Organic Standards for All Organic Operations: Highlights of the USDA's National Organic Program Regulations


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Organic Standards for All Organic Operations: Highlights of the USDA's National Organic Program Regulations

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Organic Standards for All Organic Operations: Highlights of the USDA's National Organic Program Regulations

  1. 1. Organic Standards for All Organic OperationsATTRA Highlights of the USDA’s National Organic Program Regulations A Publication of ATTRA—National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service • 1-800-346-9140 • www.attra.ncat.orgBy Ann H. Baier This collection of excerpts from the USDA’s National Organic Program provides the reader with keyNCAT Agriculture standards relevant to all certified organic operations. This publication should be used as needed withSpecialist excerpts for crop production, livestock production or handling.© 2008 NCAT Highlights of the USDA’s National Organic Program Regulations include key standards for: 1) All certified organic operations 2) Crop production 3) Livestock productionContents 4) Handling (including processing) Use this publication for all certified organic operations, in combination with one or more of publicationsIntroduction ..................... 1 two, three or four as relevant to organic crop production, livestock production or handling.Excerpts ............................. 2 Recordkeeping and organizing systems .......................... 2 Introduction found under the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 205. CFR stands for Code T The National List of Allowed and his publication provides easy refer- of Federal Regulations. Prohibited ence to the standards relevant to all Substances .................. 3 organic operations. These excerpts Part 205 of the regulations, found under Labels, labeling from the USDA’s National Organic Program Title 7: Agriculture, is the National Organic and market Final Rule contain the general requirements Program. information .................. 4 Selected defined for an organic system plan, recordkeeping, The Organic Foods Production Act was terms ............................... 5 product labeling and preventing commin- enacted under the 1990 Farm Bill. The Act, gling and contamination. as it is referred to in the text, authorized This is not a complete collection of organic creation of the USDA National Organic standards. It must be used in conjunction Program to set national standards for the with standards for crops production, live- production, handling and processing of stock production or handling of agricultural organically grown agricultural products. products, as applicable. The National Organic Program over- sees mandatory certification of organic This set of excerpts is not a substitute for production. Producers who meet National reading the entire set of standards, which Organic Program standards may label their can be found online at products as “USDA Certified Organic.” NOP. This set of excerpts should also not The subparts reference organizational be used for verifying points of compliance levels in each excerpt. for organic production and handling activi-ATTRA—National SustainableAgriculture Information Service ties with an accredited organic certifier. For The following sections of the National( is managedby the National Center for Appro- a list of these, go to the List of Accredited Organic Program are excerpted:priate Technology (NCAT) and is Certifying Agents on the National Organic • Recordkeeping and organic system planfunded under a grant from theUnited States Department of Program Web site, o § 205.103 Recordkeeping byAgriculture’s Rural Business- certified operationsCooperative Service. Visit theNCAT Web site ( Using this guide: o § 205.201 Organic production andsarc_current.php) for This is a collection of verbatim excerpts handling system planmore information onour sustainable agri- from key parts of the National Organic • The National List of Allowed andculture projects. Program’s Final Rule. Organic regulations are Prohibited Substances
  2. 2. o § 205.600 Evaluation criteria for applicable state program’s govern- allowed and prohibited sub- ing official and the certifying agent stances, methods and ingredients during normal business hours. • Labels, labeling and market information 2) § 205.201 Organic production o § 205.300 Use of the term and handling system plan “organic” o § 205.301 Product composition a) A producer or handler of a produc- • § 205.2 Selected defined terms tion or handling operation, except as exempt or excluded under § 205.101, For complete information about labeling intending to sell, label or represent requirements, see sections 205.302-3.11 agricultural products as “100 per- included in ATTRA’s Organic Handling cent organic,” “organic” or “made Standards Highlights. with organic (specified ingredients or food groups)” must develop an Excerpts organic production or handling system plan that is agreed to by the Recordkeeping and organizing producer or handler and an accred- systems ited certifying agent. An organic 1) § 205.103 Recordkeeping by system plan must meet the require- certified operations ments set forth in this section for organic production or handling.” a) A certified operation must main- tain records concerning the pro- i) An organic production or han- duction, harvesting and handling dling system plan must include: of agricultural products that are 1) A description of practices or that are intended to be sold, and procedures to be per- labeled or represented as “100 formed and maintained, and percent organic,” “organic” or the frequency with which they “made with organic (specified will be performed; ingredients or food groups).” 