Market Access Certification and Inspection

Certification by a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) accredited certifying agent is required for 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
  • Made with organic

All applicable requirements of the National Organic Program (NOP) standards must be met. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is a USDA accredited certifying agent for crop production and handling.

Steps to certification

  1. Read the most recent version of the NOP standards.
  2. Submit completed application forms and applicable fees to ODA by April 1.
  3. ODA will review your application to determine compliance to the NOP standards.
  4. ODA will schedule an on-site inspection of your operation. The inspector will give you an estimate of your total certification cost.
  5. ODA will conduct a final review of your application and inspection materials to complete the certification process.

ODA does not exclude from its certification programs any person, due to discrimination because of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status.

Common questions

Crop producers

  • No prohibited substances may be applied to land for three years immediately prior to the harvest of an organic crop.
  • Organic seed and planting stock must be used if commercially available.

Processors and handlers

  • Organic forms of an ingredient must be used if commercially available.
  • Nonagricultural substances and conventionally produced agricultural products must be listed on the Code of Federal Regulations national list of allowed and prohibited substances.

Processing aids and post-harvest materials

  • Processing aids are substances used during processing that are either removed or are present in the finished product in insignificant levels (e.g. fruit waxes and defoamers).
  • Post-harvest materials are substances used on crops that are not processed (e.g. sanitizers and floating agents).

Exemptions

  • Operations that sell less than $5,000 worth of organic products annually
  • Retail food establishments
  • Processors that produce products with less than 70% organic ingredients
  • Processors that produce products that limit their organic claims to the information panel, or ingredient statement, of the label

Exclusions

  • Handlers that only handle packaged organic products (e.g. brokers, cold storage warehouses, grocery distributors)

Application requirements

All applicants

  • Submit an application form for organic certification. This form needs to be submitted annually with an organic system plan (OSP) and updates.

Crop producers

  • Submit a producer OSP and questionnaire.
  • Submit a producer site registration packet for each noncontiguous organic production area under your management.
  • For updates, submit a crop OSP update form.

Processors and handlers

  • Submit a processor and handler OSP.
  • Submit a processed products packet for each formulation that you produce organically.
  • For updates, submit a processing and handling OSP update form.

Applicants may withdraw their application at any time, via written notification to ODA.

Fees

All fees are nonrefundable, including the cost of services performed before and up to the date an application is withdrawn:

  • $250 first time applicant application fee.
  • $100 renewing applicant application fee.
  • $92 per hour for certification services, including review, inspection, and travel time.
  • 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.
  • $50 late or expedited application fee.

Inspections

Certified organic operations are inspected at least once a year. ODA may conduct additional inspections

  • To resolve an issue
  • If a customer requests it
  • As part of our surveillance program

These additional inspections are charged at the above hourly rates.

Required notifications

Operations are required to notify their certifying agent if a situation may affect their compliance with the NOP standards. Examples of situations that would require you to notify ODA include the following:

  • A prohibited substance is applied to any field, production unit, product, or site involved in organic production, whether directly or indirectly, intentionally, or unintentionally.
  • You add acreage, a new field, a new product line, or a new production facility to your organic production.
  • You remove a field or production facility, or a portion thereof, from organic production.
  • You develop a new retail label for your organic products.
  • You process or handle new organic products, not already listed in your OSP.

This list is not exhaustive. If the change to your operation could potentially affect your compliance with the NOP standards, please contact ODA to discuss these changes.

Resources

Electronic code of federal regulations

Code of federal regulations national list of allowed and prohibited substances. Website

NOP Organic Insider

Stay up to date with the National Organic Program. All you need is an email address. Sign up today! Website

Organic Certification Application Form

Needs to be submitted annually with OSP and updates. Document

Organic Crop Production System Plan Update

For crop producers. Document

Organic Handling Processing System Plan

For processors and handlers. Document

Organic Processed Products packet of forms

For processors and handlers. Document

Organic Processing and Handling System Plan Update

For processors and handlers. Document

Organic Site Registration forms

For crop producers. Document

Organic System Plan and Questionnaire

For crop producers. Document

USDA National Organic Program Fact Sheets

Website

USDA National Organic Program Policy Memorandum

Organic product package labeling Document

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