Traceability from the Farm to the Market Shelf Traceability from the Farm to the Market Shelf

The GLOBALG.A.P. Chain of Custody Standard (CoC)

Transparency throughout the supply chain guarantees the integrity of your product and reassures your customers. The GLOBALG.A.P. Chain of Custody Standard is an essential certificate for all producers and retailers handling GLOBALG.A.P. certified products. It ensures that any product bearing a GLOBALG.A.P. label or sold as a GLOBALG.A.P. certified product is sourced from GLOBALG.A.P. certified farms.

The GLOBALG.A.P. CoC Standard identifies the status of your product throughout the entire process, from farm to retailer. It lays out strict requirements for handling certified products and the proper segregation of certified and non-certified produce in the processing operation units.

The GLOBALG.A.P. Chain of Custody (CoC) Standard gives you the level of transparency and integrity that provides added value to your product and brand in the market and added reassurance to your customers.

A Guide to Our Documents

  • The GLOBALG.A.P. Checklist is the document you need to complete your self-assessment.
  • The Control Points and Compliance Criteria (CPCC) document lists everything the standard you are applying for covers, and gives you additional guidelines to fulfill the requirements.
  • The General Regulations document defines how the certification process works and lists the requirements for quality management systems and related issues.

Chain of Custody FAQs

For the sake of simplicity, these FAQ use the terms “certified products,” “certified producers,” and “certified companies.” However, products, producers, and companies themselves are not certified. “Certified product” refers instead to a product originating from a production process certified against the GLOBALG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard. “Certified producer/producer group/company” refers to a producer/producer group/company whose production processes have been certified.

 

The GLOBALG.A.P. Chain of Custody (CoC) standard therefore applies to the company’s processes, not the certification of any product or the company itself.

What is the IFA standard?

The IFA standard is an internationally recognized standard for agricultural production. It is our core product and the result of years of intensive research and collaboration with industry experts, producers, and retailers around the globe. Our goal is safe and sustainable agricultural production to benefit farmers, retailers, and consumers throughout the world.

How does the GLOBALG.A.P. certification system work?

Production processes are inspected/audited and certified against strict standards covering aspects such as food safety and traceability; environment, including biodiversity; workers’ health, safety, and welfare; and animal welfare. These inspections and audits are undertaken by independent certification bodies. In order to be awarded a GLOBALG.A.P. certificate, farms must be managed in a manner which ensures food safety and safeguards the environment and social welfare. This is what makes the GLOBALG.A.P. system unique and ensures greater sustainability in production processes. It also helps improve business performance and reduce waste of vital resources. The result is a general farming approach that lays the foundation for best practices for generations to come.

What is the CoC standard? Will it help to assure my clients that the product really stems from a GLOBALG.A.P. certified production process?

In addition to agricultural production certification, GLOBALG.A.P. also offers chain of custody certification. The chain of custody is the process of tracking a certified product throughout the supply chain – from the farm through the various stages of trading, sorting, packing, and warehousing to the end consumer. This chain of custody is monitored through the invoicing and other sales documentation processes. The final product label has a code which confirms that the item is genuinely GLOBALG.A.P. certified.

Does my business need CoC certification?

Any product sold with the GLOBALG.A.P. claim needs to be traceable from the farm to the final consumer. For this to work, every company along the supply chain needs to be certified according to the CoC standard. The CoC standard ensures a continuous chain throughout which certified products are identifiable, segregated, and traceable.

If your company receives products from a GLOBALG.A.P. certified source and wants to sell them as such, you need CoC certification.

Who does not need certification?

There are exceptions. You do not require CoC certification if your company …

  • buys certified products but does not wish to sell them as GLOBALG.A.P. certified. In this case the chain is broken, and you and your customers may not make any claim about the product being GLOBALG.A.P. certified.
  • is a freight forwarder who does not have ownership of the certified products but merely transports them.
  • only provides contracted services for certified companies and therefore can be covered by your customer’s CoC certification as a subcontractor.
I do not physically handle the products; do I need CoC certification?

Yes. If you take legal ownership of the products and wish to give your customers sales documents with a GLOBALG.A.P. claim, you need to have CoC certification.

How do I know that a product is GLOBALG.A.P. certified?

