The Cornucopia Institute’s report, The Gatekeepers of Organic Integrity: Guide to Organic Certifiers, will help producers choose Accredited Certifying Agents (ACAs, aka certifiers) with values that align with their own. It will also clarify the role of certifiers in organic certification for interested consumers.
Although all certifiers employ the organic rules and guidelines provided by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), each certifier may interpret compliance in different ways. It is the certifier, not the USDA, that determines whether an operation meets the criteria for organic certification. Certifiers make these judgments based on based on inspections and paperwork review.
The varying policies certifiers have adopted reveal those that are committed to preserving and promoting longstanding organic principles and those that are incentivized by profit and corporate influence.
The accompanying Certifier Guide rates all U.S. certifiers according to their practices, including whether they:
- certify hydroponic operations and operations that do not provide livestock with legitimate outdoor access and grazing;
- have a robust inspection program, including appropriate training for inspectors;
- require an audit trail for imported organic products or have other imports policies in place;
- and more.
The web-based guide enables farmers to choose certifiers with high integrity and informs consumers about the very best products certified by the very best certifiers.
Major Certifiers Betraying the Spirit of Organics (click here for a larger version of the image):
Domestic USDA Accredited Certifiers
[ABO] A Bee Organic; [ASCO] Agricultural Services Certified Organic; [AI] Americert International; [BARO] Basin and Range Organics; [BOC] Baystate Organic Certifiers; [CCOF] CCOF Certification Services, LLC; [CU] Clemson University; [CDA] Colorado Department of Agriculture; [ECO ICO] ECOCERT ICO; [GCIA] Georgia Crop Improvement Association, Inc.; [GLO] Global Culture; [GOA] Global Organic Alliance, Inc.; [ISDA] Idaho State Department Of Agriculture; [ICS] International Certification Services, Inc.; [IDALS] Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship; [KDA] Kentucky Department of Agriculture; [MOCA] Marin Organic Certified Agriculture; [MDA] Maryland Department of Agriculture; [MOSA] Midwest Organic Services Association, Inc.; [MCIA] Minnesota Crop Improvement Association; [MCS] MOFGA Certification Services, LLC; [MTDA] Montana Department of Agriculture; [MCCO] Monterey County Certified Organics; [NFC] Natural Food Certifiers; [NICS] Natures International Certification Services; [NHDAMF] New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food; [NJDA] New Jersey Department of Agriculture; [NMDA] New Mexico Department of Agriculture; [NOFA-NY] Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York; [OEFFA] Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association; [ODAFF] Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry; [ONE] OneCert, Inc.; [ODA] Oregon Department of Agriculture; [OTCO] Oregon Tilth Certified Organic; [OC] Organic Certifiers, Inc.; [OCIA] Organic Crop Improvement Association; [PCO] Pennsylvania Certified Organic; [PL] Primus Labs; [QAI] Quality Assurance International; [QCS] Quality Certification Services; [RIDEM] Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management; [SCS] SCS Global Services; [TDA] Texas Department of Agriculture; [UDAF] Utah Department of Agriculture & Food; [VOF] Vermont Organic Farmers, LLC; [WSDA] Washington State Department of Agriculture; [YDA] Yolo County Department of Agriculture