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General Requirements

The grades for cauliflower are Canada No. 1 and Canada No. 2.

Mostly all cauliflower is now sold in cartons of 12, 16 or 24 heads. The heads in these cartons are usually trimmed and wrapped in transparent film.

Inspection Procedure

The sample must include all heads in the container. When the head is wrapped and the jacket leaves are well trimmed or removed, the curd can be easily examined, otherwise the jacket leaves should be pulled back to expose completely the top of the curds. Always remove the head from the container for a thorough examination. Select your samples from all parts of the load or lot. Indicate the original location of your selected samples if the condition of the product varies. All percentages are based on count.

Uniformity of Size

There is a size requirement only for Canada No. 1 grade.

Canada No. 1 cauliflower must have a minimum head diameter of 4 inches and must not, when in the same container, vary more than 2 inches in diameter.

When referring to cauliflower, diameter of the head means the greatest width of curd measured at right angles to the longitudinal axis.

The tolerance for cauliflower below the minimum size is 5%. There is also a general tolerance of 10% for packages that do not contain the number of heads declared on the container or that contains heads that exceed the permitted 2 size variation. If an inspector has a doubt about the size, the number of heads or the size variation within a container, he must check it even at destination. If packages are found defective for the number of heads or for the size variation within one container, it should be reported in general terms at shipping point and in percentages at destination. At destination, the supervisor should be informed if more than 10% irregular sized heads are found and reported.


There are no requirements for varietal characteristics in our regulations. Today, purplish varieties among others have been developed. In connection with variety, the colour of the curds must be uniform within the carton.

If a purplish tint is noted on the curds of some heads, it should be present on all heads. If abnormal colour of the curds is noted, it should be reported under the heading Colour on the face of the certificate.


Compactness of cauliflower is related to the curd portion only. Canada No. 1 requires that cauliflower have compact heads. This means that the flower clusters are closely united and the curds solid. There should be very little loose space. On the other hand, Canada No. 2 requires that cauliflower have fairly compact heads. This means that the flower clusters may be slightly separated but that there is no wide separation between them and they are not loose. The maximum separation allowed between two flower clusters is 1/16 for Canada No. 2 grade. Heads failing compactness requirements should be scored as spread or badly spread.


Both grades require that cauliflower be free from abnormal colour. The suitable definition for abnormal colour in each grade takes into consideration the colour of jacket leaves and also the colour of curds and is as follows:

Canada No. 1 Grade

  • Wrapper or jacket leaves for Canada No. 1 cauliflower have to be fresh and green. Yellow, turning yellow or wilted leaves are scoreable if more than two are affected. Do not report as turning yellow to yellow if less than three leaves are affected.
  • Abnormal colour of curds for Canada No. 1 includes any noticeable unevenness of colour or any colour darker than creamy white. This means that a white, creamy white or a rich even cream colour not detracting from a fresh appearance is acceptable as well as those with an even slight purplish tint particular to some strains of cauliflower.
  • Discoloured brown colour, discoloured watery colour, or dark cream colour detracting from a fresh appearance are not acceptable as well as any black, purple or pink colour detracting from the appearance. If a slight purplish tint is noted, it should be noted on all heads in the container.
  • When medium to dark brown, black, watery discolouration or mould exceeds 3/4 inch (19.2 mm) in the aggregate area, or light brown, pink, dark yellow or purple discolouration exceeds 1 1/2 inches (38.4 mm) in the aggregate area on the curds is scoreable.

Note: Some varieties of cauliflower show a pink or purplish tint. This is not discolouration because it is a characteristic of those varieties. The curds will be scoreable only where there is a pink or purple discolouration that is not a characteristic of the variety.

Canada No. 2 Grade

  • The colour of wrapper or jacket leaves for Canada No. 2 cauliflower should not seriously affect the appearance. Score against Canada No. 2 if more than four leaves are yellow and brown and/or wilted.
  • Abnormal colour of curds for Canada No. 2 includes any colour or combination of colours which seriously affects the appearance. This means that cream or purple appearance is acceptable but that dark yellow, medium brown or watery discolouration should not affect more than 1 1/2 inches (38.4 mm) of the surface in the aggregate and that very dark brown to black discolouration detracting from the appearance degrades cauliflower if exceeding 3/4 inch (19.2 mm) of the surface in the aggregate.
  • Granular appearance of the curds known as riciness should be ignored in Canada No. 2 grade.
  • Green colour of curds produced by the development of chlorophyll due to improper cultivation is a defect in both grades if present in any amount.

Hollow Stem

Hollow stem is a physiological disorder in cauliflower and has been frequently linked to boron deficiency. However, the climatic conditions favouring rapid plant growth following the initiation of the central inflorescence will also tend to favour the occurrence of hollow stem and it appears that some cultivars are more susceptible than other cultivars.

For the season where the problem occurs, the inspector will choose five heads at random from each of the first two samples and cut each head in half in order to find out if there is no opening in the curd or in the stem.

If the defect is present, then it is important that inspectors be uniform. A minimum of five heads per remaining sample are chosen on a predetermined random basis without regard for external defects. All heads will be cut open and defective specimens will be scored against the total number of heads open.