In addition to GLOBALG.A.P. agricultural production certification, GLOBALG.A.P. offers the CoC standard that ensures traceability of the certified product through every stage in the supply chain, from the farm to the final consumer. This is monitored through the invoicing and sales documentation process, and the final label on the product has a code (GGN/CoC Number) that confirms that the item is genuinely GLOBALG.A.P. certified.

Do all my products have to be GLOBALG.A.P. certified if I apply for CoC certification?

No, but you must make sure that you have implemented systems for segregating GLOBALG.A.P. certified and non-certified products.

I am not trading any GLOBALG.A.P. certified products yet; can I still proceed with getting CoC certification?

Yes. The certification body will, however, want to come for a brief visit once you start handling or processing GLOBALG.A.P. certified products to make sure your systems are working properly.

Do I always have to put a GGN or a CoC Number on the label of my products if I hold a CoC certificate?

No, not if a client requests you not to. However, for the chain of custody to be maintained, the products must be sold with the GGN/CoC Number and GLOBALG.A.P. claim in the sales documents. Only GLOBALG.A.P. certificate holders can use the GGN on packaging or invoices. 

I hold a CoC certificate. A company without GLOBALG.A.P. certification carries out part of one of my processing procedures (storage/ packing); do they also need CoC certification?

If you want another company to carry out part of the process, such as storage or packing, then they can be included in the scope of your ChoC certificate – but only if you retain ownership of the products. You will need to contact your certification body to include your subcontracted companies within the scope of your certificate.

My company is IFS Food certified; can this replace the CoC certification?

No, IFS Food audits are not focused on the traceability and segregation of GLOBALG.A.P. certified products. However, if you have already been audited against other programs recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (IFS Food or BRCGS Food), it is worth checking with your certification body if they can introduce the CoC inspections/audits into your existing inspection/auditing schedule. IFS auditors who have received additional CoC training can inspect and audit against the CoC standard in a combined inspection/audit with the IFS Food, IFS Cash & Carry/Wholesale, IFS Logistics, and/or IFS Broker audit. The inspection/audit will result in two separate certificates.

My company is BRCGS Food certified; can this replace the CoC certification?

No, BRCGS Food audits are not focused on the traceability and segregation of GLOBALG.A.P. certified products. However, if you have already been audited against BRCGS programs, it is worth checking with your certification body if they can introduce the CoC inspections/audits into your existing inspection/auditing schedule. In the framework of this module, the BRCGS auditor would inspect/audit the CoC standard in addition to the BRCGS Food audit in the produce packaging company. The inspection/audit will result in two separate certificates.

As a supply chain member, where can I find more information?

Please see our Quicklinks for more information on scope and certification options.

To find out about our services for retailers, go to GLOBALG.A.P. for buyers.

How do I get certified?

Simply follow the five steps to certification listed at www.globalgap.org/getcertified, and you are on your way!

You can find information on certification bodies that can conduct the required assessment process at GLOBALG.A.P. approved certification bodies.

What will be inspected/audited?

A certification body will inspect/audit your company to ensure that …

  • you are purchasing GLOBALG.A.P. certified products from a certified supplier;
  • certified products are clearly identifiable;
  • certified products are separated from non-certified ones;
  • certified products are traceable and volumes recorded; and
  • you have an effective management system in place.
What are the costs for GLOBALG.A.P. CoC certification?

The costs for CoC certification consist of the following:

- Costs of implementing the standard: Each company is unique, so depending on their specific situation, some companies may need to implement new policies, processes, and installations to comply with the standard.

- GLOBALG.A.P. registration fee: This fee is charged by the GLOBALG.A.P. Secretariat via certification bodies. Click here to see our current fee table.

- Certification body service fees: Costs for the inspections/audits (time, travel costs) and services provided by the independent certification body are negotiated directly between the company and the certification body. These fees depend on individual price policies, the duration of the inspection/audit, travel costs, time needed for preparation, and follow-up. To find a list of all certification bodies, go to  GLOBALG.A.P. approved certification bodies.

Please note: Certificates are issued per scope (Crops/Livestock/Aquaculture) and are valid for one year.

How does GLOBALG.A.P. differ from other farming certification schemes?

There are a number of other farming certification schemes, but they do not have the same strict environmental, social, and food safety standards, nor such a rigorous chain of custody standard to track the products from farm to customer.