What food safety certification should I seek?
You should find out directly from your buyer(s) what standards they will accept. Some buyers will only accept GFSI recognized standards such as GLOBALG.A.P.
What is the importance of being certified to a GFSI recognized standard?
The importance is that your certificate should be accepted by all buyers worldwide. The motto is “once certified, accepted everywhere.” For more information about GFSI click here.
What is the main difference between Produce Harmonized GAP and GLOBALG.A.P. certification?
The main difference is that the Produce Harmonized GAP Standards are not recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) while the GLOBALG.A.P. Standards for produce are GFSI recognized.
Can I coordinate organic and food safety certifications to be inspected together?
Yes, we will do everything possible to accommodate your needs.
I want to get certified, but I don’t see a certification that fits what I need. Can you help me?
Yes. If you implement a specific trade practice that you want your consumers to know about, like the fact that your employees are not exposed to pesticides, that you pay your employees a living wage, or that your operation is powered through solar energy, we can certify you through our Specific Trade Practices program. Under our Specific Trade Practices program, QCS will certify up to 6 specific trade practices characteristic of your organic operation. You identify the trade practices that you wish QCS to certify, and we will include them in your regular audit and review. QCS will issue you a certificate listing the specific trade practices that we were able to verify.
What is an Organic System Plan?
Certified organic growers must develop and follow an organic system plan (OSP). Your OSP must explain the management practices that you will use to prevent contamination and commingling of your organic crops. Your OSP must also list all of your farm inputs and describe your recordkeeping system. If you seek certification through QCS, your approved grower application is your OSP.
Why go Certified Organic?
Certified organic growers rely on ecological processes and organic nutrient sources to produce nutritious, tasteful food with minimal impact to the environment. Aside from the satisfaction of improving your soil, producing healthy food, and protecting the environment, organic growing has financial rewards as well. Consumers are willing to pay top dollar for the assurance that their produce is grown in accordance with the strict standards of the National Organic Program.
How long will it take?
The certification process generally takes 90 to 120 days from the date we receive your complete application with fees. QCS provides expedited services for an additional fee.
How much does it cost?
The cost of certification depends on the size and complexity of your operation. Please contact QCS for an explanation of our fee structure and an estimate of the cost of certifying your facility. The Federal cost share program can help offset the cost of certification.