Operations, or portions of operations, that produce or handle agricultural products that are intended to be sold, labeled or represented in the US as "100 organic," "organic," or "made with organic" must be certified by a USDA accredited certifying agent and must meet all applicable requirements of the National Organic Program Standards.
Below is information relating to the most commonly asked questions that the ODA Organic Certification Program receives.
Processors and Handlers
- Land must have had no prohibited substances applied to it for 3 years immediately prior to the harvest of an organic crop.
- If commercially available, organic seed and planting stock must be used.
Processing Aids and Post-Harvest Materials
- If commercially available, organic forms of an ingredient must be used.
- Nonagricultural substances and nonorganically produced agricultural products must be listed on the National List. A link to the National List can be found at the top of this page under Additional Resources.
Exemptions and Exclusions
- Processing aids are substances used during processing that are either removed in some way or in the finished product in insignificant levels. Examples include fruit waxes and defoamers.
- Post-Harvest materials are substances used on crops that are not processed. Examples include sanitizers and floating agents.
- Operations that sell less than $5,000 worth of organic products annually.
- Retail food establishments.
- Processors that produce products with less than 70 percent organic ingredients.
- Processors that produce products that limit their organic claims to the information panel, or ingredient statement, of the label.
- Handlers that only handle packaged organic products. Examples include brokers, cold storage warehouses, grocery distributors, etc.
|For the complete and most recent version of the National Organic Program Standards, please use the link located at the top of this page under Additional Resources.
New Applicant Steps to Certification
The application deadline for all scopes of organic certification is April 1st.
- Read the most recent version of the National Organic Program Standards. A link can be found under Additional Resources at the top of this page. For a hard copy, please contact our office at (503) 986-4620.
- Locate the forms that are applicable to your operation in the Application Forms section below. Submit completed application forms and applicable fees to the ODA. For assistance with your application forms, please contact us at email@example.com or (503) 986-4620.
- Upon receipt of your application and fees, the ODA will review your application to determine compliance to the National Organic Program Standards. You may be contacted by ODA for additional information at this point.
- Following acceptance of your application, you will be contacted by an ODA inspector to schedule a convenient time for an on-site inspection of your operation. The inspector will give you an estimate of your total certification cost.
- After the inspection, the ODA will conduct a final review of your application and inspection materials. Again, you may be contacted by the ODA at this time for additional information. If you are operating in compliance with the National Organic Program Standards, you will be issued an Organic Certificate. If any areas of noncompliance were identified, these must be resolved before you receive certification.
- Once you have received an Organic Certificate, you must submit an annual renewal application and update of your organic system plan. Renewal applications can be found in the Application Forms section below.
All of the forms below, with the exception of the Organic Certification Application Form, can be filled out and submitted electronically by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org
. The Organic Certification Application Form can also be filled out electronically, but must be submitted with your fees in the mail. New Crop Producers
Renewing Crop Producers
Additional Crop Producer Forms
A site registration is required for each noncontiguous organic production area under your management.
New Processors and Handlers
Renewing Processors and Handlers
Additional Processor and Handler Forms
An organic processed products packet is required for each formulation that you produce organically.
Applicants may withdraw their application at any time, pursuant to Section 205.402(c) of the National Organic Standards. This can be accomplished by written notification to ODA.
All fees stated below are nonrefundable, including the cost of services performed before and up to the date an application is withdrawn, pursuant to Section 205.402(c) of the National Organic Program Standards.Fees
- $250 First time applicant application fee.
- $100 Renewing applicant application fee.
- $92 per hour for certification services, including review, inspection and travel time, etc.
- Any travel costs required for your inspection, billed at rates established by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services. These include mileage, lodging and per diem.
Certified organic operations are inspected at least once a year. In addition, the ODA may conduct additional inspections to resolve an issue, if a customer requests it, or as part of our surveillance program. These additional inspections are charged at the above hourly rates.
|NOP Organic Insider
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The USDA National Organic Program has issued additional guidance on identifying the certifying agent on labels. The certifying agent should be identified directly below the information identifying the handler or distributor of the product, without intervening language and preceded by the statement, "Certified Organic by". Operations have until January 1, 2016 to correct existing labels.
NOP Fact Sheets
The National Organic Program has released several fact sheets with helpful information for producers, handlers, processors and the general public. Check them out today!