Organic Certification: A Critical Link in the Supply Chain

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OC - Critical Link

Organic Certification: A Critical Link in the Supply Chain

As the demand for organic food and products in the United States has grown dramatically over the last 10 years, so has the complexity of organic supply chains. The supply chain, domestically and internationally, now involves a series of complex transactions with businesses that grow, handle, package, manufacture and transport organic goods. USDA accredited certifiers ensure that the integrity of the supply chain is unbroken from farm to table for American families. 

Ensuring Public Trust in the Organic Seal

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service National Organic Program (NOP) provides training and support for more than 2,000 certifier staff worldwide so they have the necessary tools to ensure the integrity of the system through consistent enforcement of the law.

Today, the agency published an interim instruction, NOP 4013: Maintaining the Integrity of Organic Imports, that provides a range of available information in one convenient place. The interim instruction details the requirements for certifiers who oversee organic products imported into the United States. The instruction:

  • Clarifies responsibilities for certifiers in the U.S. and around the world
  • Recommends best practices for reviewing and issuing import related documents
  • Highlights handling instructions needed to maintain the integrity of the organic status for imported organic products
  • Details required documentation and recordkeeping

Public Comments Welcomed

While Interim Instruction NOP 4013 is designed to assist USDA accredited certifiers, public comment is also invited.

The 60-day public comment period runs from October 25, 2017 until December 26, 2017.



National List Sunset Dates, Periodic Update

NOP 5611, National List Sunset Dates, documents the dates that each item on the list is subject to a mandatory five year review to remain on the National Organic Program's National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List).

The National List identifies the synthetic substances that may be used and the nonsynthetic (natural) substances that may not be used in certified organic crop and livestock production. The list also identifies a limited number of non-organic substances that may be used in or on processed organic products, and is based on industry and stakeholder input. These non-organic substances are currently deemed necessary for organic production or distribution because there are no economically viable organic alternatives available at this time.

To learn more about the National List and the process for adding or removing substances, visit: