Claims and Programs We Work With
We offer third-party verification services to literally hundreds of claims, programs and markets. These include Process Verified Programs, Safe Quality Food initiatives, Organic Certification, Non-GMO Project Verification, and many more. No matter what you produce or how you produce it, there’s likely a program—or programs—that fit your needs perfectly.
USDA Process Verified Programs (USDA PVP):
Multiple divisions of Where Food Comes From, Inc. carry USDA PVP accreditation, which means that we offer verification services to a wide variety of “points” or “claims” that are tied to processes and procedures the USDA has reviewed and approved. We conduct the audits, determine compliance to the claims requested, and issue certificates of approval for our customers.
You can learn more about USDA Process Verified Programs here.
A few examples of these programs would be:
Source Verification – Identification and traceability are the cornerstones of this claim. To know an animal’s birthplace, we must to be able to review records that identify the animal in a unique way tied to that source of origin. This is most often done with the use of individual, electronic ear tags that the animals wear, which are then cross referenced to specific records maintained on the farm or ranch. Similarly, source can be tracked in fruits, vegetables, grains, and all types of agricultural products. If you want the story behind your food, you must first know where it came from! That is why nearly 100% of our verification programs and services start with Source Verification as their base.
Age Verification – Age verification of cattle remains a valuable and viable market-driven program for the U.S. beef industry. Not only does it prevent cattle from falling out of EV programs where dentition is the common means for age determination, but coupled with Source Verification it is considered the base value-add program for the cattle industry.
Non-Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC) – The NHTC program was specifically developed in 1999 to facilitate beef trade between the U.S. and the European Union (EU). Since that time, exporting U.S. beef to any of the 27 countries within the EU requires the product must come from cattle verified by a third-party to have never received any hormone growth promotants during their lifecycle.
Saudia Arabia EV – The Saudi Arabia market was closed to U.S. beef in 2012. Since that time, the beef industry has been working with the U.S. government to re-open that market, which officially happened in the fall of 2016. At a minimum, cattle must be traceable to the ranch of origin and under 30 months of age. In addition, there are specific feeding restrictions at the backgrounding and feedlot level, which is why cattle approved for the Verified Natural program (referenced below) are automatically in compliance.
Additional programs offered within the Process Verified umbrella are: Never-Fed Beta Agonists, Verified Grass-Fed Beef, Vegetarian Fed, Flax Fed, SO100 Feed Claims, and Pork for the European Union.
Validus Certified Programs:
Consumers are increasingly interested in purchasing products that meet specific criteria, whether regarding animal welfare, environmental integrity, on-farm security, worker care, or other important aspects of production.
The marketplace is witnessing strengthened demand for food produced using socially responsible practices.
You can learn more about Validus Certified programs here.
A brief summary of each program is below.
Animal Welfare Review: Farms receiving animal welfare certification undergo a detailed assessment and audit of their on-farm practices. Certification is awarded to farms that demonstrate compliance with specified criteria and standards, including: proper animal handling and management, herd health procedures and care, food and water quality standards, housing that promotes animal comfort and cleanliness, on-farm security procedures, proper care of special needs animals.
Environmental Review: Through the Validus Environmental Review program, farmers undergo a detailed assessment and audit of their environmental management practices. Certification is awarded to farms that demonstrate compliance with the environmental criteria established. Criteria is based on general site management and conditions, livestock living and production areas, outdoor manure and storm water storage, manure use and land application, animal mortality management, waste water plans, treatments and controls.
On-Farm Security Review: Farmers must demonstrate compliance with a stringent set of on-farm security procedures. Certification is awarded to farmers who meet these standards. Validus On-Farm Security Review Certification is based on animal traceability and record keeping, facility management, feed quality and management, animal management and disease prevention.
Worker Care Review: This program includes a comprehensive pre-audit of worker care practices including worker eligibility, worker safety and worker compensation. This audit will focus on many areas, including federal and state labor laws, employee and worker health and safety requirements, transportation requirements, non-discrimination practices, employee and worker wages and benefits, employment records, applicable housing provisions and on-site working condition observations.
Certified Responsible Producer: This is the most prestigious certification offered by Validus.
Becoming a Validus Certified Responsible Producer requires certification in three programs offered by Validus, including Animal Welfare Review, Environmental Review and On-Farm Security Review.
Whole Foods Non-GMO Policy Update:
Where Food Comes From offers review services for brands seeking compliance to the Whole Foods GMO Policy. The deadline for all products sold in Whole Foods stores to comply with the new policy is September 1, 2018. Contact us today to assist in verifying your compliance to the policy to ensure your products will remain on shelf and in good standing.
National Organic Program (NOP):
National Organic Program – USDA National Organic Program (NOP) Certification is required by law in the U.S. to market products as Organic. Organic is a labeling term for food or other agricultural products that have been produced using practices that support the cycling of on-farm resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity in accordance with the USDA organic regulations. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering are a few examples of products or processes that are prohibited.
Third-Party & Private Label Programs:
One of the unique aspects of Where Food Comes From, Inc. is our ability to provide verification and certification services to a broad range of programs and standards. In addition to our USDA accreditation, we are also an approved third-party verifier for 50+ additional programs and organizations, and have highlighted many of them below.
Global Animal Partnership 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating (GAP) – Required for all beef, pork, chicken and turkey products sold in Whole Foods Market stores, the GAP 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating is a private standard focused on farm-animal handling practices. The program is designed to promote and facilitate continuous improvement, and better inform consumers about the production systems they choose to support.
Verified Natural Beef (VNB) – The VNB program allows cattle to be eligible for buyers and brands seeking specialty markets requiring natural beef. The standard incorporates three prohibited aspects of production – hormone growth promotants, antibiotics, and animal by-products.
Non-GMO Project Verified – The Non-GMO Project is North America’s leading third-party verification and labeling program for non-GMO food and products. GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses, and/or other animals and plants. The standard requires the auditing of processes, procedures and facilities and the use of testing protocols for food products to confirm the absence of GMOs.
Gluten Free Certification – The Certified ICS Gluten-Free Standard is based on a combination of quantitative analysis of ingredients and products, along with required management practices aimed at minimizing the introduction (accidental or otherwise) of gluten proteins in the production stream.
Verified Grass-Fed – This standard requires grass and forage to be the sole feed source consumed for the lifetime of the animal, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. Mineral and vitamin supplementation from non-grain sources is also permitted.
American Grass-Fed Association (AGA) – The American Grass-Fed Association is a private industry standard. AGA defines grass-fed animals as those that have eaten nothing but grass and forage from weaning to harvest, have not been raised in confinement, and have never been fed antibiotics or growth hormones. In addition, all AGA-Certified Producers are American farms and their livestock is born and raised in the U.S.
Safe Quality Food (SQF) – Safe Quality Food (SQF) is a certification benchmarked by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). SQF is recognized worldwide and is requested more and more frequently by customers of food processors and manufacturers. Our Validus division is licensed and accredited to perform SQF audits both on farm and in plants processing raw agricultural goods for many different SQF Food Sector Categories: livestock and game animals, animal feed, slaughterhouse operations, meat and poultry processing, seafood processing, dairy food processing, egg processing, manufacture of preserved foods, manufacture of pet food, and manufacture of animal feed.
Feed Verified – Feed Verified is a resource for livestock producers, feed companies, and food brands alike to confirm a particular feed product meets the requirements for specific verification or certification programs. Our IMI Global division assures that segregation and traceability practices are in place at the manufacturer and products are verified to meet the requirements of the programs selected.