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Can't find that QCS client notice email from a few weeks ago in your inbox? Check here for the latest news and updates on our services and offerings.

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11 March 2022

Our team is writing to notify all clients of an addition to our Organic Certification Manual titled Standards of Conduct. QCS is committed to conducting its business affairs with the highest standards of honesty and integrity. As such, this policy aims to ensure a safe workplace and professional experience for all QCS personnel and clients.

We thank you for your partnership in making this safe environment possible for everyone. Please refer to pg. 9 of the Organic Certification Manual for more information. To download the updated version of this document in English or Spanish, please visit https://qcsinfo.org/resources.

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27 January 2022

On-Farm Processing Update

This message is to notify you of an update in the Organic Grower Plan and fee structure for activities that constitute On-Farm Processing of certified organic crops. If your operation produces product ingredients on-farm under the same ownership and management as the farm operation, this update may apply to you. On-Farm Processing activities:

  • Sanitizing, curing, drying, dehydrating, cutting, grinding, shelling, de-hulling, de-pulping, ripening, mixing raw agricultural ingredients, crushing to extract oil
  • use of handling equipment such as a sorting machine, shaker table, or gravity separator
  • packaging raw agricultural products into retail containers using a packing line or packing equipment
  • Consist entirely of certified organic ingredients/products that are produced on that farm

If you find your activities are now categorized as On-Farm Processing, at the time of your next annual renewal, you must complete the On-Farm Processing section of the OGP and are subject to $180 On-Farm Processing fee. All activities must be described in the organic plan in sufficient detail to evaluate compliance. Examples of Post-Harvest activities that are not subject to the updated fee structure:

  • Crop storage;
  • Washing crops in water only;
  • Field packing into retail or wholesale containers;
  • Packing crops into retail or wholesale containers in an on-site packing shed without the use of a packing line or other sorting or packing equipment;
  • Adding an inoculant and storing crops for silage;
  • Fermenting fruit or vegetable pulp for seed saving

Our Grower-Livestock fee structure has been updated to clarify what activities constitute the simple On-Farm Processing of organic crops. In contrast, operations that conduct complex processing are not eligible for On-Farm Processing and must instead submit the Organic Handling Plan (OHP) and applicable Handler/Processor Certification fee.

Some examples of these activities include:

  • Include any complex processing activities such as baking, churning, extracting, slaughtering, distilling, eviscerating, preserving, freezing, canning, jarring, and/or aseptic packaging
  • Use any ingredients that are not produced on-farm

Please reach out with any questions at qcs@qcsinfo.org.

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27 January 2022

Legal Name Reminder for QCS Clients

QCS is writing to remind you that organic certificates must show the legal name of the certified operation.  If your operation’s name is not a sole proprietorship (certified under an individual person’s legal name), QCS will need to verify documentation of the legal entity name during the 2022 renewal cycle.  This applies to any operation that is certified as a corporation, partnership, company, association or operating under a fictitious name (doing business as, DBA).

Please see the chart below for the documentation that should be submitted with your next Organic System Plan renewal application.

Entity type Required documentation
 Sole Proprietorship operating under an individual name None
 Sole Proprietorship operating under an entity or fictitious name (DBA)* Entity name or fictitious name filing, if applicable in your state
 Partnership Partnership agreement and entity/fictitious name filing
 Limited Liability Company (LLC) Articles of Organization
 Corporation Articles of Incorporation
 Other (describe): Describe:

*Registering a fictitious name or DBA is often a simple process that can be completed online with your states’ Division of Corporations, or corporation commission. If you are operating under fictitious name in a state that does not require DBA filing, both the legal name of the sole proprietor and the DBA will need to appear on the certificate. States that do not require DBA filings for sole proprietorships: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions at qcs@qcsinfo.org.

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22 March 2019

QCS now offers Grass-Fed certification!

Quality Certification Services is pleased to announce they have received Accreditation to offer Grass-Fed certification services. Earthclaims, LLC, the program manager for the Organic Plus Trust INC. issued the Accreditation effective 01/01/2019.

“QCS is very pleased to expand our verification offerings to include Grass-Fed Certification.,” commented Valerie Torres, Livestock Certification Manager of QCS. “Cows belong on pasture; it’s the way they were meant to live. We now have a certification that promotes what nature intended, cows happily grazing on fresh green grass. We are excited to uphold verifiable standards for certified organic farms that not only benefit the farmer by adding value to the products they produce, but also puts the animal’s wellbeing to the forefront.”

The Certified Grass-Fed Organic Livestock Program sets the first national standard for grass-fed, organic dairy and meat production. The goal is to provide a third party certification program for the entire supply chain from production to handling.

QCS is excited to add this certification service for our organic livestock clients and is eager to begin the process of reviewing, inspecting, and issuing this certification to clients who demonstrate compliance to the standard.

