UPDATE: Organic Oversight in India

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service national organic program organic insider

NOP Changing Approach to
Organic Oversight in India

As organic supply chains continue to evolve over time, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) continues to monitor different markets and global organic systems to protect farms and businesses around the world that are following the rules.

Based on these ongoing evaluations, we are changing our approach to organic oversight in India. Currently, USDA does not have direct visibility or enforcement authority over many organic certifiers and operations in India that sell into the U.S. market. USDA has determined that we need a more active oversight presence in India to more directly protect organic integrity.

As such, AMS has informed India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) that we are ending the U.S-India organic recognition, which was established in 2006. This decision starts a transition period which will allow organic operations certified by APEDA-accredited certifiers to apply for direct certification by USDA-accredited certifiers to the USDA organic standards.

Here’s how the transition will work:

  • By July 12, 2021, to continue to export to the United States, current organic operations in India will need to have applied for certification with a USDA-accredited organic certifier.
  • By mid-March 2021, USDA certifiers will be able to list these organic operation applicants in India in the Organic Integrity Database, to help U.S. buyers verify that a farm or business in India has applied for NOP certification.
  • After July 12, 2022, USDA organic certification by a USDA-accredited certifier will be required to import organic products from India to the United States.
  • APEDA-accredited certifiers may apply to NOP for direct accreditation to the USDA organic program at any time.
  • Organic certifiers and operations in India are responsible for ensuring compliance to any additional Government of India export requirements, including TraceNet reporting and documentation.

This transition will help mitigate the market impact of this change. During this period, AMS will work closely with certifiers to communicate the transition process and assess progress, will heighten its market surveillance, and will closely communicate with APEDA about enforcement needs. 

If you are an organic business buying from an organic supplier certified by an APEDA-accredited certifier, communicate with those suppliers about the need to apply for NOP certification to a USDA-accredited certifier by July 12, 2021, to continue their business with you. After July 12, to continue accepting products from those suppliers, you will need to use the Organic Integrity Database to verify that any organic supplier is already certified or has applied for organic certification with a USDA-accredited certifier.

Further updates will be posted to the NOP web page for India.