Accreditation and Enforcement
Overview of ISO 65 Guide and NOP accreditation, as well as enforcement disclaimer
Accreditation and Compliance
ISO Guide 65
Since November 1999, OTCO has been evaluated and certified annually by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service for compliance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Guide 65: General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems. This certification process involves a rigorous examination of OTCO's quality systems, including certification procedures, inspection of office files and procedures, and interviews with certified farmers and processors. ISO-65 certification allows easier entry of OTCO certified products into international markets and establishes a strong basis for reciprocity with other certification agents.
National Organic Program
Additionally, OTCO was among the first to become accredited as an organic certifier by the USDA National Organic Program. This accreditation recognizes the OTCO Program as compliant with the standards and procedures set forth in the National Organic Program's Final Rule.
OTCO investigates all written reports of violation of its standards.The OTCO program enjoys a positive reputation because it has created and mantained high standards that safeguard both the food production and food delivery systems. However, no rules or laws can strengthen the program more than the commitmment of the operators of the OTCO certified businesses to follow the production standards with care and honesty.