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NOP Instruction Forces Changes for CCOF Operations

Updated May 14, 2014: On February 13, 2014, the National Organic Program (NOP) released Instruction Document 4009: Who Needs to be Certified, and accompanying Questions and Answers. This Instruction clarified what parts of CCOF-certified members’ OSPs and stages of production require independent certification.

NOP Strengthens Organic Standards

On August 14, 2014, the National Organic Program (NOP) published instruction 4012 “Use of Brand or Company Names Containing the Word ‘Organic’.” This instruction document is directed at certifiers and clarifies an area of potential confusion while indicating the NOP’s expectations and standards interpretations regarding product labeling.

Practices, Not Paperwork Initiative

In the last six months CCOF has been in an ongoing dialogue with the National Organic Program (NOP) and USDA about issues we see in the certification and accreditation process that are overly reliant on paperwork and unnecessarily drive up costs. We are concerned that small operators may be leaving the NOP due to both the difficult paperwork and costs of organic certification.

Program Manual Updates

CCOF has recently revised important sections of the CCOF Certification Program Manual. These changes include the following:

Prórroga en Proceso de la Fecha de Implementación para las Normas Orgánicas Mexicanas

El gobierno de México recientemente publicó una noticia de propuesta prórroga para la implementación completa de los estándares orgánicos mexicanos. La prórroga propuesta extendería el plazo de implementación para productos orgánicos importados a México de países que se encuentran en discusiones sobre la equivalencia, como los Estados Unidos. El público puede emitir sus comentarios sobre la prórroga propuesta aquí.

Significant Changes to Certification Manual - All CCOF Clients Affected

We have made some substantial changes to our Certification Services Program Manual.

These changes affect all CCOF clients, and you will be asked on your 2014 Continuation of Certification Contract (renewal contract) to verify that you agree to the policies described in this manual. In brief, the changes include:

The Future of Chlorine

The National Organic Program (NOP) recently announced an important clarification to the use of chlorine in organic production systems. This may require operational changes for some CCOF clients who use chlorine for postharvest washing of crops. The NOP now requires that a potable water rinse follows chlorine used in postharvest water at more than 4 parts per million (ppm). CCOF was previously able to approve the use of chlorine at levels above 4 ppm in postharvest usage because of industry confusion over the meaning of the word "residual" in the regulations.

UPDATE: NOP Guidance on Seeds, Annual Seedlings, and Planting Stock

Update: This is an update to the version published in our E-Newsletter on 3/11/13

On February 28, the NOP issued a final guidance on Seeds, Annual Seedlings, and Planting Stock in Organic Crop Production as part of the National Organic Program Handbook. Included with the guidance is a NOP response to the comments it received on this topic in 2011.

Updates Made to NOP Standards Manual

The USDA has published Final Rules that, effective November 3, 2013, update the USDA organic regulations. These three changes are about materials allowed for use in organic handling and processing. We have updated our NOP Standards Manual to reflect these changes. Download our updated manual.

CCOF Applauds USDA Announcement of Organic Equivalence Agreement with Japan

(September 25, 2013) Santa Cruz, CA - USDA and Japan announced Thursday at Natural Products Expo East a new organic equivalency agreement, finalizing many years of perseverance toward equivalence without critical variances. As of January 1, 2014, the Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries will recognize the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) as equivalent to Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS). CCOF engaged early in the agreement process, representing our more than 2,600 members by hosting visits with Japanese officials here in the United States.


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