2) A list of each substance to i) Such records must: be used as a production or 1) Adapt to the particular busi- handling input, indicating ness that the certified opera- its composition, source, tion is conducting; location(s) where it will be used and documentation of 2) Fully disclose all activities and commercial availability, as transactions of the certified applicable; operation in sufficient detail 3) A description of the monitoring that is readily understood and practices and procedures to audited; be performed and maintained, 3) Be maintained for at least 5 including the frequency with years beyond their creation; which they will be performed, and to verify that the plan is effec- tively implemented; 4) Demonstrate compliance with the Act and the regulations in 4) A description of the record- this part. keeping system implemented to comply with the requirements ii) A certified operation must make established in § 205.103; records available for inspection and copying by authorized rep- 5) A description of the manage- resentatives of the secretary, the ment practices and physicalPage 2 ATTRA Highlights of the USDA’s National Organic Program Regulations
  3. 3. barriers established to pre- 2) The substance’s manufac- vent commingling of organic ture, use and disposal do not and non-organic products on a have adverse effects on the split operation and to prevent environment and are done contact of organic production in a manner compatible with and handling operations and organic handling; products with prohibited sub- 3) The nutritional quality of the stances; and food is maintained when the 6) Additional information deemed substance is used and the necessary by the certifying substance itself or its break- agent to evaluate compliance down products do not have with the regulations. an adverse effect on human health as defined by applica- b) A producer may substitute a plan ble federal regulations; prepared to meet the requirements of another federal, state or local 4) The substance’s primary use government regulatory program for is not as a preservative or to the organic system plan, provided re-create or improve flavors, that the submitted plan meets all colors, textures or nutritive value lost during processing, the requirements of this subpart. except where the replacement of nutrients is required by law;The National List of Allowed and 5) The substance is listed as gen-Prohibited Substances erally recognized as safe by1) § 205.600 Evaluation criteria the Food and Drug Adminis- for allowed and prohibited sub- tration (FDA) when used in stances, methods and ingredients accordance with the FDA’s a) The following criteria will be uti- good manufacturing practices lized in the evaluation of substances and contains no residues of or ingredients for the organic pro- heavy metals or other contam- duction and handling sections of inants in excess of tolerances set by the FDA; and the National List: 6) The substance is essential for i) Synthetic and non-synthetic sub- the handling of organically pro- stances considered for inclusion duced agricultural products. in or deletion from the National List will be evaluated using the iii) Non-synthetics used in organic criteria specified in the Act (7 processing will be evaluated U.S.C. 6517 and 6518). using the criteria specified in the Act (7 U.S.C. 6517 and 6518). ii) In addition to the criteria set forth in the Act, any synthetic Editor’s note: The National List of Allowed and substance used as a processing Prohibited Substances is subject to change as aid or adjuvant will be evaluated a result of legal actions, petitions to add or against the following criteria: remove materials or technical corrections. Please check the Web site 1) The substance cannot be nop/NOP/standards/FullRegTextOnly.html for produced from a natural the most current update of § 205.601-606 for source and there are no lists of materials allowed and prohibited for crop and livestock production or handling. organic substitutes; ATTRA Page 3
  4. 4. Labels, labeling and market b) Products sold, labeled or repre- sented as “organic” information 1) § 205.300 Use of the term i) A raw or processed agricultural “organic” product sold, labeled or repre- sented as “organic” must con- a) The term “organic” may only be tain (by weight or fluid volume, used on labels and in labeling of raw excluding water and salt) at least or processed agricultural products 95 percent organically produced and ingredients that have been pro- raw or processed agricultural duced and handled in accordance products. Any remaining prod- with the regulations in this part. The uct ingredients must be organi- term “organic” may not be used in cally produced unless not com- a product name to modify a non- mercially available in organic organic ingredient in the product. form or must be nonagricultural b) Products for export or produced substances or non-organically and certified to foreign organic produced