The means by which an authoritative body validates the conformance of a certification body (CB, also known as a registrar) to the requirements of international criteria.


WFSC conducts office audits and witness audits of CBs seeking accreditation.

An office audit

is a systematic and independent evaluation performed at the CB's facility to determine whether its documented certification system has been and continues to be effectively implemented.

A witnessed audit

is an evaluation of a CB's audit team conducting a certification audit (that is, an assessment of an organization's management systems to the requirements of applicable standards). The objective is to evaluate the CB audit team's competence, conformity to international auditing requirements, knowledge of applicable standards, and other factors.


Used to verify the conformance of an organization's management systems to a standard or other requirement. Also sometimes referred to as registration..

Certification body (CB)

A third-party company contracted to evaluate the conformance of an organization's management systems to the requirements of the appropriate standards and issue a certificate of conformance when warranted. Also known as a registrar.

Conformity assessment

Activities concerned with determining that relevant requirements in standards or regulations are fulfilled. Provides a means of ensuring that the products, services, or systems produced or operated have the required characteristics, and that these characteristics are consistent from product to product, service to service, or system to system

International Accreditation Forum (IAF)

The world association of national accreditation bodies for management systems and other conformity assessment programs. Its primary function is to develop a single worldwide program of conformity assessment that reduces risk for businesses and customers by assuring them that accredited certificates can be relied upon. Accreditation assures users of the competence and impartiality of the body accredited. WFSC is a member of IAF.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

A network of the national standards institutes of 156 countries, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO standards contribute to making the development, manufacture, and supply of products and services more efficient, safe, and clean.

Management systems

An organization's structure for managing its processes that transform inputs of resources into a product or service that meet the organization's objectives, such as satisfying customer quality requirements, complying with regulations, or meeting environmental objectives.

Management systems standards

Unlike most ISO standards, which are specific to a particular product, material, or process, these standards apply to generic management systems. The standards can be applied to any organization, large or small, whatever its product or service, in any sector of activity.

ISO/IEC 22000

Specifies requirements for food safety management systems


HACCP, or the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system.


Good Manufacturing Practice System.


Good Agricultural Practice System


Good Hygiene Practice


See certification body (CB)

Who We Are
What We Do
Accreditation Benefits
Accreditation Standard
Certification Standard
Topics A-Z