NSF routinely assist clients with technical advice on a full spectrum of quality and food safety issues in all food sectors. When a facility is left vulnerable due to a sudden staff shortage, our trained experts can fill in on short- or long-term assignments to meet a client’s specific needs.
NSF has developed a rigorous assessment process to determine which supplier ingredients might pose the greatest risk to their business. Combined with our software tool, we can generate a report that highlights the areas of concern.
Our team of food safety and engineering experts can provide the advice to ensure that any design change would meet regulatory and food safety expectations and avoid any costly changes after construction.
NSF routinely conducts gap assessments for clients in advance of audits and inspections to identify any deficiencies that could lead to a non-conformance. We can also perform the service of an internal auditor for clients who lack the internal resources or expertise.
Yes. NSF has a firewall between the auditing and consulting departments to avoid any conflict of interest. While many of our consultants are also trained auditors, a consultant cannot audit the work they have done for a client.
GFSI schemes require a facility to have GMPs and a HACCP program in place in addition to three months of operating records which would demonstrate to an auditor that their food safety program is established and meeting expectations. We help clients ensure all requirements are satisfied in advance of an audit. Depending on what level of food safety program the facility has in place, we suggest it is prudent to allow six to nine months to get the systems operational before the audit occurs.
Certification and Auditing
In Option A1 there will always be an on-site audit in year 1 and year 5 that the program participant pays for. In A2, if selected for a random audit, the scheduled audit date will be extended to four years from the random audit date. Random audits are paid for through your CanadaGAP annual enrolment fees. If you are selected for a random audit, A2 becomes the least expensive option over time. See www.canadagap.ca for more information.
The self-assessment review is paid directly by CanadaGAP. The annual fee you pay to CanadaGAP is used for this purpose.
You need to complete the self-assessment during your season and submit it at least one month before your current certificate expires. Completed self-assessments can be sent to InfoAg@nsf.org or faxed to 519-836-1281.
The cost of the audit is paid directly by CanadaGAP. The annual fee you pay to CanadaGAP is used for this purpose.
You will receive a letter from CanadaGAP indicating you have been selected for a random audit. CanadaGAP usually sends the letters in April or May. You will also hear from the auditor assigned to your random audit when they contact you to book the date for your audit.
In most cases we need to look at three months of records before we can do your first audit. We may accept less than three months under special circumstances; for example, for commodities with short growing seasons.
Please contact us at any time. Although our auditors book out three to six months in advance most of the time, we often have availability sooner than that to meet your needs.
Yes, we offer a wide variety of GFSI, client-specific and proprietary audits – most with bundling possibilities to save on time and travel costs.
Visit clients.nsf.org and enter your user name and password. Don’t have a username? Contact your program rep or request one using the link provided.
Yes; just request a credit card payment form from your program representative.
The corrective action review fee is charged for each non-conformance raised during the certification or surveillance audit.
You will receive your invoice after the audit has taken place, usually within four to six weeks.
Contact your program rep to request your Quality Shield. This can take a few days to complete.
Repositrak Support Phone Number: 1-888-842-5465. Repositrak Support Email Address: email@example.com
Certification decisions (completed by our auditor/technical team) are made within 45 days of the last day of the audit, with an additional 10 days to prepare and send out the certificate.
NSF has technical expertise in developing a wide range of food and beverage products from beverages, sauces, dressings and condiments to snack foods, dairy and bakery products. Whether you have a product concept that needs development or a current product requiring reformulation to improve the nutritional profile, or you want to extend shelf life, optimize cost or achieve a clean ingredient label, NSF can help! We ensure that your product is formulated to meet the appropriate food safety and shelf-life requirements and is compatible with today’s commercial manufacturing processes.
We customize the scope of each project to match the objectives of our clients with our technical services. For that reason, costs vary depending on the complexity and the nature of our clients’ goals. Our clients include entrepreneurs, start-up ventures, small to mid-sized companies and multinational corporations. We recognize the need for flexible payment options and are happy to discuss various scenarios ranging from hourly rates to split-payment arrangements.
NSF can generate prototype samples for shelf-life evaluations, consumer evaluation, marketing and/or tradeshows purposes, clinical trials, sensory testing and other business development activities.
