National Organic Program (NOP) allows organic products to be exported and marketed to the United States of America (USA). It certifies agricultural and zootechnical products, processed products for human and animal consumption (excluding aquaculture products), technical means for agriculture and cosmetic products
What it is certified
The National Organic Program is the standard that has regulated the production and labelling of organic products in the United States since 2002. For many years, the US and EU certification system were not harmonised and Italian companies exporting their products to the American continent were forced to request a double certification; this obliged them to re-evaluate the NOP’s most restrictive requirements along the entire production chain, starting with agricultural production.
ICEA has been one of the first Italian control bodies to provide this certification service thanks to the recognition obtained by the Department of Agriculture of the United States of America.
The agreement on the mutual equivalence between the NOP (National Organic Program) regulation and EC Regulation 834/07 entered into force in 2012.
Such agreement allows the export to the USA of organic products, already certified in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 834/07, without requesting a specific NOP certification and recheck the entire supply chain.
The equivalence agreement applies only to organic production obtained in countries belonging to the European Union and does not include products of animal origin treated with antibiotics and all aquatic products (e.g. fish, crustaceans, molluscs).
Organic products intended for the United States, and certified as under Regulation (EC) No. 834/07 and the equivalence regime, shall always be accompanied by a “NOP Import Certificate“. The certificate shall accompany each batch of goods exported.
Thanks to the equivalence agreement, EU organic products can be exported to the USA with the NOP logo on the label. The remaining indications shall comply with US labelling regulations.
The equivalence agreement also applies to wine if the Control Body can also certify compliance with the most restrictive requirements of the NOP standard:
- Exclusive use of gaseous sulphur dioxide as a source of sulphites (potassium metabisulphite is not permitted)
- Maximum sulphur limit of 100 mg/l
- Any adjuvant and/or additive used shall also be allowed under NOP Regulation.
Companies wishing to export their product under the Compliance Scheme may continue to apply for NOP Certification. Conformity certification requires verification of the specific and more restrictive requirements of the NOP regulations along the entire supply chain. In this case, NOP Import Certificate shall not accompany the product.
How to certify
The certification process is divided into five main phases:
- Request for inspection and certification services and submission of the required documentation to start the certification process.
- Initial assessment of products and production process. The company shall describe all working procedures and production techniques used. The laboratories and food industries, in addition to the documentation already sent for the issue of organic certification Regulation (EC) No. 834/07 (recipes, supplier list, and management plan) shall also submit an addendum to the Management Plan in order to describe the measures taken to comply with the specific COR requirements. The same applies to farms supplying the raw material.
- On-site inspection, of all operators in the production chain, to verify adequate compliance with the NOP rules, in particular as regards the parameters that are more restrictive than EU rules.
- Issue of the Certificate of Conformity based on information and data collected as part of the evaluation and verification process. The certificate contains the list of products certified and meeting the requirements of the NOP regulations and their classification (‘100% Organic’, ‘Organic’ and ‘Made with Organic Ingredients’).
- Annual surveillance through regular inspections and analyses to confirm the maintenance of compliance conditions
Documents and downloadable files
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