Scottish Quality Crops (SQC) has today (Thursday, September 21) announced that it is moving from an annual scheme to a product certification model to streamline audits for Scottish crop growers.

The SQC said this means that audits can take place throughout the year and grain passports can be issued earlier in the year to relieve the pressure of receiving these in time for harvest. 

The new product certification model will start on October 1, 2023, in line with the new scheme year and distribution of membership renewals.

Teresa Dougall

Manging director of SQC, Teresa Dougall, said the certifier of crops for Scottish growers has been listening to the concerns of its members around the issue of receiving passports in time for harvest.

“Under the current annual scheme model, growers must be audited between October 1 and prior to harvest and successfully complete the certification process in this time to gain assurance,” she said.

“Only at this stage can passports currently be issued. With the move to product certification, we can provide rolling certification over 12 months meaning that passports can be issued earlier in the season and before harvest starts. 

“It will allow assessments to be more evenly spread across the scheme year providing our certification body, FIA, and their assessors with more time to allocate audits and complete the certification process.”

Dougall said it also brings SQC in line with other assurance schemes, making it easier for joint audits to take place where applicable.


Dougall said there is no need for Scottish crop growers to take any different action to previous years for the new product certification model.

“The move to product certification will still require all growers to have an annual assessment,” she said.

“The biggest change is that audits may take place at a different time of year and will not necessarily be at the same time every year.

“We are very pleased to be making this transition which will also add integrity to the SQC scheme by allowing for improved monitoring of production across the full scheme year.” 

Buyers can continue to use the member checker to confirm that the grain is from an approved site, SQC said. It confirmed that it will be working to improve the efficiency of the member checker next year.