agricultural products produced consistent with the standards or foreign contract buyer National List in subpart G of requirements may be labeled in this part. If labeled as organi- accordance with the organic label- cally produced, such product ing requirements of the receiv- must be labeled pursuant to § ing country or contract buyer if 205.303. the shipping containers and ship- ping documents meet the labeling c) Products sold, labeled or repre- requirements specified in sented as “made with organic (spec- § 205.307(c). ified ingredients or food groups)” c) Products produced in a foreign i) Multi-ingredient agricultural country and exported for sale in the product sold, labeled or repre- United States must be certified pur- sented as “made with organic suant to subpart E of this part and (specified ingredients or food labeled pursuant to this subpart D. groups)” must contain (by weight or fluid volume, exclud- d) Livestock feeds produced in accor- ing water and salt) at least dance with the requirements of this 70 percent organically pro- part must be labeled in accordance duced ingredients that are pro- with the requirements of duced and handled pursuant to § 205.306. requirements in subpart C of 2) § 205.301 Product composition this part. No ingredients may be produced using prohibited prac- a) Products sold, labeled or repre- tices specified in paragraphs one sented as “100 percent organic” through three of § 205.301(f). i) A raw or processed agricultural Non-organic ingredients may product sold, labeled or repre- be produced without regard to sented as “100 percent organic” paragraphs four through seven must contain (by weight or fluid of § 205.301(f). If labeled as volume, excluding water and containing organically produced salt) 100 percent organically ingredients or food groups, such produced ingredients. If labeled product must be labeled pursu- as organically produced, such ant to § 205.304. product must be labeled pursu- d) Products with less than 70 percent ant to § 205.303. organically produced ingredientsPage 4 ATTRA Highlights of the USDA’s National Organic Program Regulations
  5. 5. i) The organic ingredients in 4) Be processed using process- multi-ingredient agricultural ing aids not approved on the product containing less than 70 National List in subpart G percent organically produced of this part, however prod- ingredients (by weight or fluid ucts labeled as “100 percent volume, excluding water and organic,” if processed, must salt) must be produced and be processed using organi- handled pursuant to require- cally produced processing ments in subpart C of this part. aids; The non-organic ingredients 5) Contain sulfites, nitrates or may be produced and handled nitrites added during the pro- without regard to the require- duction or handling process. ments of this part. Multi- However, wine containing ingredient agricultural product added sulfites may be labeled containing less than 70 percent “made with organic grapes”; organically produced ingredi- ents may represent the organic 6) Be produced using non-organic nature of the product only as ingredients when organic provided in § 205.305. ingredients are available; or e) Livestock feed 7) Include organic and non- organic forms of the same i) A raw or processed livestock ingredient. feed product sold, labeled or represented as “100 percent For complete information about labeling organic” must contain (by weight requirements, see sections 205.302-3.11 or fluid volume, excluding water included in ATTRA’s Organic Handling and salt) not less than 100 per- Standards Highlights. cent organically produced raw or processed agricultural product. Selected defined terms ii) A raw or processed livestock 1) Audit trail feed product sold, labeled or a) Documentation that is sufficient to represented as "organic” must determine the source, transfer of be produced in conformance ownership and transportation of any with § 205.237. agricultural product labeled as “100 iii) All products labeled as “100 percent organic,” the organic ingre- percent organic” or “organic" dients of any agricultural product and all ingredients identified as labeled as “organic” or “made with "organic" in the ingredient state- organic (specified ingredients or ment of any product must not: food groups)” or the organic ingredi- ents of any agricultural product con- 1) Be produced using excluded taining less than 70 percent organic methods, pursuant to ingredients identified as “organic” in § 201.105(e); an ingredients statement. 2) Be produced using sewage 2) Certified operation sludge, pursuant to § 201.105(f); a) A crop or livestock production, wild- crop harvesting or handling opera- 3) Be processed using ionizing tion or portion of such operations, radiation, pursuant to that is certified by an accredited § 201.105(g); certifying agent as utilizing ATTRA Page 5
