No audit can be completed unless the packhouse and/or processing facility was operational at the time of the audit. It sometimes happens that the business does not have the required number of employees on site during packing season as during harvest season and therefore cannot schedule their audit during packing season. In these scenarios, the audit will need to take place during both seasons. Audit companies need to be very attentive to the audit scheduling. When the site has different peak seasons in terms of harvest and packing seasons, the site will need an evaluation during both seasons by the same audit team. The audit can only be completed when all aspects of the business have been evaluated in full during the highest risk period. This is a SIZA Audit Process and Methodology requirement and several markets require this. Audit reports which do not adhere to this will be rejected.
For social audits, ensure that the audit takes place during season (highest risk period of the year), that there is a minimum of 66% of the total workforce present (calculated during the highest period of the year), and that the workforce is representative of all worker types (permanent, seasonal etc.). If any processing or packing facilities form part of the business, the audit will only be completed once the evaluation of this facility has been concluded.
To bridge this period in the middle of the season and to create adequate time to complete corrective actions, the facility may apply for a Bridging Letter from SIZA. This application must be done by the member themselves to SIZA directly. Based on a risk evaluation, the possibility remains for the facility to receive a Bridging Letter to assist with supplying markets whilst they complete their corrective actions of the latest audit. This process can also be followed while the facility awaits the packhouse evaluation visit to take place where corrective actions can be signed off as well.
If you have questions in this regard, please contact Werner van Dyk at SIZA: (021) 852 8184 / firstname.lastname@example.org.