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Earlier this year, USDA announced the National Organic Program (NOP) Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) final rule (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/01/19/2023-00702/national-organic-program-nop-strengthening-organic-enforcement). This rule is an update to the USDA organic regulations, which strengthens oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and sale of organic products. This rule also implements 2018 Farm Bill mandates, responds to industry requests for updates to the USDA organic regulations, and addresses National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommendations.

Key updates of this final rule include:

  • Requiring certification of more of the businesses, like brokers and traders, at critical links in organic supply chains.
  • Requiring NOP Import Certificates for all organic imports.
  • Requiring organic identification on nonretail containers.
  • Increasing authority for more rigorous on-site inspections of certified operations.
  • Requiring uniform qualification and training standards for organic inspectors and certifying agent personnel.
  • Requires standardized certificates of organic operation.
  • Requires additional and more frequent reporting of data on certified operations.
  • Creates authority for more robust recordkeeping, traceability practices, and fraud prevention procedures.
  • Specify certification requirements for producer groups.

EAS Consulting Group will closely monitor these and other USDA updates throughout 2023 and beyond, communicating expectations and analyses to our clients as available.

In the meantime, a thorough review of your organic processes may be warranted so that you will be able to quickly understand any new USDA expectations and how to pivot to USDA’s new expectations.

Posted in FDA and USDA Regulatory Update.