Contact at Quality Certification Services:

Lindsay Underhill- Livestock Certification Manager at Lindsay@qcsinfo.org  

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11 January 2019

National Organic Program; Amendments to the National List of
Allowed and Prohibited Substances (Crops, Livestock and Handling)

This final rule amends the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) provisions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic regulations to implement recommendations submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). This rule not only changes the use restrictions for seventeen substances on the National List utilized for organic, but also adds sixteen new substances on the National List to be allowed in organic production or handling. In addition, this final rule lists the botanical pesticide, rotenone, as a prohibited substance in organic crop production. This final rule also removes ivermectin as an allowed parasiticide for use in organic livestock production and amends our regulations to allow the use of parasiticides in fiber bearing animals. This rule will be fully implemented January 28, 2019; the only exceptions will be for the amendments on the substances ivermectin, flavors, cellulose, and glycerin which will be implemented December 27, 2019.

For more information in regards to these amendments/additions, please reference the provided document here

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08 June 2018

Cost Share Announcement for Florida Certified Organic Operations

QCS parent company Florida Organic Growers (FOG), in cooperation with Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 Organic Certification Cost Share Program. Certified organic operators in Florida can now apply for reimbursement of up to 75 percent of certification costs from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018, for a maximum of $750 per scope of certification. The deadline to apply is October 31st, 2018.

Please click here for the Cost Share application for Florida residents. Please visit the FOG Cost Share webpage to learn more about the program, and how you can apply: http://www.foginfo.org/our-programs/cost-share/

If you have any questions regarding the program, please contact FOG Cost Share Coordinator Rylee Daddio at costshare@foginfo.org or 352-231-7116. 

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21 May 2018

QCS Maintains Strong Foothold in Taiwan

Last month, a delegation of international certifying agencies, which included a representative from Quality Certification Services (QCS), travelled to Taiwan to meet with government officials from the country’s Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA).

The main purpose of the meeting, facilitated by the Organic Trade Association, the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service and Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture, was to ensure that the flow of organic products into Taiwan under the Taiwan-U.S. trade equivalency continues to meet Taiwan’s all of laws and regulations protecting food security and food safety.

View the entire press release here.

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01 May 2018

QCS Food Safety/GAPs Team Ranked No. 1 in USA & Top 10 Worldwide

(Gainesville, FL, May 1, 2018)--Quality Certification Services (QCS) was recently given a performance rating by GLOBALG.A.P. that ranked its Food Safety/GAPs Team No. 1 in the USA, and in the top 10 worldwide, out of 138 approved Certification Bodies.

The rankings were independently conducted by GLOBALG.A.P., an organization with headquarters in Germany, and offices in the USA, that “globally connects farmers and brand owners in the production and marketing of safe food to provide reassurance for consumers.” Rankings were determined through an evaluation of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

View the entire press release here.

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05 January 2018

Southeastern Soil Summit: Atlanta, GA

There's still time to register for the Southeastern Soil Summit happening on January 21, 2018 in Atlanta, GA. Don't miss this great opportunity to learn about the benefits and challenges of raw manure use relative to the safety of fresh fruit and vegetable production, as well as the final FSMA Produce Safety Rule standards included in Subpart F - Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin and Human Waste. There will be presentations and break out discussions, so come prepared to share your own knowledge!

Visit the registration page for more information.

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10 October 2017

FDA releases online training module for FSMA Sanitary Transportation Rule

FDA has created a free online training module to help meet the requirements of the FDA’s Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food Rule (Sanitary Transportation Rule). This FDA module can be offered to operations personnel as a means of satisfying the training requirements of the Sanitary Transportation Rule or to compliment other training. Individuals who complete the online module will be able to generate a certificate of completion from the website.

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22 September 2017

QCS is Moving Offices!

Quality Certification Services is excited to announce that we are relocating our Florida office!

The QCS Florida office will close today, Friday September 22, 2017 at 1p.m., and is expected to reopen on Monday September 25, 2017 at 1 p.m. QCS staff will not have access to their email and will be unreachable by phone during this period, so please plan accordingly. We expect to be back to normal business hours on Tuesday September 26, 2017.

Our P.O. Box will remain the same (see our address in the "contact" section), and you can continue sending all regular mail there.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we thank you for your patience while we make this exciting change!

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22 September 2017

Cost Share Deadline Approaching

The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program is a widely appreciated USDA funded program that allows certified operations to be reimbursed for 75% of certification costs up to 750 dollars, per scope. Applicants can apply under four different scopes if applicable to their organic operation: crops, wild crops, livestock, and processing/handling.  The supporting documents needed for the application include: the front-page application, a copy of their W-9 form, copy of organic certificate, and invoices paid within October 1, 2016- September 30, 2017. Applications are due by October 31, 2017 and there is not a fee to apply for the program.