There are numerous steps required to commercialize a food or beverage product. NSF offers a collaborative consultative meeting for entrepreneurs interested in learning more about this process. Meet with food industry professionals in the areas of product development, process development, packaging, labelling and regulatory compliance, and food safety to gain valuable insight into what it takes to launch a product into the market.
NSF offers consumer testing to provide objectivity and directional guidance. We work with our clients to understand their objectives and ensure the design of the sensory test will provide the information they are seeking.
NSF can determine the shelf life of food and beverage products under various controlled conditions including elevated temperature, refrigeration, elevated humidity, freezer conditions, elevated oxygen and ambient conditions. Our studies combine sensory testing, microbial testing, nutritional testing and additional intrinsic testing (including viscosity, pH, water activity, carbonation and colourimetry) – where applicable. Each shelf-life study is tailored for your specific product and project requirements.
We believe product and process development go hand in hand and support that belief through our technical processing service offerings: thermal processing (kettles, pasteurization (including HTST and UHT (microthermics unit)), homogenization, filtration, drying, concentration and grinding. If you are looking for a specific piece of equipment, just ask! If we do not have the capabilities in house, we have the flexibility to bring in rental equipment or work with industry partners to ensure we have the processing capabilities to achieve your goals.
Packaging is an integral part of the product. The package contains the product, protects and preserves the product and informs the consumer about the product. It is important to select the appropriate package to maintain the quality of the product and entice the consumer to purchase the product.
The optimal gas mixture for modified atmosphere packaging depends on the product. Red meats require high oxygen levels with some carbon dioxide. Deep fried snacks require nitrogen flushing with little residual oxygen. Chilled ready-to-eat meats and meals as well as fresh pasta require a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. NSF can assist with modified atmosphere packaging challenges by optimizing the gas mixture, helping select the appropriate packaging materials, perform headspace gas analysis, provide on-site consultation for equipment set-up and conduct shelf-life determination.
Modified atmosphere packaging is an established method of extending shelf life. This technique substitutes air in the package with another gas mixture. The major gases used in commercial MAP applications are oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
Moisture barrier properties in a package may be required depending on the nature of the food. Dry products such as crackers and powders need a moisture barrier to prevent moisture from entering the package and ensuring the product stays crisp or to prevent clumping of the product. Moist products such as baked goods require retention of moisture within the package to prevent the product from drying out. NSF has testing equipment that can measure the water vapor transmission rate of your package to ensure the suitability for your product’s needs.
There are many products that are sensitive to oxygen. Fats, oils and some vitamins and colors can degrade in the presence of oxygen and can cause changes that affect the taste, nutrient value and appearance of your product. Quite often, light can accelerate the oxidation process. NSF has testing equipment that can measure the oxygen transmission rate of your package to ensure suitability for your product’s needs.
For shelf-stable products, the barrier of the package can affect the shelf life. Understanding the needs of the food is critical in selecting the appropriate package to maximize shelf life. An appropriate barrier package is especially important if the product is sensitive to oxidation or to moisture loss or gain.
Packaging is an integral part of the product. The package contains the product, protects and preserves the product, and informs the consumer about the product. It is important to select the appropriate package to maintain the quality of the product and entice the consumer to purchase the product.
Food and Label Compliance
The experienced staff at NSF can assist you in creating a fully compliant label. The staff is very knowledgeable in all aspects of the U.S. and Canadian food labeling laws and regulations. They can create a label ready Nutrition Facts table and provide information on mandatory information (i.e. name of the food, net quantity, ingredient statement, allergen declaration, nutrition information, company name/address) and provide advice on non-mandatory information (i.e. nutrient content and health claims). This information is provided to you in a format that is easy for your label designer to embed into the artwork and ensure your labels are compliant with all of the applicable food labeling regulations.
Nutrition of your products can be determined from database calculation or by laboratory analysis. For most products a theoretical database calculation method is sufficient for obtaining the nutritional profile. We have a database and software program to conduct this method of calculation based on your detailed recipe, preparation method and specific ingredients.
Laboratory analysis is the best option in certain cases, for example when your food goes through transformative processing like deep-frying or fermentation. Laboratory analysis is also recommended if nutrient or health claims are going to be made on your product labels. The experts at NSF can help you determine which method is the right one for your product.
In the United States, a “major food allergen” is an ingredient that is derived from one of the following foods. These foods contain proteins that can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. They are: Soybeans, Wheat, Egg, Milk, Fish, Shellfish/Crustaceans, Peanuts and Tree Nuts. Although Sulfites are not considered by the FDA to be a major food allergen, any product with sulfite levels at 10 ppm or higher must have sulfites declared on the label.
