The Clean Plants program utilizes an ISO-like systems approach to achieve nursery certification. As the name suggests, it is the objective of Clean Plants to produce plants that meet high phytosanitary standards that is plants that are completely free of all regulated pests and substantially free from all other insects and diseases. The program does not measure or make a statement about other aspects of plant quality.
Clean Plants was formally called the Domestic Phytosanitary Certification Program (DPCP). The program was developed by industry, in cooperation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as a domestic movement program only.
Clean Plants is considered to be a clean stock program; that is it sets standards for overall nursery stock certification. When additional phytosanitary or bio-security measures are required due to a pest-specific problem, such as P. ramorum in BC, the additional bio-security measures are added to the company's existing nursery certification program.
A key component of any systems-based approach to certification is the Quality, or in this case, the Certification Manual. The Clean Plants Standard provides the guidance for a nursery to design a customized system and manual suitable to their style of business. Essentially, the manual outlines all of the processes that the nursery has in place to monitor and control all disease and insect infestations. Nursery audits are conducted against the contents of the manual.
Typically, any systems approach to certification requires a great deal of documentation, as the process requires that a company be able to prove that they have accomplished those tasks set out in the manual. This can only be achieved with detailed record keeping. The Clean Plants program contains numerous templates designed to facilitate the writing of the Certification Manual and to assist the nursery owner with some of the record keeping processes. More templates will be developed in consultation with industry, as the program is implemented in nurseries across Canada and further needs are identified.
The work of developing Clean Plants was made possible by a grant received from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program (ACAAF).
Extensive industry consultation was required in the development of Clean Plants. Technical review was provided by the members of the CNCI Executive Committee and the CNLA National Growers' Advisory Committee.
The work of the CNCI and the development of Clean Plants has been supported throughout by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).