What is an Audit Trail?

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Response times may be slow due to the wildfires affecting Santa Cruz County and Covid-19. Organic compliance deadlines and inspections will be delayed for businesses affected by these crises. Read the latest updates on the Northern California wildfires, and visit our Covid-19 webpage to find pandemic-specific information »

Los tiempos de respuesta serán lentos debido a los incendios forestales afectando al condado de Santa Cruz y COVID-19. Los plazos de cumplimiento orgánico y las inspecciones se retrasarán para los negocios afectados por estas crisis.  Lea las últimas actualizaciones sobre los incendios forestales del norte de California y visite nuestra página web de Covid-19 para encontrar información específica a la pandemia »

The best way to imagine an audit trail is to think of a food safety product recall. If you found out that a specific lot of an organic ingredient was contaminated, you would use your recordkeeping system to determine which final batches of product that ingredient went into. An audit trail is the collection of documents that would allow you to do that.

“Audit trail” includes all records of purchases, internal movement, and sales of inputs, ingredients, intermediates, and final products. Have these records organized and accessible.

Your audit trail documents should show the purchase and use of organic products, in addition to showing how much finished product was produced and sold. Records should disclose all of your activities and transactions with enough detail to be readily understood and audited.

Records must be available onsite during normal business hours so that authorized state and certifying agents can verify your compliance with the National Organic Program standards. You must maintain records for a minimum of five years.

How can I prepare for the Audit Trail portion of my inspection?