Group Integrity - Internal Control System

Summary: 

There are challenges such as meeting internationally agreed standards on production and processing, and other requirements related to food safety and quality. Private food safety standards such as GLOBALG.A.P. may even define the minimum standard for market entry because they are required by leading supermarket chains in Europe. The model of group certification can be applied to farmers who aim to collectively underpin their specific production and their ability to participate in the market as a trustworthy group. An ICS is the sectoral application of a Quality Management System (QMS) to be applied by a group of growers. It requests that groups implement a system of internal control with internal inspectors to review every single group member in order to meet a standard. The standard can be a private standard by a third standard setter, but also by the group itself. In case needed, e.g. under organic regulations, the third-party certification body, who audits the grower group, reviews the functioning of the ICS and not the single performance of each group member thus reducing time and effort for certification. Where there is no need for third party certification, internal management and proof of performance will suffice. An ICS serves as the group’s internal control to ensure that group activities at each level are implemented in accordance with the management plan and the applicable standard.

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Stakeholder: 
Farmer & Cooperative
Policy Maker
GAIN: 
GAIN II
GAIN III
Involved People: 
Organic Services
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