Organic Certifiers Recognized for Quality Data and Collaboration
On Tuesday, January 24, the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) recognized the work of accredited organic certifiers with awards for extraordinary support of the National Organic Standards. The awards were presented at the annual NOP Certifier Training for USDA-accredited organic certifiers and organic inspectors from around the world. Ten certifiers were recognized for exceeding requirements for delivering high quality data to the Organic INTEGRITY Database in 2022. Three certifiers were also recognized with a Director’s Award for outstanding contributions to work in organic certification.
“Comprehensive, quality data is key to protecting consumer confidence and maintaining a level playing field for organic farmers, ranchers and businesses,” said NOP Deputy Administrator Jennifer Tucker. “Timely data provide critical insight into an organic operation’s activities. This, combined with increased reporting requirements coming through the Strengthening Organic Enforcement final rule and USDA organic seal trademark, continue to raise the cost of fraud in the organic marketplace.”
Up-to-date public information about organic operations helps buyers and sellers find each other in the marketplace, making data an important market development tool. The USDA Organic Integrity Database makes it easy for anyone to look up the status of a certified organic operation and see the products that each farm and business has to offer. Quality data is also integral to surveillance across supply chains.
from left to right: NOP Deputy Administrator Jennifer Tucker, PAO Organic Scheme Manager Emily Garcia, PAO Organic Technical Manager Josie Quevedo and NOP Accreditation Division Director Robert Yang.
NOP develops and enforces voluntary standards for organically produced agricultural products sold in the United States. Congress established NOP as a regulatory program that operates as a public-private partnership with 75 third party accredited certifiers playing a key role in hands-on oversight of every USDA certified organic farm and business worldwide.
These third-party organizations inspect and certify organic farms and businesses to the USDA organic regulations through annual reviews, ongoing surveillance, and targeted testing and enforcement actions. USDA also invests significant resources to develop certifier and inspector capabilities and oversee their work year-round, including with advanced training available through the Organic Integrity Learning Center.
The Organic INTEGRITY Database makes information on current and former certified organic operations publicly available online from anywhere in the world. It allows users to quickly confirm the organic certification status and other details of a farm or business and helps certifiers support the organic community in market development and fraud prevention.