Applicants can email their application and supporting documents to costshare@foginfo.org or they can send them by physical mail to Florida Organic Growers at P.O. Box 12311, Gainesville, FL 32604. They may also fax the documents to 352-377-8363 (att cost share). More information about the program as well as the application can be viewed at www.foginfo.org under the “Programs” tab and “Cost Share” or directly here.

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22 September 2017

Federal and State Assistance for Farmers Affected by Hurricane Irma

QCS has prepared a list of federal and state assistance that may be available to farmers who are affected by Hurricane Irma. If you are a client and are directly affected by the storm, QCS will work with you on any issues regarding your certification. Please do not hesitate to let us know if we can be of assistance during this difficult time.

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15 September 2017

FDA Proposes Extension of Compliance Dates for Produce Safety Rule

The FDA issued a proposed rule that, if finalized, would extend the compliance dates for the agricultural water requirements of the Produce Safety Rule by an additional two to four years (for produce other than sprouts). The proposed extension will give FDA time to take another look at the water standards to ensure that they are feasible for farmers in all regions of the country. The new proposed compliance date for large farms is January 26, 2022. Small farms would have until January 26, 2023 and very small farms would have until January 26, 2024. The proposed rule is open for public comment until November 13th.

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6 September 2017

Scheduled QCS Food Safety Trainings in Miami, FL Canceled 

QCS has been closely monitoring category 5 Hurricane Irma, and as the potential for impacts to the Southeast are increasing, we have made the decision to cancel the upcoming Preventive Control for Human Foods Training (PCQI) scheduled for 9/11-9/13, as well as the Foreign Supplier's Verification Program (FSVP) Training scheduled for 9/14-9/15. If you registered for the training, you have been sent an email with information regarding the change.

Stay tuned for upcoming trainings from QCS in the area, as we definitely plan on rescheduling this event as well as conducting additional trainings.

We apologize sincerely for an inconvenience this may cause. If you or your loved ones are in an affected area, we wish you comfort and safety during this difficult time.

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21 August 2017

Take the Local Food Safety Collaborative's FSMA Survey

The Local Food Safety Collaborative, which provides specialized training, education, and outreach to local farmers and processors is conducting a survey to help direct its resources to best enhance fundamental food safety knowledge and help small local farmers and processors comply with applicable Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations. Survey results will not be linked with any personal information and your individual information will be confidential. LFSC estimates completion time on the survey is between 15-20 min. Take the survey and you could win one of 20 $100 gift cards!

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16 August 2017

Seafood HACCP and FSMA: Guidance for Industry

If you are a food producer covered by FDA’s regulations for seafood HACCP, FDA has published this guidance document to help you understand which parts of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) apply to you and how the FSMA rules may affect your operations.

For more guidance documents, visit our FSMA Page.

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20 July 2017

Updates to QCS-02-c QCS EU 834 Certification Requirements

This is a notification in regards to updates made to the QCS-02-c QCS EU 834 Certification Requirements  in response to the EU’s Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/673. Most of the changes to the were in regards to aquaculture standards, the materials list and other minor reformatting and clarification changes.

  • As a recap, a summary is provided below of those changes made to the QCS-02-c QCS EU 834 Certification Requirements in October of 2016 and March of 2017 as published at qcsinfo.org .
  • QCS made additional changes to the to the material list to better align the QCS-02-c QCS EU 834 Certification Requirements with the EU’s Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/673. See Summary of Changes, July, 2017.

QCS is continuously making updates to our system to ensure effective implementation of these changes. As of recent, we made changes to the  Organic System Plan for Aquaculture and the Aquaculture Inspection Checklist. These changes are effective immediately.

Thank you for your attention to these matters. In order to read the full list of updates, please click here. If you have any questions please contact the QCS office.

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20 July 2017

Introducing the Integrated Farm Assurance V5.1

On 1 July 2017, GLOBALG.A.P. published a version update of the IFA Standard. The version update is obligatory from 1 October 2017 except for the level change in control points CB 5.2.1. and CB 5.2.2. These two points became Major Musts (previously Minor Musts) on 1 July 2017. These level changes were already announced in V5.0_July15.

For the summary of changes from IFA CPCC V5.0-2 to V5.1, please see here.

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15 February 2017

QCS applying for transitional certification as part of USDA’s new transitional certification program

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is partnering with the USDA to help guide farmers transitioning into certified organic agricultural production. Using standards developed by OTA, the National Certified Transitional Program (NCTP) will provide oversight to approved Accredited Organic Certifying Agents offering transitional certification to producers.

