The certification process

One of SOPA's core aims is to protect and uphold the organic integrity of all products produced by our members and certified by us.

OF&G (Scotland) Ltd certify SOPA members to the SOPA standards that are based on the EU Regulation 834/2007 and 889/2008.

Where possible we offer Joint Audits to help reduce your time spent on audits and cut your costs. The following schemes are available for joint audits, but please notify the OF&G Scotland office when your audit is booked.

  • BRC
  • Red Tractor Assurance - Processing
  • Beef Labelling

An auditor will visit each SOPA member annually.

Audit times start at two hours for the smallest business, and can go up to two days for the largest complex processor.

There are two parts to an organic inspection - firstly the operations must be seen so the auditor will wish to see the processing plant in action.  The rest of the audit will be paper-based where the auditor will go through all the business records and the SOPA Record Sheets to check compliance.  The main business operator should be available for all of the inspection to answer questions.

The auditor will pay particular attention to

  • Organic Integrity management plan, including organic procedures and record-keeping
  • Product composition, labelling and packaging
  • Storage, processing and transport facilities
  • Existing purchase, despatch, sale and production redords and traceability system
  • Records must include an input/output reconciliation

The auditor then collates the report and emails it to the OF&G Scotland office.

The report is logged before being reviewed prior to certification.  Outstanding issues must be rectified by the member before the report can be approved by a Certification Officer. 

On approval, a Certificate of Conformity is issued.

All SOPA record sheets and inspection papers are available in digital format and can be downloaded from the Members Section. This makes the audit process much easier for our members 

                            Steven Clarkson, SOPA Scheme Manager