Quality Assessment Division Questions and Answers – USDA Audit-Based Verification Services

Q1: Who conducts audits for USDA, AMS, Livestock and Poultry Program?

A: The Quality Assessment Division’s (QAD) Audit Services Branch conducts the audits.

Q2: How are the audits conducted?

A: Clients should reference QAD 1000 Procedure, Quality Systems Verification Programs General Policies and Procedures (pdf).  It explains how the QAD provides services and conducts audits and the responsibilities of companies.

Q3: How do I request an audit?

A: Contact the QAD at QAD.AuditService@ams.usda.gov.  It will be necessary to provide the documents mentioned in Q4 when requesting an audit.

Q4: What do I need to submit when applying for audit services?

A: There are 3 documents needed to apply for audit services.  The 3 documents include:

1.       A Letter of Request. The Letter of Request may be sent to the QAD in the form of hard copy letter or email.   It should include the name and address of the company, the USDA Program that service is being requested, an overview of the company and how it intends to use the USDA program, and name and contact information for the company representative.

2.       Form LP-109, Application for Service. The LP-109 may be sent to the QAD by email to initiate the audit review process.  However, the QAD must receive a signed original copy of the LP-109 prior to conducting the onsite audit.  If the QAD has a LP-109 on file for your company, it may not be necessary to submit a LP-109.

3.       Quality Manual. The quality manual must include documented procedures, work instructions, and forms, etc. that address the specific Program requirements.  It is not necessary to submit records with the application; however, they must be available for review during the audit.

Q5: How do I submit my application?

By e-mail: QAD.AuditService@ams.usda.gov

By mail:

1400 Independence Ave., SW
Stop 0258
Washington, DC 20250

NOTE: An overnight mail service should be used to expedite the process.

Q6: How often will I be audited?

A: It depends on which Program(s) you’re approved for, since clients are audited in accordance with the specific Program requirements.

  • Approved USDA PVPs are audited at least once per year.  These audits are announced and may be conducted more frequently in accordance with the QAD 1000 Procedure (pdf).
  • Approved USDA QSA Programs are audited at least 2 times per year.  These audits are announced and may be conducted more frequently in accordance with the QAD 1000 Procedure (pdf).
  • There is an exception; approved NHTC Programs administered under a QSA Program that do not approve cattle from outside sources are audited at least once per year.

Q7: How much do audit services cost?

A: Clients are charged an hourly fee of $108 for time incurred conducting the document review, travel time, on-site audit, and report preparation.  Clients are also charged for travel and per diem costs associated with the audit.  NOTE: The QAD makes every effort to keep costs to a minimum.

Q8: Who pays for audit services?

A: The audit programs are user-fee funded.  This means that the audits are paid for by the company that requests the audit services.

Programs & Offices: