entire contents (whichever measure comes first)
Packages larger than 11.34 kg (25 lb) capacity up to, and including, 22.7 kg (50 lb) capacity 50 specimens or entire contents (whichever measure comes first)

Table C3 - Sample unit for specific FFV and packaging exceptions

Packaging Exceptions Sample Unit
Volume packaged plums, apricots, peaches, pears and tomatoes (1, 2, 4, 6 litre) 25 specimens or entire contents (whichever measure comes first)
All other container sizes of tomatoes 50 specimens or entire contents (whichever measure comes first)
Cranberries 100 cranberries
Sweet cherries 100 cherries

Table C4 - Sample bulk

Bulk totes, bins and loads

Sampling of bulk totes can be determined by weight or by count.

Assuming that produce is packed in 22.7 kg (50 lb) bags, the total weight of the lot may be divided by 22.7 kg (50 lb) to determine the number of packages in the lot. Based on the total number of packages, determine the minimum number of samples required for inspection.

Sampling based on weight

9.07 kg (20 lb) or more from a 22.7 kg (50 lb) bag

Example (potatoes)
Total weight of load = 45,000 lb
Divide total weight by 50 lb = 900 number of packages in lot
No. of samples = 12 (as per Table A, )
Minimum sample unit = 20 lb (as per Table C-1 - Sample unit for packaged products "based on weight" )
No. of lbs required to verify the grade: 12 x 20 lb = 240 lb

Sampling based on count

50 specimens or more from a 22.7 kg (50 lb) bag

Example (apples)
Total weight of load = 45,000 lbs
Divide total weight by 50 lb = 900 number of packages in lot
No. of 50 specimen samples = 12 (as per Table A, )
Total no. of specimens verified: 12 x 50 = 600 specimens

For a high volume of FFV, Block Sampling could be an appropriate method.

Appendix 2 – Fresh fruit and vegetable maturity descriptors

A) Maturity of fruits

A mature fruit has reached the stage of development that ensures completion of the ripening process. The following categories, including their abbreviations, indicate the stages through which fruit passes in the ripening process:

Immature (I)

means that the flesh of the product is not fully developed. Fruit removed from the tree at this stage will not ripen properly; the term indicates that the product was picked before it was (horticulturally) mature.

Hard (H)

means that the flesh of the product is tenacious (or still tough) and of a starchy flavor, but with indications that the ripening process is proceeding. The fruit is suitable for long term storage or long distance shipment according to product and variety.

Firm (F)

means that the flesh of the product is somewhat tenacious or becoming crisp but with no starchy flavor. The fruit is suitable for medium term storage or shipment according to product and variety.

Firm Ripe (FR)

means that the flesh of the product is crisp and quite firm but has not quite reached its stage of optimum eating quality; means a stage of maturity between firm and ripe. The fruit is suitable for short term storage or short distance shipment according to product and variety.

Ripe (R)

means that the flesh of the product is fairly crisp or slightly mealy but fairly firm and in prime condition for immediate consumption.

Soft (S)

means that the flesh of the product is soft or in the last stage before decay sets in; usually accompanied by decay or breakdown; product is no longer sound and should be scored as a condition defect and reported as a percentage.

The term "overripe" should not be used as it often creates the impression that the produce is unfit for food. The term "soft" should be used to describe the most advanced stage of maturity.

The general terms used to describe the various maturities found in a lot of produce should be noted in descending order, for example mostly ripe, many firm ripe, few firm.

