General security measures for Fairbiotea projects
Additional controls by the third country organic control body
The Fairbiotea development plan provides for additional controls, commissioned and financed by Fairbiotea, besides the regular inspections by the control bodies for the respective certifications. This is necessary because the controls in the context of the legal certification procedures are not sustainable or insufficient. The farm, Fairbiotea and the responsible and independent third country organic control body cooperate in these additional controls.
The basis of these additional controls is a contractual agreement that creates complete transparency in the cooperation between the farms, Fairbiotea and the third country organic control body. There is a constant, open exchange of information between the farm, Fairbiotea and the third country organic control body.
Fairbiotea commissions the control body to carry out an annual Fairbiotea audit. It monitors compliance with and implementation of the measures and objectives of the Fairbiotea development plan. This control takes place either within the framework of the annual organic inspection or during an extra inspection. The inspection report is sent to both Fairbiotea and the farm and is also the basis for drawing up new development plans.
Furthermore, for every tea export commissioned by Fairbiotea, an additional export inspection is carried out by the third country organic control body, the so-called TraCert inspection. During this inspection, employees of the third country organic control body check the condition of the packaging and the labelling of the goods prepared there for export on site in the exporters' storage rooms according to precise specifications. The inspectors also take samples from each batch of tea according to a specific sampling plan, seal them and send them to Fairbiotea in Germany. In addition, they check the agricultural origin of the goods and compare them with the information provided by the producer. Fairbiotea then receives an inspection report to decide about the release of the goods.
The thus drawn and sealed tea samples are tested for harmful substances and prohibited pesticides in an accredited German food laboratory. Fairbiotea assesses the laboratory reports and either releases the goods for shipment or rejects the goods - depending on the results of the laboratory report.
Fairbiotea forwards the laboratory reports to the producer. Once Fairbiotea has approved the goods for shipment, the producer applies to the responsible third country organic control body for a "certificate of inspection" for import into the EU. This certificate of inspection, abbreviated COI, is issued digitally by the inspection body in the online portal TRACES, now called IMSOC (Information Management System for Official Controls). For this purpose, the producer also submits the laboratory reports to the control body. This gives the inspection body the opportunity to additionally check the organic status on the basis of the laboratory reports and to determine once again on behalf of Fairbiotea whether the goods were produced agriculturally at the specified location. As an additional security, the inspection body checks the flow of quantities from the tea garden.
If the third country organic control body confirms that all legal requirements for the organic status are met, it issues the certificate of inspection before the goods leave the country of origin. The producer can then initiate the export.
If there are complaints, an investigation is initiated immediately to try to analyse the cause and develop countermeasures. In this case, no export clearance can be given and no certificate of inspection can be issued. The goods will not reach Europe.
The additional bio-security measures described above are only partially provided for in the EU regulation. However, they are necessary because without them it is almost impossible to detect deliberate fraud with organic products. So far, the measures only take place when a trading company commissions a third country organic control body to do so and is willing to pay them.
Updated 17 January 2023