Costco Audits

Supermarket shelves

Any site producing or supplying consumable products for Costco is required to undergo a Costco Audit. This includes sites producing animal-derived products (e.g. eggs and milk), fresh produce, food packaging materials, and operations involved in the storage and distribution of products sold by Costco. The audit process is managed by the Costco Auditing Group with supplier requirements defined in Costco’s Food Safety Audit Expectations document.

FoodChain ID Certification is a Costco approved certification body (CB) currently performing GFSI-recognized certification audits, GMP audits, and Small Supplier audits required by the retailer.

Suppliers, manufacturers, and storage/distribution operations must ensure assessment by a Costco approved CB when certifying to a GFSI-recognized certification program, which includes assessment against the relevant Costco Addendum. Additionally, sites must achieve the minimum score set forth in the Audit Expectations manuals as applicable to their scheme. GFSI-recognized programs certified by FoodChain ID Certification and accepted by Costco (including minimum certification scores required) are as follows:

  • British Retail Consortium (BRC): Grade B or higher
  • A.P.: Pass
  • Safe Quality Foods (SQF): 85% or higher

Sites not meeting the minimum score must undergo a one day GMP audit within 60 days of the GFSI audit, which includes verification of corrective actions for GFSI audit non-conformities.

Are you a GFSI certified site needing the Costco Addendum? Contact FoodChain ID Certification to schedule your next audit.

Costco divides produce suppliers into two groups for the purpose of conducting food safety audits: suppliers packing in the field and suppliers who send harvested produce on to a facility for further packing or processing. Annual audit requirements differ according to the operation (i.e. field-packed commodity or facility).  Sites must undergo evaluation against Costco specific requirements while the site is fully operational. Specific requirements and approved schemes/CBs are listed in Costco’s Produce Food Safety Audit Expectations manual.

Farm operations packing produce in the field must submit to a Grower Food Safety Audit according to a Costco approved scheme during each growing season. The audit must be performed by a Costco approved CB with results reviewed by Costco Food Safety Staff. Similarly, harvest crews of field-packed operations must be evaluated against Harvest Crew Food Safety Audit criteria during harvest activities of the growing season. Where multiple commodities are harvested, more than one Harvest Crew Audit may be required if harvest practices differ between commodities.

FoodChain ID Certification is approved to conduct GLOBALG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) and SQF certification audits for field-packed operations with the required Costco Addendum.

Produce facilities, which include packinghouses, processors, coolers, cold storage, and distribution warehouses, must undergo an annual third-party Food Safety Audit by a Costco CB according to approved schemes for facilities. Regardless of the site-elected scheme, the food safety program must include a supply chain component, which monitors the facility’s produce supplier(s) to ensure compliance with Costco’s audit expectations for growing and harvest operations. For commodities not packed in the field, the facility may designate accepted schemes and CBs for their suppliers to meet growing and harvest requirements; these do not need to be on the Costco approved list. Verification of supplier monitoring according to Costco expectations is evaluated during the facility’s Food Safety Audit.

FoodChain ID Certification is approved to conduct BRC and SQF certification audits for produce facilities with the required Costco Addendum.

Audits conducted for the purpose of meeting Costco expectations for suppliers are scheduled with a Costco approved CB. FoodChain ID Certification is approved to perform the following types of audits for Costco suppliers.

  • GFSI-recognized certification audit with Costco Addendum (includes Food Safety, Packaging, and Storage/Distribution standards)
  • Unannounced Food Safety & Quality audit (GMP) – For sites not certified against a GFSI-recognized scheme
  • Small Supplier Audits – For sites with less than 25 employees who do not have previous experience with third-party audits. This audit is only applicable on a one-time basis and then must be converted to a GMP audit or GFSI-recognized certification on an annual basis

Once the requested audit has been scheduled and conducted, FoodChain ID Certification will manage the audit reporting process in the relevant Costco database. Corrective action reports (CARs) are required by the site to correct audit non-conformities. CARs must be uploaded to the appropriate database within the required timeframe. For produce suppliers, audit results and CARs are uploaded to Azzule. For all other suppliers, audit results and CARs are uploaded to TraQtion.

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