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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: What is organic certification?

item Webber, Charles - Chuck
item Taylor, Merritt
item Shrefler, James

Submitted to: American Association for the Advancement of Science Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/2009
Publication Date: 3/28/2009
Citation: Webber III, C.L., Taylor, M.J., Shrefler, J.W. 2009. What is organic certification [abstract]? In: Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science-Southwestern and Rocky Mountain Division, March 28-31, 2009, Tulsa, Oklahoma. p. 88.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Certified organic crop production is a holistic approach to sustainable and healthy food production to enhance the well being of the consumer, while protecting natural resources. Organic certification was implemented by the National Organic Program (NOP) in 2002 in recognition of the necessity for consistent standards across the U.S. for the benefit of producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. Certification agencies may be private businesses or state government entities, and their geographic areas may overlap. To meet appropriate criteria, land must be treated organically for 3 years prior to harvesting a certified organic crop. Information required in the application packet will include a field history and map, details about the bordering land, plans for controlling pests, maintaining soil quality, production plans and inputs, crop harvest and storage. Once certified, the producer is subject to annual reports and on-site inspections. Organic certification now sanctions the marketing of "Organic" products produced under consistent guidelines and standards across the U.S. A prospective organic producer selects a certification agency that serves their area. The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is a nonprofit organization that provides organic certifiers, growers, manufacturers, and suppliers an independent review of products intended for use in certified organic production, handling, and processing. Producers and handling (processing) operations that sell less than $5,000 a year in organic agricultural products do not need to be certified. Although exempt from certification, these producers and handlers must abide by the national standards for organic products and may label their products as organic.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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