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Food Safety FAQs

Supermarkets, retailers, food service business and consumers everywhere are looking for food that is produced responsibly in ecologically sound conditions. This worldwide accepted certification enables producers and brand owners to provide consumers with assurance of the safe production and traceable marketing of food while protecting scarce resources. Individual producers or producer groups may be certified.

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.

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.

You may download the application form as well as other informative documents from our website. Fill out the application and return it to qcs@qcsinfo.org. A QCS representative will send you the cost estimate and the service contract agreement once the application is received and checked.

No, QCS is a third party accredited certification body and we cannot help you in that regard as we must maintain complete independence and impartiality throughout the certification process. This brings integrity, trust, and recognition to your certificate. However, if needed, you may seek advice elsewhere (e.g. consultants, growers associations, etc.).

This varies according to each individual situation. However, if you meet all certification requirements, from the time QCS receives a signed service contract, payment, and conducts the on-site audit the timeline should be less than 15 days. The entire process timeline should be less than 30 days.

The certificate is valid for 12 months from the date of the certification decision. Let’s say your on-site audit was conducted on August 15th, 2020, and the review of your file and positive certification decision was made on August 27th,2020. In this case, your certificate would show a valid from date of August 27th, 2014, and a valid to date of August 26th, 2021.

You must have conducted a self-assessment to check compliance with the standard before the day of the audit. You may download and use the self-audit checklist available at our website.

You must have documents and records available on-site demonstrating compliance with the standard for at least the past 90 days on the day of the audit.

You must schedule your audit at a time when all of your production processes including harvesting may be audited for the products you want to certify.

If your harvest process is different for your different crops the answer is yes as we must audit all of your production processes initially. For a renewal audit there may be some flexibility on a case-by-case basis.

You should take corrective actions to bring your operation to a level of compliance where you think you will at least meet the minimum acceptance criteria as stated in the standard document. Doing this will improve your chance to obtain certification when you schedule a formal on-site audit.

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.

The Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard for Fruit and Vegetables (F&V) is GLOBALG.A.P.’s flagship standard with a holistic approach to farm assurance including food safety, environment and biodiversity, workers welfare, and traceability requirements. All IFA standards are applicable and accepted worldwide.

Produce Safety Assurance (PSA) is designed for regions where producers and their customers require only a food safety solution, the new Produce Safety Assurance Standard V5. based on the GLOBALG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) Standard and consists of only the food safety elements.

Harmonized Produce Safety Standard (HPSS) is designed for fruit and vegetable producers in the US or selling into the US market.  It covers all stages of production, from pre-harvest activities such as soil management and plant protection product application to post-harvest produce handling, packing and storing. This standard only focuses on food safety and traceability elements.

The Field Operations and Harvesting standard is applicable to produce growers including field packing and handling, and transportation from the field to storage or packing house.

The Post-Harvest Operation standard is applicable to packing houses handling fresh produce including storage, cooling, trimming, washing, and packing activities.

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