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AnnouncementDecember 8, 2015

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) is pleased to announce updates to four documents included in the Accreditation section of the Handbook. We would also like to remind you to join us for a December 10th webinar that demonstrates the Organic INTEGRITY database. 
NOP Handbook Updates

The National Organic Program has published updates to four Handbook documents.

NOP 2000: General Accreditation Policies and Procedures provides general policies and procedures for organizations seeking accreditation to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic regulations. The revised document includes a procedure for handling complaints about NOP accreditation staff and accredited certifying agents. Updates further clarify the following procedures: midterm and renewal audits, addition of accreditation scopes (e.g. crops, livestock, wild crop, handling), grower group reviews, suspensions/withdrawals, and pre-onsite audit timeframe.

NOP 2026: Instruction on Submitting Annual Lists of Certified Operations outlines an updated procedure for certifiers submitting annual lists of certified operations. Updated annually, this instruction informs certifiers of the January 2 deadline to update their client list and applies to all USDA-accredited certifying agents. Beginning this year, certifiers will use the new Organic INTEGRITY Database to upload their client information.

NOP 2500: Auditor Criteria describes the qualifications, responsibilities, and selection criteria for the NOP auditors and audit teams.

NOP 2501: Evaluating Auditor Performance sets forth the NOP policies and responsibilities for training and performance evaluations of the auditors and technical experts who perform or participate in NOP audits.

To see the updated documents:  
  • NOP 2000: General Accreditation Policies and Procedures
  • NOP 2026: Submitting Annual Lists of Certified Operations
  • NOP 2500: Auditor Criteria
  • NOP 2501: Evaluating Auditor Performance
View all NOP guidance, instructions and policies: NOP Handbook.

Remember to Join Us for a Webinar on the Organic INTEGRITY Database:
December 10, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Eastern

Today, the National Organic Program launched the new certifier section of the Organic INTEGRITY Database. On Thursday December 10, 2015, from 2:30-3:30 PM Eastern Time, we will host an interactive webinar to update the organic community about the development of the system.

The webinar will include two demos: one of the existing public facing search and reporting capabilities and the other of the newly released certifier section of the database that allows for fast and easy updates to certified organic operation information. We will also review capabilities that are scheduled for the next year based on stakeholder feedback and how the new database structure and content will help deter fraud, increase supply chain transparency, and promote market visibility for organic operations. 
Pre-registration is not required for this webinar session. To participate:
Step 1: Dial In by Phone
Toll-Free (U.S. & Canada): 866.740.1260
Access Code: 7202000
Step 2: Also Access the Web
On the left side of the screen, enter
Participant Access Code: 7202000
About the Agricultural Marketing Service

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) facilitates the competitive and efficient marketing of agricultural products. Through its National Organic Program, AMS facilitates trade and ensures the integrity of organic agricultural products by consistently implementing organic standards and enforcing compliance with the regulations throughout the world. Learn more.

About the USDA Organic Insider

The USDA Organic Insider informs the organic community on a wide range of functions, including regulatory updates, requests for public comments, and USDA programs and services.

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