USDA Organic Certification

Gain access to organic markets around the world with USDA organic certification through USDA-accredited certifying agent QIMA/IBD

Consumers who choose organic products want to know that they have been produced without artificial pesticides, genetic modifications, or petroleum-based fertilizers, and that they have not been cross-contaminated with non-organic inputs during production. USDA Organic Certification tells customers that your organic products are of the highest quality and ensures transparency on all aspects of organic production.

QIMA/WQS offers organic certification inspection services through QIMA/IBD, who is accredited by the USDA to approve organic certifications under the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). The NOP develops the standards, rules, and regulations for the production, handling, labeling, and enforcement for organic products.

USDA Organic Certification Value

The global market for organic products has grown steadily for over 20 years now. By 2000, annual global sales of organic foods and beverages had reached 18 billion USD. Now global sales are well over 100 billion USD, and the global market for organic foods is projected to continue grow by 10% annually.

Access to the growing organic market offers increased earning potential for farms, food manufacturers, and producers of other organic goods. Not only do organic products sell for premium prices, but funding and technical assistance are also available for many organic operations. USDA organic certification can apply to a variety of agriculturally sourced products:

  • Fresh produce
  • Meat and dairy products
  • Processed/packaged foods and beverages
  • Textile/fiber and leather products
  • Cosmetics, skin care and other personal care products

Several countries also have equivalence agreements that recognize USDA organic certification. The USDA Organic label is accepted in the United States (US), Canada, European Union (EU) Switzerland, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

USDA Organic Certification Requirements

The USDA NOP standards set requirements for crops, livestock/poultry, and handling that must be met to use the USDA Organic label or market a product as “organic.” Requirements include:

  • Goods must be produced without artificial pesticides, genetic modifications, or petroleum-based fertilizers.
  • Animals must be raised on organic feed, without growth hormones, given adequate time outdoors, and provided appropriate care and treatment.
  • Land used for crops must have had no prohibited substances applied for at least 3 years before harvested crops can be labeled organic.
  • Chemicals, treatments, supplements, fertilizers, and other substances used in production must be allowed in the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.
  • Handling processes must protect organic products from contact and contamination with non-organic products and prohibited substances.

Products must have at least 95% certified organic content to be labeled as organic and use the USDA Organic seal. Products with at least 70% certified organic content can be labeled “made with” organic ingredients, but they cannot use the USDA Organic seal.

USDA Organic Certification Requirements

The first step to certification is adopting organic production methods. As a USDA-accredited certifying agent, QIMA/IBD can help you through the rest of the certification process. Certification requires:

  • Submitting an application to a USDA-accredited certifying agent
  • Verification by the certifying agent that the operation meets USDA organic standards
  • On-site inspection of the operation
  • Review of the application and inspection report by the certifying agent
  • Issuance of the organic certificate by the certifying agent, or identification of non-conformities

Once certified, annual reviews and inspections are required for an operation to continue to label its products as organic or use the USDA Organic seal.

Why Choose QIMA/WQS and QIMA/IBD for Organic Certification?

  • Our team with over 30 years of experience in the food industry is ready to deliver end-to-end quality solutions to your business.
  • We specialize in food and agriculture industries and will support you every step of the way.
  • Our locally experienced food auditors are approved for multiple schemes across all food safety, quality, and sustainability areas.
  • IBD is accredited under multiple organic standards (USDA/NOP, IFOAM, ISO/IEC 17065, EU CE 834/2007, Demeter, and SISORG) and sustainability programs (IBD Fair Trade, 4C, ISCC. and more).