OTCO Procedures Manual Revisions
The Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) program revised certification procedures became effective September 15, 2008.
The OTCO Program recently revised the OTCO Procedures Manual, which describes the certification process, confidentiality provisions, enforcement, adverse action, and due process. The new manual is available for download. Hard copies are also available upon request. Following is a summary of important changes reflected in the new manual.
• Used generalized language throughout to describe the same certification process used for compliance assessment to various organic standards, including USDA National Organic Program, European Commission 2092/91, Canadian Organic Regime, and Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS). This approach allowed for retirement of the OTCO EU Program Procedures Manual.
• Removed references to two volunteer committees (Certification Committee and Application Review Committee) to reflect decision to dissolve these committees.
• Created section called “Scope of Certification Services” (Part I.B.4) that describes global scope of services; uses improved language to describe types of operations; summarizes categories of certification; and discusses certification services to various standards using same process.
• Changed certification process to acquire “Certification Contract and Trademark Use Agreement” upon submission of application (instead of at conclusion of process).
• Changed decision-making process to vest decision exclusively with OTCO staff, with a Reviewer making decision that is subsequently ratified by a Review Specialist.
• Simplified language describing enforcement, adverse action and due process.
The new OTCO Procedures Manual became effective September 15, 2008. All certified operators and applicants must reference this document for information on current OTCO policies and practices in offering organic certification services. If you have any questions, please contact the Oregon Tilth office.