In Canada, a “major food allergen” is an ingredient that is derived from one of the following foods. They are: Soybeans, Wheat, Egg, Milk, Fish, Shellfish/Crustaceans, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Mustard, Sesame and Sulphites (at 10 ppm or higher). Furthermore, gluten sources, which are barley, oats, rye, triticale and wheat, are also included in allergen labelling requirements.
In the case of fish, shellfish/crustaceans and tree nuts, the specific identity of the ingredient must be listed (e.g. Cod, Shrimp, Almonds, etc.)
The updated labelling regulations include changes to the Nutrition Fact Table, ingredient lists and guidance on how to determine the correct serving size for your product. These updates take into account both changes in consumption patterns of Canadian consumers and scientific knowledge we have gained in the last decade.
- Changes to the Nutrition Fact table include new formatting, to emphasize the most important information, like the Calories and Serving Size. Some nutrients have been added and removed, and many Daily Values have changed. There is also a new footnote, providing context to consumers for the % Daily Values.
- New requirements for the format of the ingredient list and allergen statements are intended to increase legibility for consumers. Health Canada has also added the requirement to group sugar-based ingredients in the ingredient list, and to and list food colours by individual names.
- The way that serving sizes will be determined has been improved, in order to enhance consistency and to better reflect the amounts typically eaten.
On June 13, 2017, the FDA announced its intention to extend the compliance date for the Nutrition Facts Label final rules. The FDA will provide details of the extension through a Federal Register Notice at a later time.
The updated regulations include changes to the format of the Nutrition Fact panel, the nutrients declared, and guidance on how to determine the correct serving size for your product. These updates take into account both changes in consumption patterns of consumers and scientific knowledge we have gained in the last decade.
Changes to the regulations include:
- Updated formatting to emphasize the calories and serving size information, a new footnote and actual amounts of the vitamins and minerals.
- Changes to the way Sugars are shown in order to provide clear information about this nutrient of concern. Added Sugars will now be required to be declared on the panel with a new % Daily Value.
- A new definition for Dietary Fiber that requires evidence of a beneficial effect to our health.
- Vitamin A and Vitamin C will no longer be required on the panel and be replaced by Vitamin D and Potassium to reflect new scientific knowledge.
- Updates to serving sizes and new format requirements for special package sizes based on the Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed per Eating Occasion (RACC).
- Updated Daily Values (DV) for many nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Labels must be updated on or before July 26, 2018. Companies with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an extra year to comply with the new regulations.
Calorie and nutrition labeling will be required for standard menu items. Calories must be clear and prominent on menus and menu boards. Written nutrition information is required to be available to consumers upon their request. This regulation applies to any company which operates restaurants, convenience stores and other retail food establishments with 20 or more locations operating under the same name and offering substantially the same restaurant type food menu items. Compliance is required by May 7, 2018.
The regulation requires calorie information to be shown for all food products sold from vending machines. The calories may be posted on a machine’s electronic display, by stickers or by signs. All calorie information must be prominently displayed so the consumer can see the information before making a selection. Anyone who owns or operates 20 or more vending machines which dispenses food products will be required to comply with the new Vending Machine Regulation.
For most machines, the compliance date is December 1, 2016. For glass-front vending machines that sell food products with front of package labeling and for machines that sell certain gums, mints and roll candy, the compliance date is July 26, 2018.
Ontario’s new Healthy Menu Choices Act and Regulations came into force on January 1, 2017. The law requires owners and operators of food service premises that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations in Ontario to display calorie information for every standard food and beverage item on their menus, and on display tags/labels or signs where the food items are put on display or are self-serve.
NSF identified that there was no comprehensive food safety award program in Canada for Canadian food and beverage companies. At the same time, NSF recognized that there are many food and beverage companies and individuals in Canada who work tirelessly every day to provide their customers with safe food. There are many food safety success stories in Canada and we wanted to develop a mechanism to share and celebrate those successes.
Yes. There’s a ‘save’ feature on the on-line application process that allows you or others to continue on at a later time.
Application templates can be found on the NSF website and can be submitted beginning September 1 until October 30 each year.
We accept submissions from across Canada in English only.