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Bulletin 2013 Update: CSTA Inspection Program

Following the announcement of Budget 2012, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has chosen to focus its attention on its core mandate of food safety, consumer protection, and animal and plant health.  This means that in the future, the CFIA will be less active in the delivery of seed crop inspection.  In fact, by April 1st 2014, CFIA’s goal is to have seed crop inspections delivered by the private sector.

The CSGA is working with an industry-government group comprised of the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA), the Canadian Seed Institute (CSI) and the CFIA to develop a framework for the alternative service delivery (ASD) of seed crop inspection by 2014.

The following outlines current models for alternative service delivery as well as some of the criteria that must be met by the service provider in each model.  With CFIA moving toward expanded alternative service delivery, the prescribed criteria for each model may change.  One of the tasks associated with expanding alternative service delivery is to clearly define the necessary criteria for each model in a manner that preserves the integrity of Canada’s seed certification system and the reputation of Certified seed.

Three different delivery models are available for ASD of pedigreed seed crop inspection: 1st party, 2nd party and 3rd party.  In all three models, CFIA maintains responsibility for licensing or authorizing the
seed crop inspection service provider.  It is also expected CFIA retains the responsibility for assuring
training, licensing or certification and on-going monitoring of the service providers’ inspectors.

Current
CSGA requirements for seed crop certification would also remain in place for all three models.
ASD providers must meet several CFIA requirements before being licensed as authorized seed crop
inspection services (ASCIS).  These are available at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/plaveg/
seesem/man/swi-autappe.shtml
.   There is also essential performance criteria associated with each model that are considered necessary to maintain quality, purity and business risk reduction.  Common to all models are the following:

1. The ASD provider must meet the CFIA criteria for the specific model of ASCIS.
2. The ASD provider must have, or develop, a documented quality management system independently
audited, or verified, on a regular basis according to the level of risk.
3. The ASD provider must utilize and adhere to CSGA requirements for seed crop inspection reporting.
CSGA’s Alternative Service Delivery (ASD) Outline of Three Available Models

1st Party ASD Model Primary Definition:
The primary definition, or premise, behind a 1st Party ASD model is that the “seed grower” (as defined in Circular 6) performs the inspection service on the crops they are producing.

Additional Essential Performance Criteria:
1. The 1st Party ASD provider must meet the CSGA definition of a seed grower.
2. The 1stParty ASD provider must have, or must develop, an in season variety verification capability
that meets CSGA requirements for post-harvest variety verification in the year of production.

Existing Examples:
CFIA has had ASCIS on hybrid corn seed production in place for several years.  The experienced field
staff; a strict quality control system; and in season variety verification has made this 1st Party model
effective.
In Conclusion:
1st Party inspection models appear to be best suited when they are characterized by:
1. Complex and/or intense production systems that require visits to the field or plot during the production season.
2. Existing field production staff that are well acquainted with the crop.
3. An independently audited quality management system and conflict of interest policy.
4. An in season variety verification capability. Canadian Seed Growers’ Association

2nd Party Model Primary Definition:
The primary definition, or premise, behind a 2nd Party ASD model is that the “seed grower” has assigned their seed crop production to an ASCIS.

Additional Essential Performance Criteria:
The 2nd Party ASD provider must meet the CSGA definition of an assignee.

Existing Examples:
In 2011 and 2012, CFIA authorized a company to perform seed crop inspections on Certified soybeans
assigned to that company in southwestern Ontario.

In Conclusion:
2nd Party inspection models appear to be best suited when they are characterized by:
1. Crop kinds that are mostly assigned to a few companies, seed distributors or sellers.
2. A documented quality management system and conflict of interest policy.
3. Assignees that may already have seed field production staff that can be licensed for ASCIS.
3rd Party Model Primary Definition:
The primary definition, or premise, behind a 3rd Party ASD model is that the seed crop inspection is
conducted by an inspector that is fully independent of the seed grower and the assignee. 

Additional Essential Performance Criteria:
There are no additional essential performance criteria for 3rd.

Existing Examples:
For several years, on hybrid canola, one ASCIS provides inspection services to about a half dozen hybrid
canola variety developers.  The model is viable because the companies pay the additional cost and receive other crop scouting and disease monitoring services from the ASCIS. A 3rd Party model on Certified soybean fields in southwestern Ontario in 2011 did not work well.  The ASCIS used for the soybean inspections had little experience with soybeans, experience in Ontario and
was not able to recover their costs.
In Conclusion:
3rd Party inspection models appear to be best suited when they are characterized by:
1. An ability to attain and retain trained, seasonal inspection staff.
2. The seed crop production is not traditionally assigned to an assignee company and little or no
involvement exists by anyone other than the seed grower.
3. The seed crop production is fairly concentrated in specific regions so travel costs are reduced for
the ASCIS.
4. Market driven seed crop inspection fees are the norm rather than the exception.

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