- The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) [and National Organic Program] is pleased to announce final guidance for handling unpackaged organic products.
This guidance implements a recommendation from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and responds to findings from the Office of Inspector General.
Additionally, you can now access a variety of conservation guides and webinars tailored for organic operations.
Handling Unpackaged Organic Products
In an October 2010 recommendation, the NOSB expressed concern that certain products were moving through unregulated segments of the marketing chain.
The NOSB noted that uncertified brokers, distributors, and traders lack the regular oversight of accredited certifying agents and the National Organic Program (NOP), opening the door for conventional products to be mislabeled as organic.
After reviewing public comments, NOP has clarified certification requirements for operations handling unpackaged organic products. If an operation:
- Only handles organic products that are enclosed and remain in the same container without being processed or relabeled, the operation doesn't need to be certified organic.
- Transports unpackaged organic products but doesn't handle them, the operation doesn't need to be certified. Certified organic producers and handlers must maintain records and ensure organic integrity throughout transport.
- Handles unpackaged organic products, it must be certified organic.
- View NOP 5031: Handling Unpackaged Organic Products
View NOP 5031-1: Response to Comments
Get Certified Organic
The NOP will cover this and other topics at its annual organic certifier training in February 2014.
Organic Conservation Resources
USDA's Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial payments and technical support to producers for implementing conservation practices such as conservation buffers, cover crops, and pest management strategies. By setting aside funding specifically for organic agriculture, this program helps organic farmers and ranchers meet requirements in the USDA organic regulations related to natural resources conservation and biodiversity.
New USDA-funded guides and planned intensive trainings on the following topics will help USDA staff, agricultural professionals, and interested producers better understand natural resource management on organic operations:
- Nutrient management budgeting
- Pest management techniques
- Cover crop selection and application
- Conservation buffer design and maintenance
Funded by a grant from the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, this project is the result of a partnership between:
- USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Oregon Tilth's Organic Conservation Program
- The National Center for Appropriate Technology
- The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides
- The Xerces Society
Additionally, join a webinar on a variety of organic and sustainable agriculture topics!
View Scheduled Webinars
Hosted by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service & Oregon Tilth
Alerts & News
Information for certified and transitional growers and businesses.