Hollow stem in cauliflower is scored in both grades as follows:

  • when the opening extends into the curd;
  • when the opening in the stem is more than slightly discoloured, or
  • when the opening in the stem is watersoaked.

Slightly discoloured means any shade of brown or tan, but greyish discolouration will be considered acceptable.

The curd is the total inflorescence or the portion of the head where all the florets are attached, excluding the central cone-shaped portion, and exclusive of the stem and any attached jacket leaves.


Canada No. 1

  • The heads of Canada No. 1 cauliflower must have superfluous leaves removed and be protected by a ring of wrapper leaves. Jacket leaves should also be free from defects that materially affect the appearance of the head.
  • No jacket leaves are required on individually wrapped heads.
  • This means that Canada No. 1 cauliflower is trimmed so that the jacket leaves do not exceed the number and length necessary to protect against bruising and do not extend above the crown of the curd.
  • A good number of jacket leaves for Canada No. 1 cauliflower is impossible to define. It will vary depending upon the variety. Usually, two thickness of coarse and large leaves are necessary to protect the curd from bruising.
  • To respect the appearance requirement, the butts must also be smoothly trimmed and it is forbidden to have any cut into the curd. Any amount of trimming of the curd is scoreable.

Canada No. 2

  • There are no requirements for the presence of wrapper leaves in Canada No. 2 cauliflower but when present, they should be free from defects that seriously affect the appearance of the head.
  • This means that the butts must be trimmed fairly smooth and even. If a slice or cut affects the curd, the cut should not expose the flower stem.


Curds must be clean and jacket leaves fairly clean. Any dirt which detracts from and materially affects the appearance is scoreable.

Enlarged Bracts

These are light green leaves originating at the base of the main stem that separate sections or form a division of the head and which may cover the curd. Canada No. 1 cauliflower must be free from this defect. For Canada No. 2, this defect should not seriously affect the appearance. There must be many enlarged bracts in order to seriously affect the appearance.


Fuzziness is a condition defect and is caused by the lengthening of the leafy floral bracts of the flower which gives the surface of the curd a hairy appearance and frequently develops first around the edges of the curd.

At shipping point, fuzziness is scoreable against Canada No. 1 grade only. The individual cauliflower must be free from stems of the individual flower buds that have begun to elongate resulting in the surface of the head having a fuzzy appearance.

At destination, heads should be scored as damaged by fuzziness when more than one-third of the head has a distinctly fuzzy appearance.


For Canada No. 1 grade, a granular appearance known as riciness is a defect, which the cauliflower must be free from.

Insect Injury

Score against Canada No. 1 or Canada No. 2 grade any insect injury on the curd or when the curd is more than slightly infested or when the jacket leaves are more than moderately infested with live or dead insects at shipping point. Insect injury is a grade defect except when live insects or both dead and live insects are found. For Canada No. 1 two insects and for Canada No. 2 four insects are regarded as a slight infestation.

Mechanical Injury

If a small part of the curd is broken, score as mechanical injury against Canada No. 1 grade. If the cut exposes the flower stem, score as mechanical injury against Canada No. 2 grade. These are permanent defects.


Decay affecting the curd or the butt portion should be reported separately from decay affecting jacket leaves. At shipping point decay affecting jacket leaves should be added to decay affecting the curd or butt portion and should be applied against the decay tolerance. Decay in any amount should be reported. If none is found, report as no decay in evidence. It is a condition defect and does not affect the grade at destination.


If surface mould is noted on the curd without wet decay of tissues, it should not be reported as decay, even if the mould growing on the curd normally penetrates into the flesh causing some dry disintegration of the tissues. When reporting mould describe the colour and the surface area affected. At shipping point specimens must be free from this defect; at destination score if exceeding 3/4 inch in aggregate area.

Freezing Injury

Freezing of the curd is indicated by a watery or brownish discolouration either in small spots or affecting whole portions of the curd. The jacket leaves are seldom affected by freezing injury. Inspectors should describe the type of discolouration and the area of the curd affected. No mention of freezing injury should be made on the face of the certificate unless ice crystals are in evidence. Sometimes freezing injury may resemble bruising.


Bruised cauliflower causes a discolouration of the curd. This defect should not be scored as mechanical injury since it is very difficult to determine where this condition defect occurred. Score against Canada No. 1 any bruised spot of which the colour materially detracts from the appearance. Watery, brown or dark brown colour if in excess of 3/4 inch will usually materially detract from the appearance. Score against Canada No. 2 any bruised spot of which the colour seriously detracts from the appearance. Watery or brown colour if in excess of 1 1/2 will seriously detract from the appearance.

Shipping Point Tolerances

  • 5% of the cauliflower's by count may be below the minimum size;
  • 10% of the packages, where the cauliflower's are in packages, may contain fewer or more heads than the number marked thereon or contain heads that exceed the permitted size variation;
  • 2% of the cauliflower's by count may be affected by decay;
  • 5% of the cauliflower's by count may have the same grade defect; and
  • 10% of the cauliflower's by count may have grade defects other than those referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) but including those referred to in paragraphs (c) and (d).