5 Easy Steps to Certification
- Step 1Application & Preliminary Evaluation
- Step 2Inspection
- Step 3Evaluation & Resolution
- Step 4Certification
- Step 5Surveillance & Enforcement
Application & Preliminary Evaluation
Certification begins with an Initial application package provided by Pro-Cert. Applications for certification may be submitted at any time through the year. Certification Extension applicants are contacted in advance of their renewal date to initiate the extension process.Certification fees are detailed in Pro-Cert’s Fee Schedule(s). Initial applicants may request an all-inclusive quotation without obligation.
You must complete an Application for Certification, identifying the certification programs for which you are requesting certification. The Application includes the Contract for Certification Services. The Contract remains valid unless certification is suspended, surrendered, cancelled or withdrawn. You will also be required to complete a System Plan for the certification programs selected in the Application. This System Plan will be updated annually to reflect any changes in your operation. The Application only needs to be updated in the case of adding additional certification programs or changes made to the Contract.
Upon receipt, Pro-Cert will complete a preliminary evaluation of your System Plan(s) and/or updates. You will be notified of the results of this evaluation and any noncompliances which need to be addressed and/or of any additional information required.
The inspector assigned to your file will make a definite appointment to inspect your operation. Initial applicants may be inspected prior to handling of organic products. The inspection will occur during the growing season or while organic products are handled by your operation.
During the inspection, the inspector will verify that operations are occurring as described in the submitted System Plan/Updates. The inspector will assess your compliance and/or your ability to comply with applicable standards / regulations. Further, the inspector will ensure there is no evidence of contamination or commingling with unpermitted substances and/or non-compliant products.
Inspections also include an audit component whereby the inspector will select compliant commodities and conduct traceability and mass-balance (in vs out) audits. The inspector will close the inspection with an exit meeting where they will discuss their findings with you and provide you with a summary of the same.
Evaluation & Resolution
After the inspection, Pro-Cert’s Certification/Evaluation Committee will evaluate the conformity of your operation and/or its products to the applicable standards, regulations, and/or equivalency arrangements and export agreements. You will be notified of any non-compliances and/or any missing information need to complete the evaluation. You will have 30 days to submit a corrective and preventative action or a plan for the same.
The annual certification decision is made by a consensus seeking mechanism within the Certification/Evaluation Committee of Pro-Cert. The nature of this certification decision varies with the program but in essence involves one of the following options:
1. granting or extending certification;
2. denial (initial applicants only) of certification;
3. suspension of certification;
4. revocation or cancellation or certification.
A Certificate of Conformity will be issued in the case of granting or extending certification. In the case of denial, you will be informed of the reasons for denial and the applicable appeal procedures and costs. Certification once granted remains in place until surrendered by you or suspended, cancelled or revoked by Pro-Cert or the program regulators.
Surveillance & Enforcement
Pro-Cert will monitor the conformity of your operation and produce during the certification period by such procedures as:
1. follow-up on implementation of corrective actions,
2. unannounced inspections,
3. collection and review of labels and advertising material.
Sanctions for serious non-compliances discovered during inspections and surveillance include suspension, revocation or cancellation of your certification status.