Shipping - 7.1 Traceability & Recall

Without a full-chain traceability system, product recalls can be slowed down and products posing a food safety hazard may remain in the food chain.

7.1 Traceability and Recall


This good agricultural practice applies to all farms.

What Needs to Be Done

Identify and record all products and inputs throughout the production process so that they can be traced backward to the original supplier and forward to the next step in the supply chain as part of a full-chain traceability system.

How to Do It

Identify the Premises

Consider including the following information for premises identification:

  • Geo-coordinates or legal land description (parcel identification number),
  • Civic address of premises,
  • Commodities produced,
  • Owner information (name, phone number),
  • Contact information (name, phone number), and
  • Facility type (farm, auction, feedlot, etc).

Identify the Products

  • Track inputs and incoming materials as they are received onto the farm and used during production.
  • Maintain records of input/product inventories, processes such as animal health product use, pesticide use, nutrient application; and harvest information.
  • Record-keeping requirements are listed in each appropriate good agricultural practice in this guide.
  • Identify all food, livestock and poultry or label them with information that accurately represents the product.

Record Movement

  • Make sure you can share information on food, livestock and poultry with the next level in the food supply chain where requested.
  • Link identification of outputs to the premises identification where they were produced.

Preparing for a Recall

  • Identify and record contact information for local regulatory authorities, veterinarians, suppliers/buyers, commodity organizations and emergency personnel in case of recall.
  • Be prepared to give the necessary information on hand to give to authorities in the event of a recall.

Responding to a Recall

When a problem has been identified within your operation and a recall needs to be initiated, one of your first steps will be to notify the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) immediately. When you call, you will need to provide them with the following information:

  • A detailed description of the nature of the problem,
  • The name, product description, brand, size and lot code(s) affected,
  • Details of complaints received and any illnesses reported,
  • The distribution of the product (local or national),
  • When the product was distributed (specific dates),
  • Label information on the product(s) that may be recalled,
  • The name of your operation and contact information of the person who will be dealing with the CFIA, and
  • The name and telephone number(s) for your operation’s after-hours contact

Provide as much detail as possible so that the recall is controlled and contained such as:

  • How much product has been produced and how much has been shipped from your operation, and
  • Have the names, contact information and the quantity shipped to each buyer, so that you can notify your buyers of the situation.


Terms Used in this Good Agricultural Practice

Lot Number: A number or code assigned to uniquely represent a batch or group of inputs, products, animals, crops and/or outputs that have been produced and/or processed or packaged under similar circumstances.

Premises: A parcel of land associated with a legal description or geo-referenced co-ordinates, on which, or on any part of which, animals and/or crops are kept, grown, assembled and/or disposed of.

Traceability: The ability to trace the use, history, application or location of an item or activity by means of recorded information.?

Records to Keep


  • Keep complete identification records for livestock and poultry (for example, individual or group identification).
  • Use commodity-approved identification systems for livestock and poultry.
  • Record and keep on file the following documentation for all livestock and poultry arriving at and leaving the farm:
    • Producer name, farm name and/or premises identification;
    • Product description and quantity;
    • Livestock and poultry identification;
    • Transporter/buyer; and
    • Date of shipment.

Note: The record requirements above can be verified from a trucking manifest (for example, trucking manifest for cattle, bison and horses).

Fruit, Vegetables & Field Crops

  • Keep information surrounding the production of each crop, including:
    • Application of pesticides (rate, what was applied, concentration),
    • Application of nutrient supplements,
    • Irrigation dates and
    • Water testing results.
  • Keep information surrounding the harvesting of each crop, including:
    • Lot number of product harvested,
    • Harvest/packing dates,
    • Specific field harvested,
    • Person(s) who harvested/packaged the product, if applicable and
    • Temporary storage unit, if applicable.
  • Record and keep on file the following documentation for food arriving at and leaving the farm:
    • Producer name, farm name and/or premises identification,
    • Civic address of premises,
    • Product description, quantity and unit of measure,
    • Lot number,
    • Transporter/buyer, and
    • Date of shipment.

Note: The record requirements above can also be listed on receiving and shipping documents such as an invoice or bill of lading.

If You Need an Audit

Be prepared for the auditor to review:

  • production and shipping records, and
  • your readiness for a recall, [such as]
    • written procedures to follow during a recall including checklists to help staff communicate (for example, to record what, when, who, where, etc), a list of key people to contact (for example, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, BC Centre for Disease Control, your distribution list), and
    • a journal or diary of any recall in the past, or trial run of your written procedures.

Laws & Regulations that Apply

Forms & Samples

Sample J: Recall Procedure Plan
Form #7A: Harvesting Log Record of Crops Grown
Form #7B: Product List Record for Recall Purposes
Form #7C: Recall Notice
Sample I: Important Phone Numbers
Proceed to 7.2 Sorting and Packaging