  6. 6. system of organic production or applicants or certified production handling as described by the Act or handling operations. and the regulations in this part. 7) Inspection 3) Certifying agent a) The act of examining and evalu- a) Any entity accredited by the ating the production or handling secretary as a certifying agent for operation of an applicant for cer- the purpose of certifying a produc- tification or certified operation to tion or handling operation. determine compliance with the Act and the regulations in this part. 4) Claims 8) Label a) Oral, written, implied or symbolic representations, statements, advertis- a) A display of written, printed or ing or other forms of communication graphic material on the immediate presented to the public or buyers of container of an agricultural prod- agricultural products that relate to uct or any such material affi xed to the organic certification process or any agricultural product or affi xed the terms “100 percent organic,” to a bulk container holding an agri- “organic” or “made with organic cultural product, except for pack- (specified ingredients or food age liners or a display of written, groups),” or, in the case of agricul- printed or graphic material which tural products containing less than contains only information about the 70 percent organic ingredients, weight of the product. the term “organic” on the ingredi- 9) Labeling ents panel. a) All written, printed or graphic 5) Excluded methods material accompanying an agricul- a) A variety of methods used to geneti- tural product at any time or written, cally modify organisms or influence printed or graphic material about their growth and development by the agricultural product displayed means that are not possible under at retail stores. natural conditions or processes and 10) Market information are not considered compatible with organic production. Such methods a) Any written, printed, audiovisual include cell fusion, microencap- or graphic information, includ- sulation and macroencapsulation ing advertising, pamphlets, flyers, and recombinant DNA technology catalogues, posters and signs, that (including gene deletion, gene dou- are distributed, broadcast or made bling, introducing a foreign gene available outside of retail outlets and changing the positions of genes and used to assist in the sale or when achieved by recombinant promotion of a product. DNA technology). Such methods do 11) National List of Allowed and not include the use of traditional Prohibited Substances (National List) breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertilization a) A list of allowed and prohibited sub- or tissue culture. stances as provided for in the Act. 6) Inspector 12) National Organic Program a) Any person retained or used a) The program authorized by the Act by a certifying agent to conduct for the purpose of implementing its inspections of certification provisions.Page 6 ATTRA Highlights of the USDA’s National Organic Program Regulations
  7. 7. 13) National Organic Standards Board 18) Practice standard a) A board established by the secre- a) The guidelines and requirements tary under 7 U.S.C. 6518 to assist through which a production or in the development of standards handling operation implements a for substances to be used in organic required component of its produc- production and to advise the tion or handling organic system secretary on any other aspects plan. A practice standard includes of the implementation of the a series of allowed and prohibited National Organic Program. actions, materials and conditions to14) Non-synthetic. establish a minimum performance level for planning, conducting and a) A substance that is derived from maintaining a function, such as mineral, plant or animal matter and livestock health care or facility does not undergo a synthetic pro- pest management, essential to an cess as defined in section 6502(21) organic operation. of the Act (7 U.S.C. 6502(21)). For the purposes of this part, non-syn- 19) Prohibited substance thetic is used as a synonym for nat- a) A substance that is prohibited or not ural as the term is used in the Act. provided for in the Act or the regula-15) Organic production tions of this part for use in any aspect of organic production or handling. a) A production system that is man- aged in accordance with the Act 20) Records and regulations in this part to a) Any information in written, visual respond to site-specific conditions or electronic form that documents by integrating cultural, biological the activities of a producer, han- and mechanical practices that foster the cycling of resources, promote dler or certifying agent to comply ecological balance and conserve with the Act and regulations biodiversity. in this part.16) Organic system plan 21) Split operation a) A plan of management of an a) An operation that produces or han- organic production or handling dles both organic and non-organic operation that has been agreed to agricultural products. by the producer or handler and the 22) Synthetic certifying agent and includes writ- ten plans concerning all aspects of a) A substance that is formulated agricultural production or handling or manufactured by a chemi- described in the Act and the regu- cal process or by a process that lations in subpart C of this part. chemically changes a substance extracted from naturally occurring17) Person plant, animal or mineral sources. a) An individual, partnership, corpo- The term shall not apply to ration, association, cooperative or substances created by naturally other entity. occurring biological ATTRA Page 7
  8. 8. Organic Standards for All Organic Operations: Highlights of the USDA’s National Organic Program Regulations By Ann H. Baier NCAT Agriculture Specialist © 2008 NCAT Holly Michels, Editor Amy Smith, Production This publication is available on the Web at: or IP325 Slot 319 Version 070108Page 8 ATTRA