FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions
  • How Long Does Certification Take?

    We generally recommend that you start the certification process several months before harvest or launch of a product. You can expect certification to take 60 to 90 days.


    We understand that you may be pressed for time or require certification by a certain deadline. FSC does offer expedited services for an additional fee.

  • How Much Does Certification Cost?

    Actual certification fees vary widely depending on the size, type and complexity of your operation. Certification costs may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.


    Before you apply, it is important to understand the FSC fee schedule and billing cycle. Please contact us for a free estimate.

  • What is Food Safety Certification?

    Increased public concerns about foodborne illness from fresh produce and the associated economic loss from foodborne illness have motivated many growers and handlers to voluntarily adopt good agricultural practices (GAPs) and good manufacturing practices (GMPs). Third-party food safety certification offers a way for growers to let buyers know they follow appropriate food safety practices on their farms. Although food safety inspection is mandated by law for high risk commodities, such as eggs and meat, for the majority of commodities third-party certification is voluntary but often required by buyers and major retailers.


    Food safety audits focus on best agricultural practices to verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled and stored in the safest manner possible to minimize risks of physical, chemical and microbial food safety hazards.

  • Why Choose FSC as Your Certification Body?

    Food Safety Certifiers (FSC) offers a variety of GAP and GMP audits to meet your needs. FSC is a full service certification agency with high quality customer service, quick response times and reasonable fees. We offer pre-assessments as an economic way to prepare for your actual certification audit, public training workshops to educate producers and handlers about food safety and send updates to keep you informed on important certification and regulatory changes.

  • What Can Be Certified?

    Although almost any type of agricultural commodity and activity can be certified, FSC offers certification for:
    • Fruit & Vegetable Primary Production
    • Cooler & Warehousing
    • Packinghouse & Raw Agricultural Handling
    • Processors of ready to eat or heat foods & dried goods
  • What is a GFSI audit?

    GFSI Audit | Food Safety Certifiers Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), is a private international food safety benchmark. When an operation undergoes a GFSI audit, this means they are being audited to a GFSI benchmarked food safety standard. Food Safety Certifiers (FSC) currently audits operations to the following GFSI level audits:
    • - PrimusGFS
    • - Global G.A.P.

    Before GFSI, food safety was a high priority issue for many companies due to several high profile recalls, quarantines and negative publicity in regards to food safety. In addition, retailers were performing multiple audits individually and by third parties for food safety standards that lacked international certification and accreditation which resulted in unparalleled results. The demand for a universally accepted scheme started to strengthen.

    Industry leaders from all over the world came together at The Consumer Goods Forum to create GFSI. GFSI was created to unify food safety standards which would reduce audit fatigue and support the need for a safer supply chain for consumers. GFSI developed a model that determines equivalency between existing food safety standards through a benchmarking process. The benchmarking model is based on the GFSI guidance document, which is updated regularly.  

    Additional Links on GFSI Audit:
    http://www.mygfsi.com/
    http://www.mygfsi.com/schemes-certification/recognised-schemes.html  
  • What is FSMA?

    The FDA FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 4, 2011. The act allows the FDA to strengthen our food safety system to better protect the public’s health.  In addition, the law provides the FDA with new enforcement authorities to ensure higher rates of compliance with prevention- and risk- based food safety standards and better response to problems when they occur.  

    How can you prepare for FSMA?

    FSMA is currently in effect, please see below for compliance dates based on operation size. Once you’ve determined your compliance date, you’ll need to ensure a food safety plan is implemented on your site per the FSMA Final Rule on Produce Safety. Currently, the U.S.’s top food safety standards are working hard to update their food safety auditing checklist to be compliant to FSMA’s new final rule. In the meantime, many operations are obtaining/have obtained food safety certification by third party auditing agencies due to buyer demand which is a great stepping stone towards being FSMA compliant.

    FSC  
    How can FSC help you prepare?

    FSC currently offers food safety certification to three food safety standards in the U.S.:  
    Apply today to get started!
6 Simple Steps to Get Certified

6 steps to get certified