QCS already offers transitional certification and will be participating in the program and submitting the application for accreditation in the coming weeks. This program will help ease the transition process to organic, allow farmers to sell their products as certified transitional at a premium price, and help encourage more organic production.

To learn more about the program, please visit the OTA website here.

You can view the full NCTP Standards here.

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04 January 2017

The USDA recently announced that starting March 20, 2017, organic producers and handlers will be able to visit over 2,100 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices around the country to apply for federal reimbursement to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification.

The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) and the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program offer opportunities for certified producers and handlers to receive reimbursement for up to 75 percent of certification costs each year up to a maximum of $750 per certification scope-crops, livestock, wild crops and handling. The announcement also adds transitional certification and state organic program fees as additional scopes.

To learn more about organic certification cost share, please visit www.fsa.usda.gov/organic or contact a local FSA office by visiting http://offices.usda.gov.

View the Press Release here!

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8 December 2016

We are excited to partner with Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SAWG) to promote their Annual Conference. For over 25 years the Southern SAWG Annual Conference has been providing the practical tools and solutions you need at our annual conference. It is the must-attend event for those serious about sustainable and organic farming and creating more vibrant community food systems!

The conference will be held January 25-28, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky.

The popular pre-conference events begin on Wednesday and include a great line-up of one-and-a-half day intensive short courses, Organic Agriculture Research Symposium (OARS), and then on Thursday, several exciting half-day field trips and mini courses.

Learn more and register today!

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16 September 2016

Seminar / Workshop focused on GLOBALG.A.P Aquaculture V5.0-2 standard to be held in Madrid, Spain – October 11, 2016

The PTEPA, in collaboration with ACERTA and QCS, is excited to announce a Seminar / Workshop focused on GLOBALG.A.P Aquaculture V5.0-2 standard. The workshop is scheduled for October 11, 2016, and is aimed at professionals in the aquaculture sector related to the fields of consulting, management, production, implementation or quality management, interested in deepening their understanding and interpretation of this updated GlobalG.A.P Aquaculture standard, in its latest version 5.0-2.

The registration fee will be € 100, with a 50% discount for members and customers of PTEPA and ACERTA. The meeting will take place in Madrid, specific location details to follow once confirmed.

Please direct your inquiries to Daniel Gonzalez, d.gonzalez@acerta-cert.com. To view the Seminar / Workshop flyer (in Spanish), please click here.

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16 September 2016

Organic Farming Research Foundation accepting research abstracts -- deadline October 1

The Organic Farming Research Foundation is seeking submission of research abstracts for presentation at the 2017 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium (OARS), taking place on January 25-26, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky, immediately preceding the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference (SAWG).

The symposium will feature researchers from all disciplines related to organic farming and food systems, and other systems of sustainable agriculture that employ techniques compatible with organic standards.The intent of the symposium is to provide current information to farmers, ranchers, extensionists, educators, agricultural professionals and others interested in organic agriculture.

Learn more here!

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29 August 2016

The GLOBALG.A.P. Harmonized Produce Safety Standard (HPSS) V1.0 Has Received Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Recognition

QCS COO Dr. Ram Balasubramanian said, “HPSS opens up market access opportunities for producers and packers across the American continent exporting to the USA.  As an accredited CB for HPSS we are excited to offer these service to our clients. Additionally, HPSS will help our clients in their compliance towards FSMA requirements.”

Dr. Mario Velasco, QCS Food Safety/GAPs Director stated, “We are happy HPSS has achieved GFSI recognition. This has been an industry effort to bring another option/tool to producers in the America/Caribbean region through the GLOBALG.A.P. Scheme to comply with food safety standards many buyers in the USA have backed up.”

To read the full GFSI/GGAP press release, please click here.

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29 June 2016

Food Safety Training Announcement: Publix Super Market's Food Safety for Local Growers - Understanding your Retailer's Requirements - July 27, 2016

Today’s food safety issues span across the supply chain and it is important to understand the current landscape and FSMA requirements. That is why the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), the trade organization supporting the fresh produce supply chain, and Publix have joined forces to develop and deliver a one-day workshop uniquely-tailored to help local growers explore the challenges of implementing a company food safety plan, meet the requirements of retail and restaurant outlets, and above all, protect their business.

This training is scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, 2016 from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM (EDT) at the Publix Jacksonville Distribution Center - 9800 W Beaver Street , Jacksonville , FL.

To review the training agenda, click here.

For more information, and to register for the training, click here.

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04 April 2016

QCS to hold Food Safety Preventative Control for Human Foods - Qualified Individual (QI) Training

QCS is holding a 2.5 day training designed to address the new FSMA regulation which requires every processing facility to have one trained person as a Qualified Individual to implement and maintain a Food Safety Plan. Instructors Suzette Edwards (Lead Instructor, QCS Processing/Handling Certification Manager) and Dr. Mario Velasco (QCS Food Safety/GAPs Program Director and GLOBALG.A.P. Scheme Manager) will be presenting FDA approved curriculum, and completion of the FSPCA training will meet the requirements in the rule for training as a preventive controls qualified individual.

