Consultation for Remote Inspections and Audits During COVID-19 Crisis

Publication date: 06 April 2020

GLOBALG.A.P. is continuing to monitor and assess risks and recommendations in the face of the outbreak and rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Recent global developments have led to significant health and safety concerns, as well as to travel/movement restrictions in numerous countries and territories. To support its producers in this extraordinary situation, to safeguard the health and safety of inspectors and auditors, and to ensure a continuous supply of products from GLOBALG.A.P. certified production processes, GLOBALG.A.P. is considering alternative ways of conducting inspections and audits, including remote inspections and audits.

The current emergency procedure (published by GLOBALG.A.P. on 26 March 2020) is in line with the requirements of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). However, they do not include certification for new and existing clients based solely on remote inspections and audits.

To meet this need, GLOBALG.A.P. is developing IFA Remote. For the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, this solution shall be able to allow re-certification and initial certification based on fully remote inspections and audits. While the solution will apply to all GLOBALG.A.P. standards, it will likely not be GFSI-recognized. IFA Remote will run in parallel with the regular Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard, and IFA Remote certificates will be clearly marked, to inform all market participants that they are based on remote inspections and audits. We are also examining the possibility of offering this option for all add-ons. Our aim is to support producers and the market in any possible contingency by offering flexibility in certificate extension, transfer, etc.

GLOBALG.A.P. will establish the IFA Remote solution in consultation with various stakeholders, including market participants, certification and accreditation bodies, and other representatives starting the week of 6 April 2020. We are therefore pro-actively engaging with all relevant stakeholders for their input. By developing IFA Remote as a voluntary tool, we are doing our part to keep businesses running, maintain supply chain verification, and make managing the COVID-19 crisis easier for all members of the GLOBALG.A.P. family.

GLOBALG.A.P. has created a dedicated email address to streamline all feedback on IFA remote: remote@globalgap.org. We will follow soon with the initial draft of IFA Remote and the invitation to join the public consultation, but you can already send your initial thoughts to this email address.