National Organic Program

Marcie Rosenzweig fullcircle at jps.net
Tue Dec 18 07:51:45 EST 2001


Hi All,

The website for the National Organic Program is http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/

From their FAQ

Q:  Can non-certified companies use the word "organic?"

A:  Producers and handlers that qualify for exemption or exclusion 
from certification may use the term "organic" in compliance with the 
labeling requirements specific to their exemption or exclusion (see 
section 205.101 of
NOP regulations).

Q:  I am a small farmer. Will I have to be certified?

A:  It depends. If your gross agricultural income from organic sales 
total $5,000 or less annually, you are exempt from certification (see 
section 205.101(a)(1) of the NOP regulations). Exempt operations must 
comply with the applicable requirements of subpart C and the labeling 
requirements at section 205.310 of the NOP regulations.

Q:  I am a small processor. Do I have to be certified?

A:  It depends. If your gross agricultural income from organic sales 
total $5,000 or less annually, you are exempt from certification (see 
section 205.101(a)(1) of the NOP regulations). Exempt operations must 
comply with the applicable requirements of subpart C and the labeling 
requirements at section 205.310 of the NOP regulations.
For other possible handler exemptions see section 205.101 of the NOP 
regulations.

10/12/01 Q: Please explain who may use the term organic and how the 
term is to be used.

A: Any production or handling operation certified according to the 
provisions of subpart E, Certification, may use the term "organic" 
(§205.100). Production or handling operations that are exempted or 
excluded under §205.101 may use the term "organic" according to the 
regulations specified in §205.310, Labeling; provided, they compy
with the production and handling requirements of subpart C of the 
national standards.

10/12/01 Q: What are the penalties for misuse of the term "organic"?

A: Any operation that knowingly sells or labels a product as 
"organic", except in accordance with the Act (OFPA)and the national 
standards, may be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 
per violation and the provisions of 18 U.S.C 1001.

10/12/01 Q: Who will be responsible for the enforcement of the 
National Organic Program and how will a typical prosecution proceed?

A: USDA, accredited certifying agents, and where applicable, approved 
State Organic Programs will be responsible for enforcement of the 
national regulations. Compliance procedures for certified organic 
operations, accredited certifying agents, and State Organic Programs 
are specified in sections 205.660 through 205.668 of the national
standards.

Q:  Do NOP regulations require the use of organic seed?

A:  NOP regulations require the use of organic seed when commercially 
available. For your options when organic seed is not commercially 
available see section 205.204 of the NOP regulations or consult your 
certifying agent.

§ 205.204 Seeds and planting stock practice standard.

(a) The producer must use organically grown seeds, annual seedlings, 
and planting stock: Except, That,

(1) Nonorganically produced, untreated seeds and planting stock may 
be used to produce an organic crop when an equivalent organically 
produced variety is not commercially available, Except, That, 
organically produced seed must be used for the production of edible 
sprouts;

(2) Nonorganically produced seeds and planting stock that have been 
treated with a substance included on the National List of synthetic 
substances allowed for use in organic crop production may be used to 
produce an organic crop when an equivalent organically produced or 
untreated variety is not commercially available;

(3) Nonorganically produced annual seedlings may be used to produce 
an organic crop when a temporary variance has been granted in 
accordance with § 205.290(a)(2);

(4) Nonorganically produced planting stock to be used to produce a 
perennial crop may be sold, labeled, or represented as organically 
produced only after the planting stock has been maintained under a 
system of organic management for a period of no less than 1 year; and

(5) Seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock treated with 
prohibited substances may be used to produce an organic crop when the 
application of the materials is a requirement of Federal or State 
phytosanitary regulations.


Q:  Can I make label claims in addition to "organic" on my product?

A:  NOP regulations do not prohibit a producer or handler from making 
additional claims regarding their product as long as they are 
truthful and not misleading to the consumer. Such label claims may 
have to be approved by Federal agencies such as FDA, FSIS, or BATF.

§ 205.300 Use of the term, "organic."

(a) The term, "organic," may only be used on labels and in labeling 
of raw or processed agricultural products, including ingredients, 
that have been produced and handled in accordance with the 
regulations in this part. The term, "organic," may not be used in a 
product name to modify a nonorganic ingredient in the product.

Hoping this helps,

Marcie
Marcie A. Rosenzweig
Full Circle
3377 Early Times Ln
Auburn, CA  95603-7900
(530) 885-9201




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