ifoam'96 ifoam'96
Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
EcoWeb Denmark


Organic Inspection: Training for Consistency and Quality.W4/P2

Riddle, James A., Ford, Joyce E.

Independent Organic Inspectors Association, Rt. 3 Box 162C, Winona, MN55987, USA

The Independent Organic Inspectors Association, (IOIA), is a non-profit professional association of organic farm, livestock and process inspectors.We have over 150 inspector members who conduct inspections for a widevariety of private and government organic certifying agencies. IOIA members are located in Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru,Puerto Rico, Russia and the USA. IOIA provides organic inspector training and networking services in order to bring consistency and professionalism to the organic inspection process
Since 1991, IOIA has conducted organic inspector training courses inArkansas, California (2), Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee in the USA, British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec in Canada and in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Russia. We have assisted with other training courses in Cuba, Latvia,Mexico and the USA by providing speakers and resource materials. IOIAworks with regional and international certifying agents, state, provincial and federal governments and international organizations such as IFOAM to make sure that the training courses are broad based and all materials presented are accurate.
IOIA training courses teach investigative skills, certification process, risk assessment, regulatory requirements, report writing, audit control, organic standards, confidentiality and ethics and other subjects necessaryfor conducting thorough and consistent organic inspections. IOIA has established Regional Training Criteria for Basic and AdvancedOrganic Farm and Process Inspector Training Courses. These criteria define the curriculum and procedures which must be followed in order for anorganic inspector training course to be recognized by IOIA. All IOIAcourses include on-site inspection field trips with written field trip inspection reports and conclude with written exams. Certificates of Completion are issued to attendees who meet the grading requirements.
IOIA has established criteria defining the qualifications and responsibilities of Regional Training Coordinators in order for quality training courses to be consistently conducted by fully qualified instructors. IOIA has also established Apprenticeship Guidelines so that persons who complete IOIA courses receive on-the job training as they work their way into becoming organic inspectors.
As local, regional and international markets for organic products rapidly expand, it is essential that rigorous organic inspections are conducted by well trained inspectors in order to protect the integrity of the organic label and assure consumers that organic products are authentic. The criteria, curriculum and resource materials developed by IOIA provide aworking model for the consistent and high quality training of organic inspectors.