SOE Series #6: Safeguarding Organic Supply Chains

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service national organic program organic insider

Safeguarding Organic Supply Chains

This is the final update in our six-part series highlighting changes outlined in the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) proposed rule and explaining how they apply to members of the organic community, from farm to table.

SOE offers a comprehensive response to many challenges facing today's organic markets. Implementing the proposed rule will significantly expand the organic community, have far-reaching impact and create the most changes to the organic regulations since they were established.

SOE Affected

Part Six: Closing the Gaps

In addition to the many changes discussed earlier in this series, SOE proposes several other amendments that will fortify supply chain oversight and provide a level playing field for organic farms and businesses.

  • Multiple offices operated by a single certifier. Certifiers must notify NOP within 90 days of opening a new certification office. This allows NOP to more effectively oversee certifier activities conducted from each distinct certification office.
  • Standardized certificates of organic operation. The rule proposes that certifiers issue standardized operation certificates from the Organic Integrity Database (OID). Standardization through OID will simplify verification of valid organic certificates, provide public information in a consistent way on all USDA-certified organic businesses and protect against falsified certificates.
  • Organic equivalence determinations. SOE codifies existing NOP practices for assessing, accepting and continuing organic equivalency determinations (“trade arrangements”) with foreign governments. Equivalence determinations assure interested parties that imported organic products comply with USDA organic standards. Codifying the practices minimizes potential challenges USDA may face when establishing and enforcing equivalence determinations.
  • Mediation and appeals procedures. SOE clarifies mediation and appeals procedures to provide organic farms, businesses, and certifiers with more flexible options for alternative dispute resolution.

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

Share how the proposed changes will impact you and see what others are saying
at, linked from the AMS web page for SOE.

Deadline for public comment

October 5, 2020 at 11:59pm Eastern

AMS Web Page for SOE

Includes links to the Federal Register announcement and other resources.

USDA Rulemaking Process: Comment Review

SOE - Be Heard

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