USDA National Organic Program
#USDA National Organic Program (NOP)
The 1990 Organic Foods Production Act created the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) and a single set of rules that would govern the production, labeling and marketing of organic products in the U.S.
USDA’s role in organic certification
The USDA NOP, part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), has regulatory oversight responsibilities for organic standards and the accreditation of organic certifying agents. The NOP also has authority to take appropriate legal action to enforce the organic standards and thus protect the integrity of the USDA organic standards, from farm to market, around the world.
Third party certification agencies role in organic certification
The work of determining whether or not an operation is compliant with USDA NOP Standards is carried out by third party accredited certification agencies (ACAs) such as OTCO. If an ACA determines that the operation is compliant, it may issue organic certification to the applicable scope (e.g., crop, livestock, processing, etc.).