Effective April 1, 2020, aquaponic operations will no longer be able to obtain certification through the CanadaGAP Program. The certifying body said that new information had come to light related to potential chemical hazards such as antibiotics, for example, associated with aquaponic production. Further, there may be potential for leafy greens to uptake possible contaminants found in the water from the aquaculture production.
CanadaGAP uses a generic HACCP model as the basis for the food safety requirements and procedures published in the CanadaGAP Food Safety Manual and Audit Checklist. Going forward, additional science will be required to validate that all potential hazards have been appropriately addressed in the CanadaGAP generic HACCP model. Therefore, since peer-reviewed scientific studies for aquaponics are limited, the decision was taken to phase out this scope of CanadaGAP certification for the time being.
Brian Filipowich, Chairman Aquaponics Association said that the decision appears to be based on faulty and/or incomplete information. "This decision strikes at the heart of all aquaponic growers. We must publish and maintain trustworthy information about our practice to ensure institutional support, rather than opposition", he said in a statement to stakeholders.
Companies that are currently CanadaGAP-certified for aquaponic production will have their CanadaGAP certification withdrawn by the certification body effective March 31, 2020.