It is important to IOAS that we provide an impartial and transparent assessment and accreditation service and we welcome input from any concerned parties on the performance of IOAS, or applicant and accredited certification bodies at any time. All enquiries, including complaints and reports of misuse of accreditation status or scheme owner logos, are answered. Similarly, the option to object to a cited non-conformity and to appeal an IOAS accreditation decision are also basic rights.
For more information on this section or to contact us regarding a complaint, please contact Teresa Barnett, IOAS Quality Manager, at barnett@IOAS.org.
In order to encourage transparency, all applications for accreditation, as well as planned assessment, re-assessment, and surveillance visits are posted on the “Latest News” section on the IOAS homepage.
We welcome comments on the performance of any certification body under our surveillance where the issue relates to relevant norms. Such comments will be taken into account during assessment and surveillance processes.
IOAS is committed to promptly responding to and investigating relevant complaints. These may be against IOAS itself or against certification bodies under IOAS surveillance.
Complaints against a certification body should normally be directed first to the certification body itself. If the complainant feels the issue was not appropriately handled by the certification body, they then should refer the matter to IOAS. Where a complainant has good reason (for example, if they are a current or former employee of the certification body and fear retaliation), the complaint can be referred directly to IOAS.
Complaints against IOAS (including its staff and assessors) should be immediately directed to the IOAS Quality Manager (barnett@IOAS.org). If the complaint involves actions of the Quality Manager, it should be immediately directed to the IOAS Executive Director, David Crucefix (crucefix@IOAS.org).
IOAS can investigate complaints anywhere in the world where the issue is relevant to activities under IOAS supervision. However, it is critical that as much information and substantiating documentation as possible be provided to enable a thorough and complete investigation. Each complaint is assigned to an appropriate staff member (typically the Quality Manager) and input is sought from various parties involved in the complaint. If requested, a complaint may be handled in a strictly confidential manner. However, please understand that this may hinder IOAS’s ability to conduct a thorough investigation. In addition, through the investigation itself, the subject of the complaint may deduce the identity of the complainant based upon the nature of the complaint.
The complainant is always informed of the outcome of the complaint investigation; however specific details regarding actions taken may remain confidential if the circumstance warrants.
objections & Appeals
The IOAS Objections and Appeals policy may be found in the document register in the “Documents and Client Area” of this website, or they may be downloaded through the “Related Documents” quick links on the left side of this page. The policy explains the objection and appeals processes as well as challenges by third parties to IOAS accreditation decisions.
IOAS encourages feedback from clients to help us in continuously improving our services. At the conclusion of each assessment and surveillance visit, IOAS sends all clients a feedback form asking about the various service aspects of the process.
We are, however, happy to receive any comments at any time on how our services may be improved.
Misuse of Marks, Logos and Names
Cases of misuse of the IOAS name or those of scheme holders will be investigated and appropriate actions taken. Verified cases of misuse of protected names and logos relevant to IOAS are published on the IOAS website. More information can be found here.
Fraud and Negligence
Organic farming and food production require the establishment of various measures and systems to maintain the integrity of the products. Incomplete measures and negligence can lead to a breakdown of that integrity. Organic standards set requirements to ensure that this does not happen and that the inspection and certification service provided by certification bodies exists to ensure that these standards are applied.
Given the premium prices obtainable for organic products, intentional cheating and fraud can arise at the farmer and trader level. On the other hand, good inspection and certification procedures can ensure that such cases remain very rare.
IOAS is helping to stimulate discussion on the issues of fraud, its prevention and detection in collaboration with various trade and certification organisations and authorities. The web site of the Anti-Fraud Initiative provides useful updates on developments in this area. Please also visit https://Alliance for Organic Integrity.bio for more information from the Alliance for Organic Integrity.