The Organic Trade Association applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) for making available information from its auditing process for accredited certification agencies. NOP’s Aug. 5 posting of the renewal status of accredited certification agencies is an important first step in providing transparency to consumers on the process to review and audit the organic certifiers in the quest to maintain the integrity of organic operations.
Certifier (66 KB .pdf file) approval, inspection and enforcement have always been founding principles of national organic standards, and they are critical to maintaining trust between the consumer and the industry.
Because the National Organic Standards were fully implemented in October 2002 and this is a new industry, this is the first time such a report has been issued.
As designated in the NOP report, certification is still valid not only for operations certified by agencies that have successfully completed the process but also for operations certified by agencies listed as “renewal on-going” or “renewal pending subsequent audit.” USDA plans to conduct follow-up audits to complete the accreditation process on these agencies within the next 12 months.
See the posting listing the current status of the 55 domestic and 40 foreign accredited certifying agents here (92 KB .pdf file).
The Organic Trade Association continues to support the work of NOP and to advocate for proper funding for NOP so that it has the resources it needs to enforce the organic regulations that cover all organic food and beverage products sold in the United States. OTA believes the completion of the audit process is a hallmark of the organic system’s integrity and commitment to continuous improvement.