A collaboration between Vineland Growers Co-operative Ltd. and the Agricultural Adaptation Council is helping Ontario fruit growers improve their food safety management. With funding provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Vineland Growers developed new processes for cleaning and sanitation. This program will ensure locally grown tender fruit exceeds industry food safety standards set by retailers and customers.

The collaboration included 17 Niagara fruit grower members who participated in training and implemented new cleaning processes and record keeping. Vineland Growers provided professional training and education, and worked with growers to develop specific cleaning and sanitation procedures for their pack houses. Funding allowed Vineland Growers to purchase state-of-the-art adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence technology to monitor and ensure sanitation is thorough to avoid contamination. Through the program, select staff members from Vineland Growers participated in the Food Safety Training Program at the University of Guelph to help growers with on-going training and education. The co-operative is currently working towards certifying an Internal Auditor, to achieve Group Certification through CanadaGap, which will make certification attainable for small and large growers.

Successful food safety management will maximize freshness and safety of crops, and will result in increased sales and extended shelflife of tender fruit.

This project was funded in part through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of the Partnership in Ontario.