Aug. 7, 2009
Organic Trade Association applauds plans for audit and review of NOP
Outside review stands to bolster integrity of program and trust in the organic label
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is pleased that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Organic Program (NOP) has applied to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for a review of its accreditation process and program.
Under the review planned for fiscal year 2010 which begins Oct. 1, NIST’s National Voluntary Conformity Assessment Systems Evaluation program will evaluate NOP’s accreditation program to assess its ongoing conformity with international standards for managing accreditation programs. NOP is seeking NIST recognition, which is granted to qualified U.S. organizations that effectively demonstrate conformance with established criteria.
Receiving such recognition would support NOP’s credentials as an accrediting body and satisfy regulatory requirements for NOP to obtain peer review.
“Such recognition of the National Organic Program as a consistent program with integrity will help build consumer trust, which is critical for a stable market for organic products,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s Executive Director.
This is part of overall efforts by USDA to increase support for the National Organic Program.
In OTA’s recent consumer survey conducted in collaboration with KIWI Magazine, knowledge about and trust in requirements for the organic label were essential for consumers to consistently buy organic products. In fact, organic influencers—those who were extremely well informed about organic practices and likely to influence the thoughts and actions of their friends and family—had a high level of knowledge and a strong trust in organic labeling, resulting in a strong commitment to regularly purchasing organic products.