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Accreditation. The evaluation and formal recognition of a certification programme by an authoritative body.

Audit, auditor, auditing body, see inspection, inspector, inspection body.

Certification. A procedure by which a third party gives written assurance that a product, process or service is in conformity with certain standards.

Certification body. An organization performing certification. Sometimes referred to as the certifier or the certification agency. The certification body may use an existing standard or may set its own standard, perhaps based on an international and/or normative standard.

Certification label. A label or symbol indicating that compliance with standards has been verified. Use of the label is usually controlled by the standard setting body.

Certification programme. A system of rules, procedures and management for carrying out certification. Sometimes referred to as a certification system. One certification body may execute several different certification programmes.

Control, control body. Terms commonly used by the trade when referring to inspection and an inspection body.

Inspection. An on-site visit to verify that the performance of an operation is in accordance with specific standards of a certification programme.

The inspector is the person appointed to undertake the inspection. May be an independent operator or an employee of the certifier.

Inspection body. The body performing the inspection part of certification. Where a certification body performs its own inspections, the certification body is also the inspection body.

License. A document issued under the rules of a certification programme, by which a certification body grants a person or body the right to use certificates or certification labels for its products, processes or services in accordance with the rules of the relevant certification programme.

Standards. Documented agreements containing technical specifications or other precise criteria to be used consistently as rules, guidelines or definitions, to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.

Environmental standards are standards for materials, products and production processes to ensure that negative impacts on the environment are minimal or kept within certain limits.

Organic standards are standards for production and processing of organic food products.

Labour standards are standards for working conditions to ensure workers rights are respected.

Social standards can be used to mean labour standards but can also include standards for organizations and production processes on other social issues such as relating to neighbouring communities.

Normative standards: generic (general, non-specific) standards or guidelines to be used as a framework by local standard setting or certification bodies to formulate a specific standard for their certification programme, also referred to as Standards for Standards, e.g. the IFOAM Basic Standards and FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius guidelines

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