The training is scheduled for June 13-15, 2016 at the Rusty Pelican in Miami, FL. The cost is $750, which includes cost of course materials, certificate, breakfast, lunch, and refreshments. The certificate issued upon completion of this training is provided by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA).

Please click here to view the training flyer. To register, please visit the payments page of the QCS website, here.

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26 February 2016

QCS Client Open Blue Takes Another Big Step Forward with GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Certification and Friend of the Sea

Open Blue, the largest supplier of cobia to the US market and the largest deep water open-ocean farm in the world, continues to demonstrate a company-wide commitment to responsible mariculture by achieving two major certifications at the beginning of 2016.

Open Blue achieved the GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard for the second year, following a comprehensive assessment of their business by QCS. Open Blue also complied with the four criteria defined in the Friend of the Sea GLOBALG.A.P. Add-on. Certified cobia under the Open Blue brand can now display the Friend of the Sea logo in combination with the GLOBALG.A.P. Number.

The full press release can be found here.

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03 February 2016

QCS to exhibit at the Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference in North Carolina

The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association will be hosting the Organic Livestock and Commodities Conference in Mount Olive, North Carolina on Monday, March 7th, 2016.  Quality Certification Services is looking forward to vending at this all day event.

The mission of the conference is to provide a place to network with growers and buyers while learning to improve the productivity and profitability of your larger-scale farm.  In addition to providing time to meet with the 19 diverse vendors at the event (including input dealers, buyers, farmers, and more) there will be five breakout sessions where participants will be able to choose between sixteen workshops and networking meetings.

For more information, and to register for the conference, click here.

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10 December 2015

Educational Meeting with FDA on Recently Published FSMA Final Rules - January 27, 2016

The University of Florida/IFAS is pleased to announce an opportunity for you to meet with FDA officials from Washington on the newly published FSMA rules on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, at the Everglades Research and Education Center (EREC), 3200 E. Palm Beach Road, Belle Glade, Florida.

This meeting will give all commodities and organizations in our Florida food and agriculture industry as well as the public a chance to ask questions, discuss issues and relay any concerns surrounding the newly published FSMA rules, particularly the produce safety, preventive controls for human food, preventive controls for animal food and foreign supplier verification rules.

The FSMA meeting will be from 9:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. with lunch provided to those who register.

For Final Rules & Fact Sheets, please click here

Register for the meeting here

Event Flyer

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17 November 2015

QCS parent company, Florida Organic Growers, partners with USDA NOP in launch of video series to help demystify organic certification

Florida Organic Growers (FOG) and Little Bean Productions have cooperated with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program to launch a video series called Organic Certification Made Simple: Bite by Bite as part of the USDA Sound and Sensible Initiative, a campaign that aims to make organic certification more accessible, affordable and attainable.

The multi-part series provides a step-by-step overview of organic production requirements and the process of organic certification—by farmers, for farmers. Featuring both farm footage and animation, the videos aim to be easily digestible and succinct; each video covers a different topic so viewers can pick and choose to watch the videos that correspond directly with their interests or questions. Viewers can watch the whole series to get a holistic overview of the entire certification process.

For more information and to view the series, please visit the FOG website.

Full Press Release

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04 September 2015

Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund is open from now until October 23, 2015

The fund provides direct financial assistance exclusively to certified organic producers and processors/handlers who suffer losses due to extreme hardship. Organic producers from nine certification organizations applied to this fund last year and received funds to reimburse their certification fees.

For more information, applications, and eligibility criteria, please open the flyer below, or visit the website here.

Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund Flyer

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02 September 2015

2nd Annual Florida Local Food Summit - September 18-20, 2015 - Gainesville, Florida 

Co-sponsored by QCS parent company Florida Organic Growers, The Florida Local Food Summit works to bring together the local food community in Florida, through both introductory and advanced coursework, beautiful farm-to-table meals and hands-on educational workshops.

To read more about this upcoming event, and purchase tickets online, please visit the Florida Organic Growers website, and the FL Local Food Summit website.

Florida Local Food Summit Flyer

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17 August 2015

GLOBALG.A.P. has updated its standards and regulations to Version 5.

By July 1st, 2016, all producers must receive certificates under V5.

The GLOBALG.A.P. Board has announced the introduction of the update to Version 5 of its General Regulation and Standards. The update follows a four year routine cycle of continuous improvement; the current revision has been the most comprehensive amendment to date.

QCS is working hard getting ready to implement and conduct audits under V5 starting in February 2016 to all producers (current and new) to achieve a smooth transition from V4.

