SIZA offers three options to auditees regarding the audit process that will support members in being fully compliant with valid Audit Completion Letters throughout the year. The three options currently offered to producers are:

Traditional Onsite Audit

This option is the ‘normal’ audit as per the SIZA Audit Process and Methodology which continues as per normal. This option entails a full onsite audit at a time as arranged between the facility and the audit firm. Following the audit, the facility will need to complete all the corrective actions and as soon as the auditor signs off on all corrections, the Audit Completion Letter (certificate) will be issued.

What to do if your Audit Completion Letter expires before your peak season?

Offsite/Onsite audit

When a specific facility’s audit has expired before their newest peak season, or if the packing facility has not yet become operational, the facility can apply to have an offsite/onsite audit conducted. The offsite date will be scheduled in line with their current audit expiry, and after this portion of the audit has been completed and all corrective actions have been signed off, the facility can apply for a Provisional Extension Letter from SIZA. The Provisional Extension Letter will be awarded based on the overall risk rating and provided that no critical non-compliances were raised during the offsite portion of the audit. The onsite part of the audit will then be conducted during the peak production period/packing season to ensure that at least 66% of the total workforce is present and the packing facility is operational. The audit date will then reflect as the onsite audit date to ensure the facilities fall within the correct audit cycle for future audits.

Audit firms must ensure that the schedulers have good communication with producers to ensure they understand that a minimum of 66% of the total workforce must be present, including temporary employees and Temporary Employment Services (where applicable). Furthermore, it should be very clearly required that all production units will form part of the audit scope, and any packing/processing facilities must be in operation.

What should I do if my corrective actions are still outstanding, and I urgently need an Audit Completion Letter during my peak season?

Audit with a Bridging Period

In cases where facilities have completed their audit in full as a traditional onsite audit, and their current audit expires before they have completed the corrective actions, the facility can apply for a Bridging Letter which will allow the facility to supply their markets while corrective actions are being completed in full and before the new Audit Completion Letter is provided. The bridging period will be awarded based on an internal risk evaluation taking into account the current audit’s overall risk rating and the number of findings along with each finding’s risk rating.