The producer or handler of a production or handling operation intending to sell, label, or represent agricultural products as “100 percent organic”, “organic”, or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” must comply with the USDA National Organic Program Regulations. This federal law requires all organic food products to meet the same standards and be certified under the same certification process.
The National Organic Program (NOP) develops, implements, and administers national production, handling, and labeling standards for organic agricultural products.
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) assists in developing standards for substances to be used in organic production. The Board conducts public meetings twice a year to discuss and vote on proposed recommendations.
While some of the organic regulations are straightforward, some can be interpreted and applied differently by different certifiers. PCO works with a diverse and unbiased committee to develop policies for interpreting and implementing the organic regulations. The PCO Standards Committee is comprised of certified producers and processors, industry professionals, consumers, and scientists. Standards Committee recommendations are voted on by the PCO membership at the Annual Standards Meeting.