Organic Certification

An increasing number of farms and food businesses are pursuing organic certification for access to the organic market.  “Each production or handling operation or specified portion of a production or handling operation must be certified if it produces or handles crops, livestock, livestock products, or other agricultural products intended to be sold, labeled, or represented as “one hundred percent organic,” “organic,” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)).” (7 CFR 205.101, National Organic Program). The State of Washington has adopted the National Organic Program (NOP) as its organic food law. Operations that sell only directly to the consumer and have gross annual sales less than $5000 are exempt from certification but still must follow all the rules for certification (including recordkeeping) if they represent their product as “organic.”

Many resources are available to help understand the certification process (see below). Any USDA accredited certifier can be used in any state. In Washington, the WSDA Organic Food Program certifies over 90% of the organic acres. Both WSDA and OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) maintain Brand Name Material Lists to help growers and processors choose inputs that are in compliance with the NOP.

Featured Organic Certification Publications

Additional Organic Certification Publications

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