B) Maturity of vegetables

The following terms are suggested for the maturity of vegetables, some of which may be used to describe both condition and quality:

Firm

means compact, solid, substantial, unyielding to touch; indicative of normal development and good condition; very important in root crops and cucumbers. (Ferme)

Fairly Firm

is approved for use with Brussels sprouts, cabbage and lettuce. (Passablement ferme)

Reasonably Firm

is approved for use with potatoes. (Raisonnablement ferme)

Fresh

means normal succulence, brightness, firmness, shown by product when harvested; important in fresh vegetables where any impairment of original qualities means a reduction in value. (Frais)

Crisp

means turgid, brittle, breaking readily; denoting a fresh condition; desirable in celery, beans, rhubarb, spinach. (Croustillant)

Mealy

means well filled, plump, close-grained, desirable in string beans and other pod crops as opposed to those with thin shell-like pods. (Farineux)

Tender

means succulent, of delicate texture; representing a desirable condition of asparagus, spinach, beans. (Tendre)

Tough

means leathery, pliable but not easily broken, the opposite of tender; representing a condition of over maturity and denoting lack of succulence. (Coriace)

Coarse

means overgrown; of hard, stringy texture, particularly applicable to asparagus, beans and spinach. (Rugueux)

Spongy

means easily compressed; of loose open texture, usually the result of very rapid or irregular growth: immature or sprouted onions. (Spongieux)

Pithy

means coarse, open texture with air spaces in pith or central portion, usually the result of very rapid growth or freezing to celery, radishes, turnips, carrots. (Moelleux)

Flabby

means soft, limp, pliable; lacking in firmness, often due to loss of stored water and food on account of sprouting or old age as with sprouted potatoes, aged carrots, parsnips. (Flasque)

Wilted

means drooping, weak, lacking turgidity; usually on account of rapid transpiration; particularly applicable to leafy vegetables and those containing a very high percentage of water such as celery, spinach, rhubarb, lettuce. (Flétri)

Withered

means dried out, withered up; a loss of moisture usually accompanied by a change of form; a more serious condition than wilted; often due to severe drought or the action of hot winds. (Desséché)

Shrivelled

means shrunken, drawn or wrinkled, a marked change in form and often in size; extreme condition resulting from excessive transpiration or old age. (Ratatiné)

Choose the terms that accurately describe the product examined using terms that relate to the grade standards where applicable. Example: asparagus, celery and cucumbers are required to be "fresh".

Appendix 3 – General quantitative terms

The following general terms have been developed for use by inspectors in describing certain variable factors within a lot of produce:

Term Proportion of the lot affected
Occasional 1% to 5%
Few 6% to 10%
Some 11% to 25%
Many 26% to 45%
Approximately Half 46% to 55%
Most, Mostly 56% to 89%
Generally 90% to 94%
Nearly All 95% or more
General quantitative terms used as "complements"

A complement is defined as one of two mutually completing parts. The terms "occasional", "few", "some", "many", "approximately half", and "most" may use complementary terms of some kind to quantify the entire lot or 100% of the sample. Likewise, the use of some other terms such as "generally" and "nearly all" may require complements.

These complements could be:

(a) Another quantity term, for example "In most packages fairly clean, in many slightly dirty."

(b) A percentage, for example "Decay accompanied by surface mould average 15%, range 5 to 25%. Most specimens show surface mould."

(c) Different brands or markings, preferably with number of packages shown, for example "In J. Doe brand, (actual count 35 packages) surface mould present. Most packages no surface mould present."

(d) A definite portion of a load or lot, preferably with the number of packages given if it is a package lot. The type of complement used is determined by conditions, for example "Two pallets show soiled cartons, most cartons in good order."

The terms apply to both packages and individual specimens. Their use with reference to individual specimens, however, should be limited to such factors as colour, cleanliness, firmness, and maturity or to describing the extent of damage. Decay or specific blemishes and defects, and the part of a lot which shows a commercially undesirable state of maturity must always be stated in percentages with only the degree of damage reported in general terms.

Use of "Generally" and "Nearly All"

The words "generally" and "nearly all" may be used without complement. For example, the pack is "generally tight" means that any exceptions are not worthy of mention.

The same rule applies to all descriptive terms such as colour, smoothness, cleanness. This use of "generally" does not include defects that are to be scored as percentages in the Canadian Grade Compendium – Volume 2, Fresh Fruit or Vegetables, such as staining of onions.

"Generally" should not be used to qualify a statement reporting freedom from decay. If decay is present, it should be reported in percentage figures. If no decay is found, the statement "No decay in evidence" should be made.

