The USDA said its National Organic Program will undergo a stringent audit by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
According to the National Organic Coalition, USDA Deputy Secretary, Kathleen Merrigan, said the NOP must be scrutinized to strengthen the integrity of the program and the USDA organic seal.
The NOP is the USDA’s regulatory body that administers the USDA organic seal and national standards for organic agricultural products sold in the United States. The National Organic Coalition has long called for more consistency of NOP rules.
“We applaud USDA’s willingness to submit its organic program to the rigors of these international norms and believe this will pave the way for continued growth and success of the U.S. organic industry,” Robynn Shrader, an NOC founder and CEO of the National Cooperative Grocers Association, said in a prepared statement today.
This ongoing review will likely promote more transparency and strengthens the integrity of organic with regard to NOP’s accreditation procedures. It also could help ensure certifiers, farmers and processing operations are treated in a more uniform manner under the program.