Rules, Guidelines, Operating Procedures

  1. What is the HGM Verified Source program?
    1. It’s a Quality and Food Safety program that is a subset of HGM’s overall Quality programs.
    2. It is owned and managed by the Hop Growers of Michigan.
    3. The focus is on following Industry Standards and Recommended Practices relative to producing a safe and consistent hop for use in consumable beverages.
  2. What are the objectives of the program?
    1. To increase customer confidence in buying hops from HGM members with the Verified Source mark. This should result in increased market share and customer satisfaction.
    2. By following these practices there will be continuous improvement in quality, yields and consistency, resulting in improved market competitiveness.
    3. To educate growers and processors and aid them in meeting food safety regulations.
  3. Who owns and manages the program?
    1. HGM owns the program.
    2. HGM Board Members oversee a sub-committee that is responsible for the program.
    3. The sub-committee (HGM Quality Team) may consist of 2 to 4 members.
    4. The HGM Quality Team may contract out any or all of the work associated with ongoing maintenance of the program, based on approved budgeting by the board.
    5. HGM maintains ownership of the “Verified Source” trademark.
  4. Who can participate?
    1. HGM Members that Grow and/or Harvest and/or Process hops for use in a consumable beverage.
    2. HGM Membership must be maintained in good standing throughout the use of HGM Verified Source and it’s use on product packaging, advertisement, signage and literature. To benefit both the member and HGM, a separate agreement will be signed by the member who is awarded the right to use HGM Verified Source. (see addendum A)
  5. Are there different levels of being verified?
    1. No, there is one Verified Source. There is one mark that encompasses the three stages of hop production: Grow, Harvest, Process
    2. A grower who sell hops on the bine may be an HGM Verified Source, if they follow all checklist items that are applicable to growing, removal from the field and transportation to a harvest center. Growers may be self-audited.
    3. A harvest center is anyone preforming any one or all of these steps: removing cones from the bine, drying, bailing, bagging, packaging and storage of hop cones.
    4. A process center is anyone who pelletizes, packages and stores hops.
  6. What is required for hops to be labeled, advertised or sold as Verified Source hops?
    1. Every business involved in the production of the product must be a verified source. If the product is hops on the bine, then the grower must be a Verified Source. If the product is fresh/wet hop cones, then the grower and harvester must be Verified Source, and if the product is pellets then the grower and the harvester and the processer must be Verified Source.
    2. If the hops are not grown by a verified source grower then those hops can not become a verified source hop no matter who does the subsequent harvesting or processing.
    3. If hops are harvested by a business that is not verified source, those hops can not become a verified source hop no matter who does the processing.
  7. What is required to be Verified Source?
    1. Participate in Training about this program. The training information is available on the HGM website and can be completed without attending a group training session. This training does not go into any depth on specific aspects of how to grow, harvest or process hops.
    2. Complete the Hop Growers of America Module 1 Food Safety checklists that are applicable for your operation. These are available on the internet.
    3. Complete the items on HGM Verified Source checklist that are applicable to your operation.
    4. Conduct a self-verification of your operation using the audit checklists.
    5. If you only Grow, after meeting the required criteria and providing copies of your checklists to the Quality Team you will be a Verified Source. You may also provide notes or any evidence you would like to share for meeting the checklist criteria.
    6. If you Harvest and/or Process you must complete and pass an on-site audit by a third party. Items that prevent a passing grade during the audit must be corrected and evidence provided to the auditor. Once a passing grade is met you will be a Verified Source.
  8. Audit Process
    1. The audit will be conducted every two (2) years, or as significant changes are made to a business.
    2. Third party auditors will be identified by the Quality Team and approved by the HGM Board.
    3. Auditors will be chosen based on several factors and may include experience in: agriculture, food industry, quality control, auditing and inspection practices, management and working with people, mentoring, or coaching.
    4. This program and HGM do not guarantee the availability of an auditor to meet the schedule of the HGM member. It would be the goal of the Quality Team to schedule audits in an efficient way to minimize an auditor’s travel expenses and time on the road.
    5. Businesses with multiple sites will not require the auditor to go to every site. As the focus of this program is having procedures in place and following recommended practices, the business can get a pass for all sites if they state that all locations follow the same procedures.
    6. Businesses that believe they have proprietary equipment, materials or practices may exclude those items from an audit, as long as there is evidence that the checklist requirements are being met. No one from HGM nor the auditor is authorized to sign a proprietary non-disclosure agreement.
    7. While the auditor is on the premises of the HGM Member, it is that member’s responsibility to carry liability insurance appropriate for this type of visitor. It is not the responsibility of HGM nor the auditor to carry insurance for the purpose of conducting these audits.
  9. Pass – Not Pass
    1. One of the objectives of Hop Growers of Michigan and this program is to make us all better, and to continue to improve the reputation of Michigan hops. Therefore the goal is to identify those who meet this programs standards, not to point out those who choose to not participate nor those who participate, but do not meet the standards.
    2. The Quality Team will see and hold in confidence the final Audit Report from the Auditor, including the scoring.  The only public sharing will be of “Pass” that qualifies the enterprise as an HGM “Verified Source”.
    3. The Pass – Not Pass criteria has been established by the Quality Team and is shown on the checklists. It is at the discretion of the Quality Team to make revisions to both the checklist and the pass – not pass criteria based on experience and input from the audit process. All revisions must be communicated to all who are participating in the Verified Source program. Revisions will not result in a business losing their Verified Source status.
  10. Budgeting and Cost Management
    1. There will be an annual budget prepared and presented to the HGM Board for approval.
    2. The HGM Treasurer will be responsible to work with the Quality Team to properly book income and expenses for this program. All program funds will flow into and out of the HGM bank account.
    3. Sources to fund this program may include, but are not limited to:
      1. Membership dues
      2. Fees charged to members for the audit
      3. Grants from government agencies
      4. Grants from industry groups such as:
        1. Michigan Brewers Guilds
        2. Master Brewers Associations
        3. The Hop Quality Group
      5. Donations from members and industry supporters
    4. Expenditures in an approved budget can include, but are not limited to:
      1. Printing costs
      2. Training costs including contracted services, site rental fees, and travel
      3. Audit costs, including contracted service and travel
      4. Maintenance fees associated with the trademark
      5. Travel costs for members of the Quality Team
      6. Marketing related expenses to facilitate use of the Verified Source mark

Version: 6

Date: November 28, 2018   Supersedes: Version 5, Sept 12, 2018

File Name: HGM Verified Source Program rev6