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Thinking of Transferring to a New Organic Certifier?

by Guest Blogger |

There is so much change happening in the organic community. Are you thinking of making a change too?

The Certification Process

Being certified organic is a journey you take with your Accredited Certification Agency (ACA), which is the formal title for organic certifiers. From the time you submit your application, throughout the time you are certified as organic, it’s the job of the certifier to confirm to your customers that you meet the USDA NOP requirements to label your products as organic. If your current journey isn’t working well, you always have the option of changing certifiers.

The Organic Landscape

Here is a little background to help explain how the federal government, Accredited Certification Agencies (ACA), and operations like yours interact. The USDA NOP sets and maintains the standards that organic operations must meet to display organic claims on their products. Accredited certifiers then provide the certification service that ensures those standards are indeed being met by each certified entity. Some certifiers work in a large geographic region with a diverse client base and others only within a specific state or with a limited group of operations. While all are required to comply with the same strict standards set by the NOP, the service, fees, communication, and additional benefits clients experience along the way are unique.

Three different types of changes have occurred over the past several years. Some small certification agencies have surrendered their accreditation and no longer provide certification services. Some have reduced the activities (scopes) they certify or the geographic area where they provide certification services. Others have consolidated under other agencies.

Time for a Change?

We hope that you are happy with your current certification experience and thank you for your dedication to the organic community! If you are thinking of a change, CCOF’s Applicant Support team is happy to chat. Key considerations include your anniversary date with your current certifier, when your current and future fees will be billed to avoid duplicative payments, and the time needed to complete an Organic System Plan (OSP) with the new agency. CCOF waives the one-time $350 application fee for any operation switching from another certifier.

The certification process with CCOF usually takes at least 12 weeks. When possible, it is wise to apply at least four months before your current anniversary date. This avoids a gap in certification or the need to pay additional fees to your current certifier to remain in compliance.

Feel free to reach out to the Applicant Support team if you have questions. We can be reached at or (831) 423-2263 #1.