CCOF performs about 2,800 inspections per year! That's about 11 inspections per workday. Completing these inspections effectively is crucial to maintaining CCOF's accreditation and ensuring the value of your certification.
When Can I Expect My Annual Inspection?
Every CCOF client must be inspected at least once during the calendar year. Your annual inspection can occur at any time of year and may be only five or six months after the previous inspection. CCOF understands the seasonal changes in workload and income inherent to many types of agriculture and food production. However, as a regulatory agency, CCOF must be able to inspect a certified operation at any time. Seeing different activities at various times of the year helps us provide meaningful certification oversight.
If costs are an issue, CCOF can implement payment plans or delay payment for inspections that happen during lean times of the year. Clients may contact CCOF's Accounting Department to request consideration of one of these options. CCOF can allow some flexibility in scheduling but we generally cannot recognize entire seasons or other broad swaths of time where inspections are not possible. Heavy production season is often an important time for CCOF inspectors to observe operations handling organic products.
Role of RSRs
Regional Service Representatives (RSRs) are the organizational hubs of the inspection process; they assign and track all inspections in their region(s). Whenever possible, RSRs assign inspection groupings based on shared locality of the clients and they often assist inspectors in choosing the best order or route to maximize travel efficiency, passing on the savings to our clients. In other cases, RSRs assign single inspections to meet client needs, meet CCOF goals, address complaints, or respond to other issues.
Role of Inspectors
CCOF employs a team of over 80 regionally-based inspectors. Inspectors are assigned groups of inspections that must be completed by a specific due date. Inspectors are required to maximize travel efficiency and minimize travel expenses. In order to realize this, your communication and cooperation in scheduling is critical.
Please contact your RSR as early as possible about any scheduling needs such as impending harvest dates on new parcels, new facilities that must be inspected prior to use, planned absences of three weeks or more, or anything else that might affect your availability.
Please reply promptly to your assigned inspector when they attempt to schedule your inspection. They are frequently trying to contact and balance the needs of many clients at once. To control inspection costs, inspectors schedule with multiple operations on any given trip. The sooner you communicate your scheduling needs to your inspector, the more flexibility the inspector will have to meet those needs. CCOF inspectors will attempt to contact a client at least three times before returning the assignment to CCOF. Failure to respond to the inspector or to agree on a date for your inspection can result in a Notice of Noncompliance and further adverse action.
CCOF's system of scheduling annual inspections using RSRs and regionally-based inspectors is designed to keep scheduling and travel costs as low as possible for our clients. RSRs and inspectors try to recognize legitimate scheduling concerns of certified operations. CCOF is not able to honor all scheduling requests or personal preferences of our clients. However, by communicating with RSRs and inspectors as early and clearly as possible, you can help us meet your scheduling needs and keep inspection costs manageable.