Read more about Version 5 and download the IFA Standard Documents for V5 here.

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22 July 2015

Upcoming GLOBALG.A.P. Workshop!

QCS is co-sponsoring an upcoming GLOBALG.A.P. workshop, along with Fresh from Florida, and UF IFAS Extension. The workshop will be held in West Palm Beach, FL on Monday, August 10, 2015.

Please join us to learn more about expanding into international markets by getting GLOBALG.A.P. certified. You can view the event flyer here for more information.

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09 July 2015

Spanish language versions of two produce safety guides are now available!

The Field Operations and Harvesting and the Combined Harmonized Food Safety Standards are now both available in Spanish, and they are available online. QCS Food Safety Program Manager, Mario Velasco, was one of the key industry leaders who helped with the translation effort.

Read the press release for more information.

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16 June 2015

Backyard Farms Obtains GLOBALG.A.P. Harmonized Produce Safety Standard (HPSS) Certification with QCS

Backyard Farms, New England’s largest year-round grower of tomatoes, has become the first grower ever to obtain GLOBALG.A.P. Harmonized Produce Safety Standard (HPSS) certification, the newest food safety standard operated by GLOBALG.A.P. that combines the United Fresh Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative’s “Field Operations and Harvesting” and “Post-Harvest Operations” Standards. For more information, you can read the full press release here.

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19 May 2015

2015 Organic Certification Cost Share Programs

The AMS National Organic Program (NOP) has allocated approximately $11.9 million to participating state departments of agriculture to help defray the costs of organic certification incurred by organic producers and processors.  Reimbursements to organic operations will be made under the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Certification Cost Share Program or the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP).

AMA has $900,000 for producers in 16 participating states. NOCCSP has approximately $11 million available for producers and processors in participating states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Learn more by contacting your state department of agriculture.

USDA Cost Share Press Release

Cost Share Fact Sheet

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15 April 2015

Resources for Organic Producers Selling Local Foods

On Wednesday, April 29th at 1 p.m. EST, the USDA Organic Working Group will host a webinar highlighting USDA's resources for organic producers marketing local foods. Many farmer's markets and CSA customers appreciate knowing the organic certification status of their farmers and vendors, and many organic producers are seeking ways to market their products to local customers. Join us to learn about organic certification, labeling, and online directories of local markets.

Find out more here!

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15 April 2015

Sound and Sensible Organic Certification Workshops in the Gulf States

In partnership with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Quality Certification Services will be hosting round two of certification workshops in the Gulf States. These workshops will help to enlist to new farmers and ranchers interested in the National Organic Program and help them learn how to become NOP certified in the Gulf States Region, which includes Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

April 28 - Homestead, Florida

April 30 - Tallahassee, Florida

May 5 - College Park, Georgia

May 6 - Atlanta, Georgia

May 7 - Athens, Georgia

May 12 - Huntsville, Alabama

May 27 - Hermanville, Mississippi

May 28 - Gulfport, Mississippi

For more information and to register for upcoming workshops, please visit the NCAT webpage at www.ncat.org/events/.

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25 March 2015

Quality Certification Services receives accreditation by the American National Standards Institute 

Quality Certification Services is first in the world to receive accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to conduct Harmonized Produce Safety Standard (HPSS) certifications.  This is the final step to be fully approved and recognized worldwide.

You can read more about it here!

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05 March 2015

Organic Crop Certification for Agricultural Small Business Workshop

QCS Certification Coordinator and Inspector Brian Rakita will be giving a talk on the USDA Organic Certification process at this workshop. Other topics include crop production requirements, practical tips for soil and pest management, organic inputs and application completion. Connect with a certification agency and current certified organic grower to ask questions that are relevant to your agricultural small business.

Learn more here!

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04 February 2015

Small Farms Food Safety Focus Groups!

QCS and FOG are hosting focus groups to identify what agricultural producers and processors think about the importance of obtaining food safety certification for their products.

Wednesday, March 4th
10am to noon
Hendry County Extension Office
1085 Pratt Boulevard, Labelle, FL 33935
Thursday, March 5th
10am to noon
St. Lucie County Extension Office
8400 Picos Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34945

Your opinion counts!  We hope that you can attend one of these sessions and share your thoughts with us. If you are interested in participating or would like to learn more about these focus groups, please contact us at asistente@qcsinfo.org.

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08 January 2015

Organic Survey

The 2014 Organic Survey is a complete inventory of all known organic producers that are certified, exempt from certification in the Unites States (those grossing less than $5,000 annually from organic sales), and those producers transitioning to organic production. This study serves as a census of all organic operations, as directed under the FY2014 Farm Appropriations Bill.

