In 1990, Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) and authorized the USDA to create a National Organic Program (NOP). This program established strict certification standards for organic food producers and processors that are reviewed and monitored by USDA-accredited agents. Producers and processors must obtain USDA certification before they are allowed to label their products with a USDA Organic seal.
USDA regulations assure that organic products meet standards in multiple stages:
National Organic Program regulations benefit consumers, organic farmers, and processors by taking strong action against those who violate the law and jeopardize consumer confidence in organic products. The USDA may conduct unannounced inspections of organic operations at any time to investigate suspected violations of the organic regulations.
Penalties for inspection violations can include:
- Up to $11,000 per violation
- Suspension of organic certificate
- Revocation of organic certificate