How Certification Works
How the Food Alliance certification program works
Food Alliance certification is a voluntary way for agricultural producers and food companies to address customer demands for traceability and social and environmental responsibility.
To determine if a product or operation is eligible to display the Food Alliance Certified seal, third-party inspectors use the detailed evaluation criteria and indicators in the FA Sustainability Standards to asses whether and how desired management outcomes are being achieved.
Standards and Evaluation Criteria
To understand whether and how an operation is meeting Food Alliance certification requirements, inspectors employ various evaluation criteria that are specific to the operation and product being certified.
Farmers and ranchers must meet minimum thresholds in four areas: pest and disease management, soil and water conservation, human resource management, and wildlife habitat conservation to become eligible for certification.
Food Alliance has developed evaluation criteria and inspection tools for over 30 different kinds of crops and livestock production systems, and for many types of food processing and distribution businesses.
Independent Third-Party Inspection
On-site inspections are conducted by independent inspectors using detailed evaluation criteria and inspection tools to verify on-farm practices and make recommendations for awarding certification. The goals of inspection are to:
- Verify compliance with Food Alliance fixed evaluation criteria,
- Assess performance under Food Alliance’s scored evaluation criteria,
- Evaluate the operation’s strengths and opportunities for improvement,
- Develop a recommendation for or against certification.
To meet these goals, inspectors will carefully review all application materials,
tour the operation, and interview the owner/manager and key staff about
systems, practices, and how decisions are made.