The list no longer includes Canadian operations, which thanks to a recent U.S.-Canada partnership means those companies no longer need to maintain certification according to USDA organic standards in order to sell organic products in the United States.
The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) has published its latest list of certified-organic operations to help users seek out organic-certified companies. Notably, since USDA and Canada recently aligned their organic standards, allowing that Canadian operations no longer need to maintain certification according to USDA organic standards in order to sell organic products in the United States, the NOP certified-facility list no longer includes organic-certified Canadian operations.
USDA’s updated list also reflects a growing number of organic-certified facilities. USDA says that the number of U.S. farms and processing facilities certified as organic has increased 240% since 2002, when NOP began overseeing organic certification. With the additional 480 operators certified as of 2002, at the end of 2011 a total of more than 17,600 organic farms and processing facilities have been certified according to USDA organic standards. Worldwide, there are now 28,779 certified-organic operators across 133 countries.
Users can search the USDA’s list of facilities by certification scope-e.g., crop, livestock, or handling-as well as by type of product and location.
This is the third year NOP has made this list available. The list is updated annually, but NOP says it is working to design a system that can be updated more often. “The ultimate goal is a real-time system of standardized information that can more easily identify and connect organic stakeholders across the supply chain, support real-time transparency of the organic system, and streamline current information management and reporting processes for USDA-certifying agents.”
NOP oversees accrediting certifying agents and their certification of organic production and handling operations. By becoming certified, farms or processing facilities are able to sell, label, and market their products as USDA organic.