Work package 2

Detailed analysis of the learning contents and methodology required for organic inspectors.

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Abstract Report Work package 2

In the organic certification system, organic inspectors are the first in line to track down fraud cases.. Therefore it is necessary that organic inspectors are provided with appropriate tools to identify cases of suspected fraud. As ISO 17065 states the training of organic inspectors is up to the control bodies. To help control bodies in their continuous improvement process of trainings in fraud detection and prevention, train-the-trainer courses are planned within this project.

Work package 2 aimed to analyse the current training status of organic inspectors regarding risk-orientated controls and identifying the learning contents and methodologies required for the train-the trainer course to be developed. On the background of an increasing complexity of organic operators and past irregularities and fraud cases, the required hard and soft skills were a focus point of this work package.
A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of the existing trainings implemented by control bodies in Austria, Germany, Italy and Poland was carried out. 

Evaluation of current organic inspector trainings

From the evaluation of the training courses for organic inspectors implemented by control bodies of the participating countries (Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland), it emerged that the training courses show a lack of carefulness to matters relating to the prevention and detection of fraud.

Expert interviews and online survey for organic inspectors

In order to obtain the views of sector experts and to identify relevant learning contents and training methods for organic inspectors, experts of the organic sector in different member states of the European Union were interviewed. The outcomes obtained with this first telephone questionnaire established that while organic inspectors are currently trained in legal requirements and common deviations and irregularities, the organic sector still needs to improve the inspector’s trainings in risk orientation and fraud prevention.

Bases on the interview results of selected experts active in the organic sector, an online survey was prepared to integrate the views of organic inspectors working for organic control bodies. According to experts’ opinion, elements which should be emphasized in future trainings include the transfer of knowledge on fraud scenarios and risks, the management of organic critical points and corresponding safeguarding measures and issues related to traceability and the integrity of the organic product flow (cross checks, traceability checks and sampling). This opinion was generally shared by the organic inspectors taking part in the online survey.


A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of the existing trainings implemented by control bodies in Austria, Germany, Italy and Poland was carried out. The results of this analysis were the following:

  • Strengths: innovation in organic certification; harmonization of skills amongst inspectors; prevention of fraud cases; flexible approach to the acquisition of skills.
  • Weaknesses: high costs; partial overcomes of deficiencies; risk of bureaucratisation; lack of support from competent authorities.
  • Opportunity: intelligent application of ISO 17065; cooperation between control bodies and third party institutions.
  • Threats: nationalization of the organic controls; formalization of competence requirements for organic inspectors.

The contents of this work package should be used for the development of a curriculum for the train-the-trainer courses foreseen in this project.