Certification: action taken by the certifying part confirming that a certain product or process is in line with their demand. In the Global GAP system the certified subjects is the production process used by a certain producer. A producer is a physical person or a company, a cooperative of producers – subjects responsible for production up to the certifying standards, and responsible for selling products quality.
The first move of the producer who wants to be checked for meeting the GlobalGap demands, no matter if it’s a single or collective producer, is to choose the certifying unit. This should be a verified Global GAP unit in scope of the producer’s field. The producer is responsible for establishing the unit’s credibility. They need to sign a contract with the certifying unit, pay the entry fee and file in all documents necessary. The documents should cover:
- Data of producer or plantation, its location; contact data
- Data of processing unit going under certifying process
- Data of the product going under certifying process
- Data of the control version, which is the base of certification control
Certification process of individual plantations
Individual farmer issues the submission for certification in a chosen unit. If the plantation issues for certification for the first time, first it undergoes an initial evaluation, which consists of:
- Self assessment done by the farmer himself at his responsibility
- Inspection from outside done by a person delegated by the certifying unit, announced beforehand.
The initial evaluation for the particular subject is done only once in the first year of registration in the certifying unit, and includes every stage of production, the place and the whole infrastructure.
Next the plantation undergoes the proper assessment, consisting of:
- Self assessment done by the farmer himself at least once a year, according to the specifically designed Control List
- Outside inspection done by the certifying unit. Done basing on the Control List in form of announced beforehand or unannounced inspection
The first announced inspection should take place at least in 3 months after the system was implemented, to prepare all proper evidence (product registration).
The choice of the proper timing of the first inspection depends on the fact if it is the first inspection or it is an inspection that extends the certification attributed earlier. The best time to plan an inspection is the time right before the harvest. If some things are inconsistent with the basic or secondary requirements in more than 5%, and the plantation does not implement action to fix this in 3 months after the first inspection, the audition is repeated.
Duration of inspections , both the first one and the following, depends on many factors, like the plantation size, the number of registered cultivations, the number of certified areas and the option chosen by the Organization.
Certified producers after about 6 months since the certificate was issued can be taken into account for unannounced inspection for the minimal 10% according to GlobalGAP standards. The farm must be available for undergoing the inspection as for the standards compliance.
There is a final meeting, when leader of the assessing team informs the Organization what the results of the inspection are, in the GlobalGAP assessing report, where the following are included:
- Details and subject of assessment
- Lack of compliance if there is such
- The assessment results
The assessment report is owned by the Organization and cannot be revealed to third parties without the Organization consent. Exceptions are the cases listed in the GlobalGap Norms.
Certificate is issued for one year. After that, if you want to elongate its validation, you need to undergo the assessment again. A farmer can obtain certification in several processing units, if it is specific to the location or the area. You cannot obtain certification in scope of products You do not produce at Your farm. It is however possible to follow the so called parallel production in scope of one unit. It is possible to carry out uncertified production in parallel to certified production. You cannot apply to same product though.
Certification for producers cooperatives and individual farms operating in several different areas – quality management system
To get the certificate in this option the subjects who for the first time apply for the certification of accordance to Global GAP standards, undergo the initial assessment, including:
- Internal audition done by a producers cooperative or an individual farmer themselves to assess compliance to the quality management standards
- Internal inspection done at every producer of a cooperative or at every location of the individual farmer for their liability according to the Control List respective to the certified area
- Announced external audition done by the certifying unit
- Announced external inspection done by a representative of the certifying unit basing on the Control List
- Unannounced external inspection done by a representative of the certifying unit basing on the Control List
After the first assessment is complete, the producer can undergo the proper verification done by at least yearly. It also requires self assessment as well as external control done by the certifying unit. Similarly to the individual subject, certificate is issued for one year, so to be re-certified you need to claim reassessment.
Types of requirements
Control points and Coherence Criteria of GlobalGAP system include three basic types of requirements:
- Basic requirements – they need 100% coherence
- Secondary requirements -they allow 95% coherence
- Recommendations: the level of coherence is not specified, though they are assessed and are best practices recommended for subject to implement
If a lack of adherence is detected, the producer undergoes sanctions from the certifying unit. The sanctions might aim at the producer or specific products they produce. There are three types of sanctions:
Warning: is a comment that is a result of finding incoherence. Warning is expressed by the inspector during audition. If the warning is expressed during the initial certification inspection, the producer must implement proper recovery actions in 3 months after inspection. If the actions are not taken, there is another initial inspection. If the warning s expressed during re-certification, the recovery actions must be taken in 28 days since the inspection. If the recovery actions are not presented, the certificate is suspended.
Certificate suspension: the certificate can be suspended, when the cause o warning is not corrected in given time. There are two types of suspension:
- Self-suspension on producer request and informing the certifying unit about conditions elements like product incoherence and difficulties to remove the incoherence cause
- Suspension by the certifying unit caused by incoherence found during inspection, especially if the incoherence is in features of product that can make product unsafe for the consumer
Suspension can be partial, when suspension covers several products out of bigger collection, or can affect all products
Cancel – agreement cancellation: the agreement can be cancelled when obvious and conscious incoherencies to GlobalGAP standards are found, and the producer is unable to give proof of their corrective actions. In case of cancelling, the producer cannot use the GlobalGAP logo or use the certifying organization as a part of their marketing strategies. The producer who is a subject of certificate cancelling cannot ask for another certifying process sooner than in 12 months.