Your responses will provide important, detailed, unbiased information to help determine the economic impact of organic production at the national and state levels. Data published from the 2014 Organic Survey will help provide the industry with a reliable source of timely information to use in justifying research projects and fund requests to benefit producers.

The agriculture industry and all levels of government use the information to prepare a wide variety of organic agriculture-related programs, economic models, legislative initiatives, and market analysis and feasibility studies. These programs directly affect the life and communities of growers and help to improve agriculture production technologies and practices.

Survey forms will be mailed in early January to approximately 17,000 producers nationwide. Responses are due by mail by February 13, 2015 or online by April 3, 2015.

For more information, please visit the USDA Census of Agriculture website.

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05 January 2015

NCAT’s Gulf States office, in partnership with Quality Certification Services (QCS), is offering a series of workshops about organic certification for producers in the Gulf States region. These workshops are intended to enlist new farmers and ranchers in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia interested in the National Organic Program (NOP) and help them learn how to become NOP-certified. The trainings will provide information and expertise to farmers interested in NOP and answer questions regarding organic farm practices and NOP certification.

Please click on a location for more information:

Orlando, FL – January 6, 2015

Tallahassee, FL – January 7, 2015

Mobile, AL – January 13, 2015

Fort Valley, GA – January 29, 2015

Athens, GA - February 5, 2015

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30 December 2014

QCS is pleased to inform that qualified small-scale operations in Florida are eligible for reimbursement of 75% of certification costs, or $750.00, whichever is less, per eligible entity after obtaining the GAP Food Safety certification for their produce for the first time.  Reimbursement funds will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted.  Cost-share applications will only be accepted until June 30, 2015. For more information, please visit http://www.qcsinfo.org/certification/ or contact QCS at 352-377-0133.

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13 November 2014

Open Blue Sea Farms achieves prestigious aquaculture assurance standard

Open Blue Sea Farms, the single largest supplier of fresh cobia to the U.S. and the largest deep water open-ocean farm in the world has achieved the prestigious GLOBALG.A.P.  Integrated Farm Assurance Standard, following a comprehensive assessment of their business by Quality Certification Services (QCS). For more information, you can read the full press release here.

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07 November 2014

Organic Certification Cost Share


It’s back! Certified organic growers and handlers in Florida can now apply for reimbursement of up to 75 percent of certification costs, or a maximum of $750 per scope of certification.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) recently received 2014 National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) funds from the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS). These funds will be used to reimburse certified organic growers, livestock producers, handlers, and processors for a portion of certification costs for USDA Organic certification obtained between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014.

FDACS has partnered with Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. (FOG) to provide assistance to organic farmers in applying for reimbursement under the NOCCSP.

For more information on how to apply, please contact FOG at (352) 377-6345 or via email to costshare@foginfo.org, or you can visit their website here.

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05 November 2014

California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) has announced that a hardship assistance fund is available to ALL certified organic growers nationwide. CCOF has raised $25,000 to provide for certified organic growers who have experienced hardship over the 2014 calendar year. Hardship could be due to natural disaster (such as drought, flood, freeze, fire, pest), illness, or other related events.

The deadline to apply for this assistance fund is November 12, 2014. Awards will be based on operations’ 2014 certification costs and the application materials are attached.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact:

Jessy Beckett, Foundation Program Coordinator, CCOF

(831) 423-2263, ext.25, fax 831-423-4528, jbeckett@ccof.org

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15 October 2014

QCS is co-sponsoring an Auditor Workshop for GlobalG.A.P Harmonized Produce Safety Standard with United Fresh in Gainesville, FL on November 19 and 20th, 2014. Please register here.

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03 October 2014

Quality Certification Services (QCS) will host a free webinar, “QCS Aquaponics GAPs Food Safety Certification Program,” at 11:00 am (EST) on Wednesday, October 22, 2014. Interested participants that respond by October 15, 2014, will be sent instructions as to how to join the webinar.

Webinar hosts Denise Aguero, QCS Operations Director, and Dr. Mario Velasco, QCS Food Safety Program Manager, will provide a 25 minute overview of the Aquaponics Certification Program and open the floor for 5-10 min of Q&A.

QCS is an industry leader with more than 25 years of experience in certification, offering a variety of accredited organic, food safety and ethical certifications. QCS developed and launched its own Aquaponics GAPs Food Safety Certification Standard in August, 2014. “The program was specifically developed to be both robust and affordable so that it is accessible to any producer,” said QCS COO Ramkrishnan Balasubramanian. “QCS has 15 years of experience in this developing sector and we are proud to continue to support its growth."

Please use the QCS contact form to register.

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19 September 2014

Selovita LLC earned Integrated Farm Assurance certification for both vegetables and fish, becoming the first Aquaponic Facility in the world to Obtain this dual GLOBALG.A.P. Certification.

