The National Organic Program (NOP) Certification

The National Organic Program (NOP), a program housed within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is responsible for developing national standards for production, labelling and enforcement of all USDA organic products.

Products are divided into four categories of labelling based on composition:

  • “100 percent organic” products must contain 100 percent organic ingredients. Most organically produced, raw, unprocessed farm products would fall under this category. “100 percent organic” products can display the USDA organic seal.
  • “Organic” products must contain a minimum of 95 percent organic ingredients and up to 5 percent may be non-organic products (agricultural or non-agricultural products found on the National List). “Organic” products may display the USDA organic seal.
  • “Made with Organic ______” must contain at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients. There are several constraints regulating the ingredients that comprise the non-organic portion. These products may not display the USDA organic seal.
  • Specific organic ingredients may be listed in the ingredient statement of products containing less than 70 percent organic contents. These products may not display the USDA organic seal.

Product Certification

USDA organic products have strict production and labeling requirements. Manufacturers must permit on-site inspections with complete access to the production or handling operation, including non-certified production and handling areas, structures, and offices.

Organic manufacturing and finished products must:

  • Produced without excluded methods such as genetic engineering, ionizing radiation or sewage sludge
  • Produced only with allowed substances found in the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances
  • Overseen by a USDA National Organic Program-authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic regulations. View a full list of rules and regulations for organic production and handling.

For more information, visit the USDA website.