Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update - Organic Inspections & Audits
Coronavirus (Covid-19) update from SOPA, OF&G Scotland and OF&G
Issued 24 March 2020
In light of the continued escalation of coronavirus (COVID-19) and following the unprecedented restrictions announced by the Prime Minister on 23rd March, all onsite organic inspections will cease with immediate effect.
And given the need for ‘social distancing’, aside from essential office staff, OF&G Scotland and OF&G staff are now working remotely.
SOPA Member Services staff continue to work remotely as is the norm, and we envisage no change to the degree of support provision to SOPA Members.
While restrictions apply, physical inspections are no longer practical or desirable. We are developing procedures to implement an organic self-assessment certification system, to ensure organic integrity is maintained – these will then be supported by a physical inspection once restrictions are lifted. We expect all Members to continue complying with all organic standards.
The self-assessment will enable the organic standards to be checked and verified without an Inspector or Auditor visiting the site. This will cover all the documentary aspects of a normal inspection and may include a combination of documents, photographs, videos and telephone interviews with the Inspector or Auditor.
With farm and food businesses currently under significant pressure we have made the decision to delay implementation of self-assessment procedures for three to four weeks while the immediate changes around COVID-19 are worked through.
This is clearly a fast-moving situation and we will keep you updated on developments.
If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact your OF&G Scotland Certification Officer or SOPA Member Services staff. We are here to field all of your queries as usual.
The contact telephone number for SOPA Member Services is 0300 772 9795 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and for OF&G Scotland certification matters call 01939 291 800 or email: email@example.com.