Use of "Remainder"

"Remainder" may only be used to complement "approximately half", as it would be too indefinite when used to complement other general terms.

Larger Proportion First

The term representing the largest amount should be stated first, the lesser amounts should follow in descending order. This presents the results with the more logical and consistent effect.

Appendix 4 – List of the common condition and permanent defects affecting fresh fruit and vegetables

Commodity Condition defects (C) Permanent defects (P)
Apples – Crab apples Decay
Bruises
Freezing injury (sound)
Breakdown Table Note 1 (sound)
Bitter pit (sound)
Storage scald
Wilt/shrivel (sound)
Jonathan spot
Pin point scab
Skin punctures Table Note 2
Internal browning
Core flush
Mould growth
Size
Immaturity
Water core
Hail injury
Limb rub
Russeting
Spray burn
Sunscald
Shape
Scale/scale spots
Colour
Cleanliness
Blemishes
Insect injury (such as Pansy spot, leaf roller)
Wax marks
Common scab
Apricots Decay
Bruises
Shrivelling
Storage injury
Mould growth
Size
Dirt
Immaturity
Growth cracks
Scab
Ink spot
Blight
Limb rubs
Insect injury (such as grasshopper, mites
Russeting
Hail marks
Skin checks
Torn skin
Asparagus Decay
Freezing injury
Broken tips
Spreading tips
Seedy tips
Size
Shape
Trimming (stringy or frayed ends)
Colour
Dirt
Insect injury
Rust
Beets Decay
Freezing injury
Firmness (soft, flabby, shrivelling)
Secondary top growth
Shape
Trimming
Woody texture
Cleanliness - dirt
Size
Mechanical injury
Insect injury
Berries (Blueberries, Cranberries, Strawberries, etc.) Bruising
Wet leaking
Softness (maturity)
Mould
Decay
Crusted berries
Shrivelling
Size
Colour (including underdeveloped berries)
Dirt
Bird pecks
Foreign material such as leaves, stems.
Insects (including larvae)
Insect injury
Hail injury
Broccoli Maturity
Colour
Bruising
Decay
Opening of florets
Trimming
Compactness
Cleanliness
Discolouration
Insect injury
Brussels sprouts Freshness (withered leaves and yellowing)
Colour
Freezing injury
Decay
Size
Insects (including injury)
Colour (other than yellowing)
Cleanliness
Soft heads
Burst heads
Cabbage Yellowing
Freezing injury
Puffy heads
Black leaf speck
Bruising
Decay
Black rot
Cleanliness
Soft heads (according to type)
Trimming
Mechanical injury
Burst heads
Edema
Seed stalk formation
Insect injury
Sunscald
Size variation
Cantaloups Decay
Bruising
Freezing
Surface moulds Table Note 3
Soft
Colour
Shape
Dirt
Insect injury
Scars
Cracks (except those at stem
scar indicating maturity)
Sunburn Table Note 4
Size variation
Carrots Decay
Freezing injury
Secondary top growth
Split
Firmness
Broken (if pieces present)
Surface discolouration
Size
Insect injury
Crown injury
Trimming
Woody texture
Shape
Clean
Sunburn Table Note 4
Broken (if pieces not present)
Growth cracks
Mechanical injury
