inspections

Why do I need an organic inspection?

Organic inspections confirm that your operation meets the NOP standards and regulations both before you are certified and every year after for as long as you remain certified. Inspectors do this by confirming that what you say in your application, called an Organic System Plan (OSP), is what you are doing in practice. A CCOF-qualified inspector will conduct the inspection in an efficient manner and will file an inspection report with CCOF.

What will happen at my organic inspection?

Before the Inspection:

  • Organic System Plan (OSP): This is the central document of organic certification. The OSP must be completed before the inspection. The inspector will compare your OSP with their observations, interview, and audit of records. An excellent OSP includes all applicable sections and thoroughly answered questions, with all required attachments (labels, parcel maps, land history documentation, sanitizer MSDS sheets, lists of non-organic seeds and planting stock, etc.).

What is an Audit Trail?

The best way to imagine an audit trail is to think of a food safety product recall. If you found out that a specific lot of an organic ingredient was contaminated, you would use your recordkeeping system to determine which final batches of product that ingredient went into. An audit trail is the collection of documents that would allow you to do that.

“Audit trail” includes all records of purchases, internal movement, and sales of inputs, ingredients, intermediates, and final products. Have these records organized and accessible.

How do I interpret the post-inspection review result?

A CCOF Certification Specialist will review the inspection report for compliance with the standards. The review will likely be completed within 1-3 months after your inspection (or within 5 business days for Expedited inspections, or 30 days for priority inspection such as New Applications).

Once the review is complete, CCOF will send you a Compliance Report with the results, along with a new organic certificate reflecting any changes. You will receive one of the following:

How do organic inspections work?

The purpose of an organic inspection is to confirm that your operation meets the NOP standards and regulations both before it is certified and every year after as long as it remains certified. Inspectors do this by confirming that what you say in your application, called an Organic System Plan (OSP), is what you are doing in practice.

An excellent, low-cost resource titled Preparing for Organic Inspection, which includes checklists and other resources, is available from NCAT's Sustainable Agriculture Project.