Understanding Organic Equivalency Arrangements
An Introduction to the National Organic Program Established by Congress and announced in 2000, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (“USDA”) National Organic Program (“NOP”) is a federal regulatory program which develops and enforces uniform national standards for organically-produced agricultural products sold in the United States. NOP operates as a public-private partnership which accredits third-party organizations to certify that farms and businesses meet the national organic standards. By enforcing its standards, NOP ensures a level playing field for producers while protecting consumer confidence in the integrity of the USDA organic seal.
The NOP’s Compliance & Enforcement Division (“C&E”) is involved in enforcement organic standards. C&E enforces rules by working with independent certifying agencies. Independent certifying agencies accredited by the USDA conduct periodic inspections or audits.