Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What types of food safety audits does Ceres

Certifications, International (CCI) Offer?

CCI is accredited through ANSI to conduct Global Food

Safety Initiative (GFSI) audits which include the

PrimusGFS and GlobalG.A.P schemes, as well as

Non-GFSI level audits which include the Primus Standard,

Harmonized Standard and the Ohio Produce Growers &

Marketing Association (OPGMA) audits.

 

How do I know what audit scheme is best for

my operation?  

Currently, GFSI level audits (e.g., PrimusGFS, GlobalGAP,

SQF) are preferred and widely accepted within the food

industry.  Big box stores (e.g., Walmart) require GFSI audits

from their clients.  Often times the decision comes from a

buyer or is customer driven and many may accept non-GFSI

audits (e.g., Primus Standard).   

 

Where can I find copies of the required documents per

audit scheme?  

 

Current normative documents (e.g., standards, guidelines, checklists, etc.) may be 

found on the schemes website or available upon request.  

 

PrimusGFS documents: 

www.primusGFS.com 

GlobalGAP: 

www.globalgap.org  

Primus Standard :

www.azzule.com/primusstandardaudits/

OPGMA:

www.opgma.org/

Harmonized Standard: 

www.unitedfresh.org/resources/food-safety-resources/harmonized-standard/

 

Are the standards available in other languages? 

 

Yes, many audit scheme documents are available in other languages and can be found on the abovementioned websites. 

 

How should I prepare for a food safety audit?

 

With any auditing scheme, it is recommended to review the standard requirements to establish if your current systems aligns.  All auditing schemes have checklists and guidelines to assist with audit preparation.  Many organizations have a food safety coordinator or require assistance of an expert to help prepare for an audit.  Having upper management support in food safety is a must.  

 

A toolkit is available through Primus Labs to assist with document development at http://intranet.primuslabs.com/Toolkit/User/Default.aspx

 

Does CCI provide Pre-Assessment Audits?  

 

Yes, CCI offers Pre-Assessments audits which consist of evaluating the organization's readiness toward an on-site certification audit. Pre-assessment inspectors may suggest ideas but are required not to make suggestions that may be construed as consulting services.  Pre-assessments are very useful to those new to a GFSI level audit.  

 

How should I schedule an audit?

CCI is more than happy to assist with scheduling your audit and will walk you through the steps required per audit scheme.   Contact Ms. Kari Neubauer at Kari@ceresci.com or call (715) 723-5143

 

What is the price for a Food Safety Audit?    

 

CCI’s fees are lower than or comparable to other Certification Bodies and are a function of many things.  Each individual scheme has its own pricing based on the robustness of the audit.  Please contact CCI for an estimate.  

 

How long can I expect and audit to last?

  

CCI follows the guidance and requirements per each individual scheme.  It is our goal to never exceed the required time, but certain circumstances (e.g., how prepared you are, size of operation) may prolong the audit.  

Can the on-site auditor tell me how to fix a deficiency found during the audit?  

 

No, as every site is different and may require specific ways to remedy the problem, the auditor cannot give advice on how to fix a deficiency.  However, the auditor is able to explain the standard which should assist in understanding what is required.

PrimusGFS Certification
PrimusGFS Certification

What if I disagree with the auditor’s findings or interpretation of the standard?    

 

It is best to speak with the auditor at the time of your concern and express your opinion.  If you feel it is not adequately addressed, after the audit has been completed, you may contact CCI’s Scheme Manager to discuss your concerns.  CCI also has an appeal process and other resources to assist you with problem resolution. Never be afraid to ask a question!

 

Can you briefly go over what takes places on the day of

the audit? 

Once your audit is scheduled, the auditor will provide you with an Audit Day Plan.  The auditor will begin with an opening meeting and will typically start with the documentation review, followed by the operation walk through or field visit.  Lastly, if applicable, the review of your HACCP program.  The auditor will require some time to write up the non-conformance summary and will present them to you during the closing meeting.  A working lunch is preferred, but not required.