Unannounced inspections

As an accredited, third-party certification agent of the USDA’s National Organic Program, we are required to uphold the integrity of all of our clients’ certified organic products and operations.

We have developed internal protocols and policies for the use of unannounced inspections as a compliance monitoring tool, and annually conduct unannounced inspections.

Unannounced inspections may be conducted onsite or fully remote depending on the nature of the unannounced inspection.

Who can be given an unannounced inspection?

All operations may be selected for an unannounced inspection at any time.

How is an unannounced inspection different from an annual inspection?

We conduct routine randomized unannounced inspections to verify that current conditions are similar to those reported during the most recent organic inspection. In addition, we perform risk-based unannounced inspections where the criteria includes, but is not limited to: response to a complaint, follow-up on a previous noncompliance(s), concerns around commingling and contamination, residue test results, crops known to concentrate pesticide residues, buffer area issues, and concerns raised during the certification process.

Am I able to change or refuse an unannounced inspection?

Refusal to undergo an unannounced inspection is grounds for suspension or loss of certification. Noncompliances identified during unannounced inspections will require appropriate corrective actions.

How much does an unannounced inspection cost?

OTCO covers the costs associated with conducting unannounced inspections except in extenuating circumstances such as requiring an unannounced inspection as part of a corrective action or settlement agreement.

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