COVID-19 GFSI

On-site audit

Is the on-site audit different in this crisis?

Valid for all standards

Answer

The official and company regulations are always observed during the audit (hygiene measures, minimum distance). This is in the audit:

1. The auditor and the audited persons are provided with masks, if available on site, as a precautionary measure.

2. The opening and closing discussion of the audit takes place in a small circle with a limited number of participants (max. 3-5 persons).

3. The audit sequences are carried out with a minimum of staff on site, keeping a distance of 2m.

4. For audit sequences in production: Interviews with employees on site are kept to a minimum. The safety distance is always maintained. We act on site according to the situation and with caution. 

5. Lunch is organised on a small scale.

6. The rules of the standard owner are continuously observed.

7. Any deviation from normal practice is noted by the auditor the ProCert Portal (under changes to the audit plan).

Interruption, reduction or temporary cessation of production

We had to temporarily stop production. Will ProCert suspend our certificate?

Valid for all standards

Answer

NO. A risk assessment may be requested by ProCert followed by a possible on-site audit at the time of the production start. ProCert must be kept informed of shutdowns and production starts (according to the certification regulations).

We are producing, but part of our production is discontinued. Can the audit be carried out under these conditions?

Valid for all standards

Answer

YES. The audit can take place. The auditor decides on site on the definition of possible exclusions. The scope of the new certificate will be adjusted accordingly and an additional audit may be required.

We are working in crisis management mode (reduced activities, home office, etc.). How does this affect our certification?

Valid for all standards

Answer

Certification can be maintained as long as you continue to control your processes, procedures and operations and ensure the quality and safety of the food produced.

FSSC 22000 Audit postponement and consequences

Our FSSC 22000 upgrade audit will take place shortly. Can I postpone it?

Valid for FSSC 22000 Food, packaging, feed, transport and storage

Answer

YES, if the reason for the postponement is related to COVID-19 and the risk assessment and interview conducted by ProCert confirm a postponement.

Postponement of the audit and consequences

The audit at my site is scheduled for the coming weeks, will ProCert postpone it?

Valid for all standards

Answer

Whenever possible, ProCert does not postpone audits on its own initiative. The workload of the auditors is very high, so postponement is the last possible solution.

We make every effort to ensure that planned audits can take place. At the same time, it is very important to us that everything necessary is done to prevent the risk of infection and spread of the coronavirus, respecting both official orders and your own access restrictions to your site.

What are the consequences if I want to postpone my audit until June or later?

Valid for all standards

Answer

In this case we offer you immediately a new audit date between July and August 2020. At this time it is most likely that your audit may successfully be postponed but if many customers wish to postpone their audit, we cannot guarantee that we will find a date in 2020. For FSSC Upgrade Audits a risk assessment must take place.

The audit at my site has been postponed, I have to comply with the requirements of the standard/ continue to meet standards at the moment?

Valid for all standards

Answer

YES. Continued compliance with the requirements of the standard(s) is essential to maintain certification as contracted. The measures specifically defined by your site during the coronavirus crisis will be pre-checked at the latest during the next audit, regardless of the type of audit.

The audit at my site has been moved, how is this handled and made visible in the standard owners' portals?

Valid for all standards

Answer

The standard owners have defined specific solutions that relate to the COVID 19 crisis. The ProCert back office ensures that the entry is correct and comprehensive. Thus, depending on access permission, your clients can see the audit postponement.

Expiry of the certificate validity

If my site cannot be audited due to COVID-19 and my certificate is about to expire, is it possible to renew the certificate without prior auditing/evaluation? (BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage)

Valid for BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Answer

YES. This is possible on request, unless your site has a C or D-rating for BRC. In addition. Your current certificate must be issued by ProCert. Without an audit, an extension for a maximum of 6 months can be proposed. However, a risk assessment must first be carried out, followed by an interview with ProCert.

If the audit could not be performed at my site due to COVID-19 and my certificate is about to expire, will it still be visible on the portals of the stand owners? (BRC GS Food)

Valid for BRC GS Food

Answer

YES. If your certificate is renewed for 6 months according to the above procedure. The valuation from the previous year will not be adjusted.

If the audit could not be performed at my site due to COVID-19 and my certificate is about to expire, will it still be visible on the portals of the stand owners? (IFS Broker)

Valid for IFS Broker

Answer

YES. Even if your certificate has expired, it will remain visible on the IFS portal for a period of 12 months.

Will I receive a new certificate with extended validity after a successful risk assessment and interview? (BRC GS Food)

Valid for BRC GS Food

Answer

YES. Your current certificate will be renewed for 6 months. The assessment and scope will not be changed.

Will I receive a new certificate with extended validity after a successful risk assessment and interview? (FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage)

Valid for FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Answer

YES. Your current certificate will be extended for 6 months, but the scope remains unchanged.