Cauliflower Colour of curds
Decay
Freezing injury
Bruising
Mould
Fuzzy heads
Ricey heads
Overmature (loose, open, turning yellow)
Wilting
Yellow jacket (wrapper leaves)
Trimming
Cleanliness
Enlarged bracts
Insect injury
Size variation
Celery Freezing injury
Decay
Wilting
Blackheart
Brown stem
Pithiness
Yellowing leaves
Bruising
Trimming
Growth cracks
Cracked branches
Dirt
Insect injury
Mechanical injury
Seed stem formation Table Note 5
Size variation
Cherries Decay
Bruising
Dimpling
Skin or flesh discolouration
Fresh cracks
Size
Shape
Hail marks
Cleanliness
Foreign material (leaves, twigs)
Scars
Russeting
Limb rub
Splits - cracks
Doubles
Corn (sweet) Decay
Advanced maturity
Husk freshness
Trimming
Insect injury
Immature (undeveloped ends)
Smut
Size
Cucumbers Yellowing
Decay
Bruising
Shrivelled ends
Firmness
Sunken areas
Size
Insect injury
Scars
Colour (except yellowing)
Shape
Sunscald
Ground colour (as opposed to yellow of advancing maturity)
Grapes Raisining
Raisined
Decay
Moisture
Dried berries
Crushed berries
Split berries
Shattered berries
Shrivelling
Mould - mildew
Colour
Compactness of bunches, Filling
Scars
Heat injury
Insect injury
Hail marks
Lettuce (iceberg) Decay
Crushed midribs
Discolouration
Freezing injury (including blistering)
Pink rib
Russet spotting
Wilting
Size variation
Insect injury
(Split) burst heads
Dirt
Mechanical injury
Trimming
Seed stem formation
Soft heads (according to type)
Broken midribs
Doubles
Onions Decay
Firmness, lack of (Soft)
Not properly cured (Wet neck)
Root growth
Sprouts
Peeling
Bruising
Cuts
Internal papery scales
Insect (presence of)
Smudge, smut (Black powdery discolouration)
Translucent scales
Watery scales / Water-soaked scales
Off Size
Thick necks, bottlenecks (US)
Seed stems
Ovoid specimens
Doubles (More than 1 centre of growth)
Staining
SunburnTable Note 4
Dry Sunken Areas (Sunscald, dry)
Roots (old)
Insect injury
Insect (presence of)
Mechanical injury
Not properly cured (Wet neck)
Parsnips Decay
Firmness
Colour
Split
Secondary top growth
Surface discolouration
Size
Over-trimming
Shape
Woody texture
Secondary rootlets
Growth cracks
Peaches Skin breaks - cuts
Bruises
Decay
Soft
Mildew/mould
Size
Scab
Insect injury
Sunscald
Split pits
Limb rubs
Hail marks
Growth cracks
Suture cracks
Russeting
Ink spot
Russet
Pears Bruising
Decay
Breakdown Table Note 1
Storage scald
Shrivelling
Mould
Anjou scald
Skin punctures Table Note 6
Anjou pit
Scuffing
Insect injury
Drought spots
Sunscald/spray burn
Russeting
Hail marks
Size
Limb rub
Scab
Scale/scale spots
Misshapen
Pear Psylla
Speckled pit residue
Stony pit
Size
Plums - Prunes Decay (Phoma Rot)
Bruising
Shrivelling
Firmness
Fresh cracks
Shape
Dirt
Limb rub
Scars
Russeting
Broken skin
Scale
Sunscald
Hail marks
Growth cracks
Worm injury
Drought spot
Size

