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Customer Advisory

USDA'S National Organics Program Guidance Document

May. 1, 2024
Customer Advisory

Full implementation of the USDA National Organics Program (NOP) began on March 19, 2024. To Strengthen Organic Enforcement (SOE), organic shipments departing to the U.S. on that date must be associated with an NOP Import Certificate generated in the USDA Organic Integrity Database by a USDA-accredited Certifier. A whole slew of questions come to mind ….. what has to be certified as organic, who will be qualified to certify a product as organic, how will the process be overseen from the farm through processing, through recordkeeping and traceability, to the market! So here’s what the rule will do:

Print versions of the National Organics Program handbook are no longer being published. It is now designed to be used electronically. The handbook sections can also be printed by the user. The regulations on this program strengthen oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and sale of organic agricultural products. The amendments protect integrity in the organic supply chain and build consumer and industry trust in the USDA organic label by strengthening organic control systems, improve farm to market traceability, and provide robust enforcement of the USDA organic regulations.  You can access the webinar on this here

The rulemaking addressed applicability of the regulations and exemptions from organic certification; National Organic Program Import Certificates; recordkeeping and product traceability; certifying agent personnel qualifications and training; standardized certificates of organic operation; unannounced on-site inspections of certified operations; oversight of certification activities; foreign conformity assessment systems; certification of producer group operations; labeling of nonretail containers; annual update requirements for certified operations; compliance and appeals processes; and calculating organic content of multi-ingredient products.

The USDA resource to assist trade in complying with the new Organics certification requirements are detailed in the primer, called Strengthening Organic Enforcement—Final Primers, and clarifies who needs to be certified and provides details about submitting the electronic import certification at entry. New tariffs that would fall under the National Organics Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are provided in this Searchable HTS Code update and includes many new organic codes with numerous changes to cucumbers and tomatoes, in particular.

To access the list of certifying agents, go to: Accredited Certifying Agents | Agricultural Marketing Service (usda.gov).

For consultation and assistance in complying with this program, you may also reach out to us at: customs_compliance_group@am.kwe.com

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