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National Organic Program

Basics and background on the USDA National Organic Program (NOP)

USDA Organic SealThe USDA National Organic Program is a marketing program with established regulations and monitoring guidelines:

  • The NOP is a marketing program housed within the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.
  • The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) was passed by congress in 1990.
  • The OFPA required the USDA to develop national standards for organically produced agricultural products to assure consumers that agricultural products marketed as organic meet consistent, uniform standards.
  • The OFPA and the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations require that agricultural products labeled as organic originate from farms or handling operations certified by a state or private entity that has been accredited by USDA.
  • Neither the OFPA nor the NOP regulations address food safety or nutrition.
  • More at: www.ams.usda.gov/nop/Consumers/Consumerhome.html

Get Certified: Contact a Certifying Agent
The first step to becoming certified is to contact a USDA Accredited Certifying Agent.
Farmers and handlers wishing to become certified will be asked to submit specific information to the agent, such as:

  • Type of operation.
  • History of substances applied to land for the previous 3 years.
  • Organic products being grown, raised, or processed.
  • Applicant's organic plan, including practices and substances used in production, monitoring practices and record-keeping system. 

Back to "Organics"

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National Organic Program

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Reader Comments
Great information
Amy, Sophia, NC
Posted: 12/16/2010 8:58:26 AM
Growing and eating organic is a great idea. I am always curious to know if some medical concerns we currently face will decrease in severity if more people went to a more organic diet.
Brian, Roseburg, OR
Posted: 4/19/2010 7:05:56 PM
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