Remote audit

Is it possible to conduct a remote audit? (BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage,IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM)

Valid for BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage,IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM

Answer

NO. No new certificates will be issued without a full on-site audit. This is a GFSIrequirement which must applied by all standards.

Is it possible to conduct a remote audit? (IFS Broker)

Valid for IFS Broker

Answer

IFS is currently discussing the possibility of a remote audit.

Renewal of the certificate

Our site would like to extend the certificate. Will we automatically receive a new certificate? (BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage)

Valid for BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Answer

NO. A risk assessment is required to ensure that your system is functioning properly. ProCert has developed a procedure that is available to clients: The procedure consists of the following steps:

Risk assessment:

1.1 Partly carried out by you, with you also submitting documents and records to us

1.2 Part completed by ProCert (same document)

2. Preparation of the interview by ProCert

3. Telephone interview (approx. 2h)

4. ProCert decision: extension YES/NO

Our site would like to extend the certificate. Will we automatically receive a new certificate? (IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM, IFS Broker)

Valid for IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM, IFS Broker

Answer

NO. No certificate extension possible.

What is the purpose of the telephone interview? (BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage)

Valid for BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Answer

The purpose of the interview, based on the risk assessment carried out and the additional documents submitted, is to obtain assurance that ProCert can renew the existing certificate on a solid basis.

Is the renewal procedure applicable to our company? (BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage)

Valid for BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Answer

YES. Your ProCert contact person will be happy to help you.

Is the renewal procedure applicable to our company? (IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM, IFS Broker)

Valid for IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM, IFS Broker

Answer

Certificate extension is not possible.

Will an extension cost me anything? (BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage)

Valid for BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Answer

YES. The total effort is about 4 hours of work, including the two-hour interview with the person responsible for the audit at their location.

Will an extension cost me anything? (IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM, IFS Broker)

Valid for IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM, IFS Broker

Answer

Certificate extension is not possible.

After a certificate validity extension, when will the regular on-site audit take place? (BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage)

Valid for BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Answer

The recertification audit must be carried out at least 1 month before the end of the extended certificate validity in order to ensure an uninterrupted certificate.

After a certificate validity extension, when will the regular on-site audit take place? (IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM, IFS Broker)

Valid for IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM, IFS Broker

Answer

Certificate extension is not possible.

If ProCert does not renew my certificate, do I have an alternative? (BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage)

Valid for BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Answer

NO. In this case your certificate will expire and ProCert will provide appropriate justification for its decision.

If ProCert does not renew my certificate, do I have an alternative? (IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM, IFS Broker)

Valid for IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM, IFS Broker

Answer

Certificate extension is not possible.

Is the result of this risk assessment shared with the staff members? (BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage)

Valid for BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Answer

YES. This rating must be uploaded to the portal of the standard owners, as a special audit. BRC GS has a special format, which we will use once our process is complete.

Is the result of this risk assessment shared with the staff members? (IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM, IFS Broker)

Valid for IFS Food, IFS Logisticsk, IFS GM, IFS Broker

Answer

Certificate extension is not possible.

Unannounced audit

My site has chosen the unannounced audit option: Can the audit be done unannounced? (BRC GS Food)

Valid for BRC GS Food

Answer

NO. By default, all audits should be announced to take place within the next 4 months (by the end of July 2020).

My site has chosen the unannounced audit option: Can the audit be done unannounced? (FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage)

Valid for FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Answer

Not applicable in 2020 or on request

My site has chosen the unannounced audit option: Can the audit be done unannounced? (IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM)

Valid for IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM

Answer

YES. However, we recommend that you change your status and temporarily return to the announced audits. The circumstances of the crisis are not suitable for this approach.

Extension of the scope of application

We are planning to expand our scope of certification with a new product range. Can I do this remotely without an on-site audit?

Valid for all standards

Answer

NO. An extension is not possible without an on-site audit.

Initial certification or Phase 2 audit

We are planning the audit of the initial certification in April. Can we successfully pass the certification without conducting an audit on site, for example with a remote audit?

Valid for all standards

Answer

NO. GFSI states that a remote audit does not replace an on-site audit. You will therefore have to wait until the end of the crisis to perform the audit on site. ProCert can issue you with a certificate if you have passed audit phase 1 or explain the current situation to your clients.

Statement of compliance during the COVID-19 crisis

How can I show my customers that my site still meets the requirements of the standard(s) in this time of crisis? (BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage)

Valid for BRC GS Food, FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Answer

By successfully completing the procedure to extend the validity of the certificate in accordance with the above procedure.

How can I show my customers that my site still meets the requirements of the standard(s) in this time of crisis? (IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM)

Valid for IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS GM

Answer

IFS now offers a new scheme to encourage your customers to get involved: The certification body can carry out a remote audit in the non-accredited area for your already certified site. This remote audit cannot be credited for future re-certifications. This solution does not allow you to extend the validity of the certificate.