Approved Materials for Organic Farming
Accredited Certifying Agents
The NOP established a policy that each Accredited Certifying Agent (ACA, certifier) is responsible for conducting its own reviews of inputs for agricultural production, such as formulated pesticides and soil amendments. They must review both active and inactive (inert) ingredients for compliance. All certifying agents must verify that materials used by certified organic operations comply with the USDA organic regulations, including the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, and any annotations provided therein. (See 7 CFR 205.601-606).
Brand Name Materials Lists
The NOP accredits organic certification agencies but does not review individual materials for compliance with NOP standards. Organic growers are responsible for ensuring that the materials they use are compliant with organic standards. Organic certification agencies provide third party verification that the standards, including the use of inputs, are being met. There are two brand name materials lists widely used by organic growers and certification agencies to verify the NOP compliance of agricultural inputs. One is published by Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), the other is published by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Organic Food Program; both are available online.
Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)
The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that specializes in the review of substances for use in organic production, processing, and handling. OMRI's services are directed to all aspects of the organic industry with a primary focus on the decision makers who deal with the compliance status of generic materials and brand name products. OMRI publishes lists of generic materials and brand names of specific products that are found to be consistent with the USDA organic standards.
OMRI certificates are issued to suppliers of products that have successfully completed the OMRI product review process and have been assigned an OMRI status of either Allowed or Allowed with Restrictions in accordance with the specified organic standard(s). Products that are listed by OMRI as approved for use in organic production carry the label shown below (see Figure 3.1). Certificates are valid for one year and must be renewed annually.
Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA)
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Organic Food Program, a USDA-accredited certifier, maintains a list of products (known as the Brand Name Materials List, BNML) that have determined meet the requirements under the National Organic Standards. WSDA does not imply any guarantee or endorsement of any of the products listed on the BNML. In addition, manufacturers of these products are not required to list their products on the BNML. Therefore, this is not a comprehensive list of brand name materials that meet organic standards.
Review Process for Determining Compliance of Materials
For branded (formulated) products, certifying agents have three options available for determining compliance:
Products with Multiple Reviews
Some manufacturers may submit their products for review to more than one certifying agent or material evaluation program. In the majority of cases, certifying agents and material evaluation programs reach the same determination regarding the allowance or prohibition of a product.
Federal Product Labeling
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows a claim on a pesticide label that the product can be used for organic production if its ingredients meet USDA standards. Products labeled for use as a pesticide in organic production are also subject to state and federal labeling laws as well as tolerance criteria established by the EPA.
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