Organic Certification

Requirements for USDA Organic Certification

This is a process that must be completed yearly. If you keep good records and create a reliable template/plan the first year, record keeping will be much easier in the future:

If you are a farmer looking to become USDA GAP Certified, follow the USDA Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices Audit Verification Checklist. To pass with a GAP Certification, make sure you will be able to pass all tests with at least an 80 percent. In addition, use the USDA GAP and GHP Audit User’s Guide.

If you are a farmer looking to assure safe food, without a USDA GAP Certification, use this Michigan’s Safe Food Risk Assessment - a voluntary and confidential food safety program for small, direct-market producers.

 Fraudulent Organic Certificates  

Falsely
representing products as certified USDA organic violates the law and
federal organic regulations.  Using fraudulent documents to market,
label, or sell non-organic agricultural products as organic is
punishable by fines of up to $11,000 for each violation.

 

Certifying
agents and organic operations should continue to guard against these
practices and practice caution when purchasing products from suppliers.
Anyone suspecting a violation of the regulations can report a complaint to the NOP Compliance and Enforcement Division.

 

Fraudulent
certificates may have been created and used without the knowledge of
the operator or the certifying agent named in a certificate.  The
posting of fraudulent certificates does not necessarily mean that the
named operator or certifying agent was involved in illegal activity. If
an operation named in a fraudulent certificate is certified, its
certifying agent identified in the list of certified operations can provide additional information and verifications to the organic trade.

 
Fraudulent Certificates Reported to NOP
Shree Mahalaxmi Psyllium Pvt Ltd (announced March 12, 2013)
  • Operation name and location: Shree Mahalaxmi Psyllium Pvt Ltd; State Highway, At. & Po. Khali, Siddhpur 384151, North Gujarat, India
  • Products listed as certified: All organic products
  • USDA accredited certifying agent and location: IMO Control (Note: IMO Control has confirmed that the certificate is fraudulent and is NOT responsible for its production.)
  • Certificate issue location and date: No location listed, 14-8-2011
Xi’an Pengtime Corporation (announced March 11, 2013)
  • Operation name and location: Xi’an Pengtime Corporation, 36# Gaoxin 6 Road, Xi’an Shaanxi, China
  • Products listed as certified: Organic products listed on attachments to the posted certificate
  • USDA accredited certifying agent and location: Ecocert -L’Isle-Jourdain – France (Note: Ecocert has confirmed that the certificate is fraudulent and is NOT responsible for its production.)
  • Certificate issue location and date: Beijing, June 6, 2012

Oregon Tilth Online Certification Tool: MYOTCO

Oregon Tilth, the leader in organic certification with a focus on customer service, introduces MyOTCO, an online certification tool allowing clients 24-7 online access to their certification information including Certificates, Organic System Plans, Inspection reports, easy at-a-glance tracking of renewal and application status and more.

"As Organic Certification becomes more challenging and more sophisticated we want to provide increased customer service, and more clients are asking about online access. This is the first step in working towards providing clients increased access to their information as well as expanding assistance in working through the certification process," stated Connie Karr, Certification Director for Oregon Tilth. "We will continue to develop this tool to improve the ability to do more online through MyOTCO."

Future plans for MyOTCO include two-way interaction and the ability to submit documents, requests and certification items online. The release of MyOTCO to all Oregon Tilth Certified clients shows the commitment that Oregon Tilth has to their customers. Through increased accessibility and transparency OTCO continues to support the organic community, constantly striving to make certification more accessible.

Visit their website for more information, and to sign up.

Resources

Local Certification

International Certification