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Complaints & Appeals

It is important to the IOAS that we provide an impartial and transparent assessment and accreditation service and like to receive input from any concerned parties on the performance of 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 appeal against an IOAS decision is also a basic right.

Comments

In order to encourage transparency, all applications for accreditation and surveillance visits are posted on our News posts here on our IOAS web site to invite comment.

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.

Complaints

The IOAS prides itself on responding to and investigating relevant complaints. These may be against the IOAS itself or against certification bodies under its surveillance.

Complaints against certification bodies should normally be directed in the first instance to the bodies themselves. If the complainant feels the issue was not appropriately handled, it can be referred to the IOAS. Where a complainant has good reason, the complaint can be referred directly to the IOAS.

The IOAS can investigate complaints anywhere in the world where the issue is relevant to activities under IOAS supervision.

The complainant is always informed of the outcome of the complaint investigation.

Appeals

The IOAS appeal policies can be found with the majority of all our policies in our document register in the Client area of this website or they can be downloaded through the related document quick links on the sidebar on the right of this page. The policies explain the appeals process regarding accreditation decisions made by the IOAS as well as challenges by third parties to IOAS accreditation decisions.

Feedback

The IOAS encourages feedback from clients to help us in continuously improving our services. On finalising the assessment process, we send 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. More information can be found here.

Fraud and negligence

Organic farming and food production requires 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 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 procedure can ensure that such cases remain very rare.

IOAS are helping to stimulate discussion on the issues of fraud, its prevention and detection in collaboration with the trade, certification organisations and authorities.  The web site of the Anti Fraud Initiative provides useful updates on developments in this field.