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Strengthening Organic Enforcement Rule Released

by Laura Mathias |

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) released an official proposed rule for Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE). The proposed changes will constitute the most significant changes to organic regulations since the creation of the NOP. 

Among other changes, the proposed rule will:

  • Reduce the types of uncertified entities in the organic supply chain (importers, brokers, traders)
  • Require the use of NOP Import Certificates for all organic products entering the United States
  • Clarify NOP oversight of certification activities, including that NOP oversight extends to the actions of any person performing work on behalf of a certifying agent
  • Require certified operations and certifying agents to develop improved recordkeeping
  • Require that certifying agents conduct unannounced inspections of 5 percent of the operations it certifies

Many of these changes will codify existing NOP guidance that CCOF and other certifiers already follow. Other changes will create significant changes in the organic supply chain. As such, CCOF policy and certification staff will work closely with other certifiers, the Organic Trade Association (OTA), and our members to develop comprehensive comments on the proposed rule. We welcome input from members who wish to participate in this process. Please email me at to discuss the proposed rule. 

Click here to access the rule and associated documents on USDA SOE webpage.

Click here to read a 10-page summary from OTA.