How can I control the cost of my organic inspection?

The onsite inspection is an integral part of organic certification. The inspector bills CCOF for the time and expenses of each inspection and CCOF in turn bills the inspected party. The costs of inspections vary widely. Usually, the major cost factor is the scope and complexity of an operation. Other factors may include the producer's knowledge of applicable organic standards, previous issues, noncompliances or potential noncompliances, inspector travel distance, inspector efficiency, quality and accuracy of the OSP, accessibility and clarity of records, uninterrupted focus during the inspection, and timely submission of additional information requested. As the inspected party, you have some control over many of these factors.

All operations have potential compliance issues. Understand the organic standards applicable to your operation, and identify your potential compliance issues. Be proactive about these "issues of concern" for your operation. The greater the potential for something to be out of compliance, the more information the inspector needs about that item. For example, mixed operations (organic and non-organic crops or products) often have potential for commingling and contamination. Show the inspector that you understand these issues and explain your clear and documented system for addressing them. If you are well organized and prepared to present these issues to the inspector, you will save the inspector from having to sort out the situation at your cost.

For additional information about what to expect at your inspection, check out “Why do I need an organic Inspection?” and “What will happen at my organic inspection?”.