The Coronavirus pandemic has changed everything we know, and nothing is untouched. We all have to adjust on a daily basis as new information is released. We at GLOBALG.A.P. also had to re-evaluate our emergency procedure for certificate extension. We have decided to adapt our policy, like other certification program owners, to be aligned and to ensure transparency in the food supply chain and support those producers that need to show compliance with a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognized standard. The recently published procedure (March 13, 2020) has now been modified and is replaced by this procedure which allows for a 6-month extension of GLOBALG.A.P. certificates without a remote audit/inspection requirement.
GLOBALG.A.P. certificate validity may be extended beyond the 12 months, for a maximum period of 6 months. This can be done based on a risk assessment (conducted by the CB), which has to be recorded.
These are the only reasons that are considered valid:
- The CB wants to schedule the on-site inspection/audit after the certificate has expired in order to observe a certain part of the production process, because it has not been seen in the previous inspection/audit, because it is considered a high-risk process in terms of product safety, or to be able to see a newly added product, process or a new or particular member of a producer group.
- The CB needs to be able to extend some certificates because of resource restraints.
- The CB was not able to conduct the on-site inspection/audit and/or the producer was not able to receive the CB inspection audit due to circumstances beyond its control (force majeure) e.g. natural disaster, political instability in the region, epidemic/pandemic, or unavailability of the producer due to medical reasons.
There is no need to support the decision allowing for a certificate extension based on the aforementioned criteria by a remote inspection/audit.
The certificate cannot be extended:
- If the inspector/auditor is able to conduct the on-site audit.
- If the producer’s reasoning not to receive the inspection/audit is not justified.
- If there is no on-going production and no product to be sold and the expected next harvest will not start before the end of the potential 6-month extension.
- If the producer did not reconfirm with the CB that they will continue with the certification after the extension.
- If there is a complaint against the producer where the investigation requires an on-site revisit.
Additional reasons not to extend the validity may be added based on regular review.
Crop extension (adding a new crop) is possible only if the new crop belongs to the same crop grouping (in terms of harvest and handling) as already certified.
This procedure is also applicable to all add-ons that are assessed in combination with GLOBALG.A.P. standards.
GLOBALG.A.P. will utilize the time to work with industry stakeholders to develop alternative means of assuring compliance to be prepared for the event that this crisis continues beyond September 2020 and travel restrictions remain in place.