Potatoes

(EXT=External defect;
INT=Internal defect)

Air Cracks (EXT)
Blight (EXT)

  • Early Blight
  • Late Blight

Bruises (EXT)

  • Pressure bruises (EXT)
  • Shatter bruises

Decay (Soft rot) (EXT, INT)

  • Bacterial Ring Rot (INT)
  • Black Heart (INT)
  • Black leg (INT)

Discolouration (EXT, INT)

  • Internal discolouration
    • Mahogany browning (INT)
    • Net necrosis (INT)
    • Vascular discolouration (INT)
  • External discolouration (Surface discolouration)

Dry rot (EXT, INT)
Enlarged lenticels (EXT)
Freezing damage (EXT, INT)
Greening (EXT)
Insects (live or "mix of dead and alive") (INT)
Silver scurf (EXT)
Sprouts (EXT)
Sprouts, Ingrown (INT)
Shrivelled / Flabby (EXT)
Sunken Discoloured Areas with Underlying Flesh Discoloured (EXT)

Bird damage (EXT)
Bruises (EXT)

  • Shatter bruises

Cuts (EXT)
Deformed / Misshapen (EXT)
Dirt (EXT)
Discolouration (EXT, INT)

  • Internal discolouration
    • Heat necrosis (INT)
    • Light brown discolouration (Brown centre) (INT)

Elephant hide (EXT)
Enlarged lenticels (EXT)
Freezing damage (EXT, INT)
Knobs removed (EXT)
Hollow heart (INT)
Grass Root Holes (EXT)
Growth cracks (EXT)
Insects (dead) (INT)
Insect Injury (EXT, INT)

  • Flea-beetle damage (EXT, INT)
  • Grub damage (EXT)
  • Nematode damage (EXT)
  • Wireworm holes (EXT)

Rhizoctonia (EXT)
Rodent damage (EXT)
Russeting (EXT)
Surface Flesh Exposed (Skinning) (EXT)
Surface Cracks (EXT)
Scab (EXT)

  • Pit Scab (EXT)
  • Russet Scab (EXT)
  • Surface Scab (EXT)

Size
Sunburn (EXT)
Watery Translucent Flesh (INT)

Rhubarb Decay
Wilt
Size
Colour
Seed stems
Trimming
Dirt - foreign matter
Rutabagas (Turnips) Decay (soft and dry)
Pithiness
Black rot
Wax damage
Over-trimmed
Shape
Insect injury
Water core
Brown heart
Growth cracks
Size
Tomatoes Decay
Bruises
Soft scars
Crushed
Maturity
Sunken discoloured areas
Freezing injury
Soft watery breakdown
Blisters
Blotchy ripening
Scars
Ground spot
Growth cracks (radial or concentric)
Skin checks Table Note 7
Insect injury
Bacterial speck
Immature
Sunscald
Puffiness Table Note 8
Blossom end rot
Shape
Size

Legend - Bolded terms indicate that they are located in the Volume 2 of the Compendium

Appendix 5 – Tightness or fill of packages

Tightness or fill of packages may be described by using the following terms:

Very Tight

means the extreme of the condition described under tight, that is, too tight for best results which may or may not result in damage; too much bulge for the good of the product; signifies non-compliance with properly packed. (Très serré)

Tight or Well Filled

means sufficiently filled to prevent movement of the product within; furnishes the proper amount of bulge for the pack and product; signifies compliance with properly packed. (Serré ou Bien Rempli)

Fairly Tight or Fairly Well Filled

means the pack is not ideal, but is between tight - well filled and slightly slack; tight enough to prevent specimens from moving within the package sufficiently to cause injury under normal handling conditions; there may be the proper amount of bulge but slight looseness in layers; also signifies compliance with properly packed. (Passablement serré ou Passablement bien rempli)

Slightly Slack

means the package is not sufficiently full or tight to prevent movement of the product within the package and thus may or may not result in injury; signifies non-compliance with properly packed. (Un peu lâche)

Slack

means the package is clearly not full and a free movement of the product is possible or evident; damage to the product is possible depending on mode of transport and handling; signifies non-compliance with properly packed. When slackness is due to decay, this should be stated. (Lâche)

In cases where produce is in bulk, jumble packed or loose in packages (bulk bins, orchard boxes, cartons of tomatoes), it would be appropriate to describe the fill, for example "well filled" – meaning just level with the top so as to avoid damage, "3/4 full", as the case may be.

When packages have been wired or strapped in some fashion, this should be described to indicate a single unit or a group of packages. The description should also indicate the method and type of strapping, for example: "Each carton double plastic strapped".

If packages are strapped onto pallets with or without bracing this should be reported, for example: "Cartons palletized in units of 36, corner braced and double strapped vertically and horizontally".

Appendix 6 – Commodity specific grade verification tools

The grade verification tools below contain detailed description of the grades and requirements found in the Canadian Grade Compendium: Volume 2 – Fresh Fruit or Vegetables and are under development. They will be posted as they are completed.

Fresh Fruits - Grade verification tools

Fresh Vegetables - Grade verification tools

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