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13 August 2014

We are proud to announce the launch of the QCS Aquaponics GAPs Food Safety Certification Program! Resources and more information on this program can be found here.

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08 July 2014

ARECA obtained GLOBALG.A.P. Compound Feed Manufacturing (CFM) certification from QCS for the production for its shrimp and tilapia feeds.

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27 June 2014

GLOBALG.A.P., one product certification scheme of QCS, has been endorsed by the International Accreditation Forum.

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18 June 2014

Backyard Farms, New England’s largest year-round grower of tomatoes, is the first hydroponic grower in the United States to obtain GLOBALG.A.P. Produce Safety Standard (PSS) certification for the production of its tomatoes.

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12 June 2014

The QCS Aquaponics Food Safety Certification Program will launch in August.

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29 May 2014

QCS is hosting an Auditor Training for Produce GAPs Harmonized Field Operations and Harvest Food Safety Standards in Gainesville, FL the 30-31 July 2014. Please submit the registration form to attend.

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22 May 2014

QCS Certified Organic client Selovita has obtained GLOBALG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance certification with QCS as well.

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14 May 2014

QCS is proud to announce our GLOBALG.A.P. accreditation with ANSI!

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13 March 2014

We are happy to congratulate long-time QCS certified client Celia Barss and her farm Woodland Gardens for earning the Land Stewardship Award at the Georgia Organics Conference this year!

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4 March 2014

QCS is proud to announce our sponsorship of the Superior Food Safety Workshop on 8-9 May in Lake Buena Vista, FL.  The workshop will provide knowledge, skills, and abilities required by Internal and External GFSI Auditors. There are only 30 spaces available and registration closes 25 April so please register early if you wish to attend. Full information here.

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16 January 2014

Happy New Year from QCS!

In December, QCS hosted a week-long food safety training in Haiti in a partnership with Auburn University, Minister Wilson Laleau of the Haitian Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Haitian Bureau of Standards. Press release

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14 November 2013

QCS is hosting an Auditor Training for Produce GAPs Harmonized Post-Harvest Food Safety Standards in Gainesville, FL the 15-16 January 2014. Please submit the registration form to attend.

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18 October 2013

Florida Organic Growers Executive Director Marty Mesh will be giving a presentation on organic certification at the One USDA Farm Field Day in Roberta, GA on 2 November. Flyer here.

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24 September 2013

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed new produce safety regulations that relate to organic producers, and these changes are currently in the public comment period. The proposed regulations would require a 9 month time period between the application of raw manure and harvest and a 45 day time period between applications of composted or processed manure and harvest. The National Organic Program regulations only require 90/120 days between applications of raw manure and harvest and no time requirement for the use of composted or processed manure.

To read more about the Food Safety Modernization Act, follow this link: http://sustainableagriculture.net/fsma/.

Comment on the Produce Rule.

Comment on the Preventive Controls Rule.

Please note that the deadline to submit public comment is 15 November 2013.

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9 September 2013

QCS GLOBALG.A.P. Certification Program featured in The Independent Florida Alligator.

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27 August 2013

QCS proudly announces its GLOBALG.A.P. approval!

Press Release

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08 August 2013

QCS is excited to co-host a Smithsonian Bird Friendly Training in Ecuador 21-22 August.

Press Release

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8 July 2013

QCS and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center will host a 2-day workshop geared toward organic inspectors who wish to qualify as Smithsonian Bird Friendly inspectors. The training event will be 21-22 August in Loja, Ecuador and it will be open to the public. Producers and technicians who would be in charge of keeping the parcels compliant are also welcome. Information on the Bird Friendly certification program can be found here. More details to follow.

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30 May 2013

QCS is hosting an Auditor Training for Produce GAPs Harmonized Food Safety Standards in Gainesville, FL on 4 June 2013. Please submit the registration form to attend.

QCS will also be participating in the GLOBALG.A.P. 2013 Tour in Quito Ecuador 27-28 June. Mario Velasco, QCS Food Safety Safety Program Manager (Aquaculture/Crops), will give a presentation on 28 June. Agenda here.

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10 December 2012

The National Organic Program released the following helpful guides as a part of their new Organic Literacy Initiative:

Guide to Organic Crop Production

Guide to Organic Livestock Production

Guide to Organic Processing

Guide to Organic Certification

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7 November 2012

QCS is hosting a free farmer workshop on organic crop production and organic certification in Oxford, NC on 12 January 2013. Press release here.

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1 October 2012

NOP Notice on Sodium Nitrate

NOP Press Release on DL methionine in Poultry Feed

NOP Press Release on Nutrient Vitamins and Minerals

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29 June 2012

USDA National Organic Program announces revised Program Manual: Intro & Summary of Changes

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