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USDA Announces First Round of
Approved Organic Certifying Agents

Release No. 0172.02
Jessica E. Faust (202) 720-8998
jessica.faust@usda.gov

Billy Cox (202) 720-8998
billy.cox@usda.gov

USDA ANNOUNCES FIRST ROUND OF ACCREDITED
ENTITIES TO CERTIFY ORGANIC PRODUCERS

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2002CThe U.S. Department of Agriculture today
announced the names of the first accredited entities who will certify
organic production and handling operations to comply with National
Organic Program (NOP) standards.

This is an important step in the launch of the USDA organic program to
provide greater marketing choice in the supermarket,@ said Agriculture
Secretary Ann M. Veneman.

Oct. 21, 2002, is the deadline to ensure that all qualified organic
production and handling operations are certified to use the USDA organic
seal on fresh and processed products.

The new organic standards offer a national definition for the
term"organic." It details the methods, practices and substances that
can be used in producing and handling organic crops and livestock, as
well as processed products.

All agricultural products labeled organic must originate from farms or
handling operations certified by a state or private agency accredited by
USDA. Farms and handling operations that sell less than $5,000 worth per
year of organic agricultural products are exempt from certification

The following entities have been accredited, but must complete a
successful site audit, or meet other specified conditions within 120
days:

28 Private Domestic Accredited Certifying Agents:
California Certified Organic Farmers
California Organic Farmers Association
Fertilizer & Seed Certification Svcs (South Carolina)
Georgia Crop Improvement Association
Global Organic Alliance (Ohio)
Guaranteed Organic Certification Agency (California)
Hawaii Organic Farmers Association
Indiana Certified Organic
Integrity Certified International (Nebraska)
International Certification Services, Inc (North Dakota)
Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture Institute (Iowa)
Marin County (California)
Midwest Organic Services Association (Wisconsin)
Minnesota Crop Improvement Association
Monterey County Certified Organic (California)
NOFACMassachusetts [Northeast Organic Farming Association]
NOFACNew Jersey
NOFACNew York Limited Liability Corp
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
Organic Certifiers (California)
Organic Crop Improvement Association (Nebraska)
Organic Forum International (Minnesota)
Oregon Tilth
Pennsylvania Certified Organic
Quality Assurance International (California)
Quality Certification Services (Florida)
Scientific Certification Systems (California)
Stellar Certification Services (New York)

10 State Accredited Certifying Agents:
Idaho Department of Agriculture
Iowa Department of Agriculture
Maryland Department of Agriculture
Montana Department of Agriculture
New Hampshire Department of Agriculture
New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission
Texas Department of Agriculture
Utah Department of Agriculture
Virginia Department of Agriculture
Washington State Department of Agriculture

4 Foreign Accredited Certifying Agents:
BCSCOkeo Garantie Gmbh (Germany)
BioLatina (Peru)
Canadian Organic Certification Cooperative, Ltd
ECOCERT (France and Germany)

Other applications are under final review, pending submission of
additional information requested by USDA.

Entities not approved in the first round still will be evaluated and
considered for accreditation. New accreditations, along with any
specified conditions that must be met, will be posted weekly on the
National Organic Program web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop. This
site also contains a complete list of applicants for accreditation,
application information, and more information on the National Organic
Program. #

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