FAQs by compliance

Yes, as long as adequate measures are taken to distinguish organic from non-organic and storage practices do not pose a commingling or contamination risk for organic ingredients. You do not have to have a physical barrier in place, but adequate separation and labeling should be in place to protect the organic product.

No, you must use 100% certified organic feed. There are no exceptions.

The following individuals and businesses operating in the state of California must annually register with the State Organic Program:

Every person engaged in the production, handling, or processing of raw agricultural products sold as organic Retailers that are engaged in the production of products sold as organic Retailers that are engaged in the processing, as defined by the NOP, of... Read more

No, retail stores are not required to be certified. But they can choose to be in order to provide assurance to customers and go the extra mile to ensure that organic product integrity is maintained.

Retail food establishments (retailers) do not need to be certified in order to sell organic agricultural products. However, they are responsible for verifying and maintaining the organic... Read more

Ruminant animals are required to graze pasture anytime during the year that pasture is available for grazing. If pasture is not available for at least 120 days per year, the ruminants cannot be certified organic. Organic standards also require that animals obtain a certain percentage of their daily diet, or ration, from pasture. Grazing must provide at least 30% of an organic ruminant’s total... Read more

Yes you can. You will need to maintain the organic integrity of the ingredients and products by preventing commingling and contamination of organic products with any prohibited materials such as sanitizers, pesticides, and non-organic products or ingredients. Additionally, you will need to clearly distinguish organic products from non-organic products to provide accurate information to your... Read more

When displaying bulk products that are certified "100% organic" or "organic" food in self-service bins or creating other product displays you may post signs that provide the same information as listed on the original container or shipping documents. For example, your display, labeling, and display containers may use the USDA “organic” seal and the certifying agent’s mark, logo, or seal.

No, products that restrict organic claims to the ingredient listing only are exempt from the requirements of certification. However, the manufacturer needs to maintain documentation that the organic ingredients identified are organic and certified according to the regulations. Manufacturers should request and maintain on file current copies of organic certificates for each organic ingredient.... Read more

No, it is possible to manage a “split” operation, meaning that some animals are managed organically while others are not. It is important to make sure that the organic animals are easily identifiable, organic feeds are not commingled with non-organic feeds, and that you keep records of all farm activities, including both the organic and non-organic portions.... Read more

If you buy product from a small-scale organic producer who is exempt from certification, you may identify this product as "organic." But you may not identify this product as being "certified organic" and you may not display the seal, logo, or other identifying mark of a certifying agent; nor may you display the USDA “organic” seal in conjunction with this product.

Records should include date of purchase, source, quantities, and organic certificates listing the specific for organic products you purchase. Records should also include documentation of methods used for prevention of commingling and contact with prohibited substances such as sanitizers, pest control materials, and non-organic products. Records are very important if the organic status of a... Read more

The main benefit of organic certification for retail food stores is that consumers have confidence that the organic integrity of the products they buy extend from the seeds used to grow their food to their shopping basket. Consumers want to know the store where they shop cares enough to go the extra mile to provide them that assurance of organic integrity.

Apply for certification of... Read more

The NOP regulations do not have specific prescriptive requirements regarding distance for buffering your organic crop from potential contaminants. Prior to implementation of the NOP, 25 feet was used as a baseline for appropriate buffers. CCOF still uses this as a threshold of concern to guide our decision making process along with other mitigating factors such as physical barriers and... Read more

Products labeled “Made with organic…” may contain up to 30% non-organic ingredients. Non-organic ingredients must either be agricultural or on section 205.605 of the National List. Any nonagricultural ingredient or processing aid that does not appear on section 205.605 is prohibited in all organic products, including those labeled as “Made with organic…” Section 205.606 of the National List... Read more

Organic operations must keep records of all activities and transactions. Such records may include:

Input Records: Planting of seeds and applications of fertilizers or other materials must be documented. Animal Origin or Birth Records: Birth records must link organic calves to breeder stock and include birth dates or approximate birth dates. Medical Treatment Records: Treatments must be... Read more

An amendment to an existing registration is required when an operation has one or more of the following changes to their registration:

Addition of new facilities or growing locations in California Change of ownership Addition of production acreage A  change/addition of operation type(s).

A registrant shall notify the Department of any change in the information reported on the... Read more

This list details the most common situations that require you to send information or documentation to CCOF, and what type of information you'll need to send. Read through this list and contact your Certification Service Specialist with additional questions.    I want to change something in my Organic System Plan (OSP), what should I send? Update your OSP forms and send them to CCOF for review and... Read more
Before the Inspection: Organic System Plan (OSP): This is the central document of organic certification. The OSP must be completed before the inspection. The inspector will compare your OSP with their observations, interview, and audit of records. An excellent OSP includes all applicable sections and thoroughly answered questions, with all required attachments (labels, parcel maps, land history... Read more

Crops intended for human consumption and whose edible portion has direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles require a 120 day pre-harvest interval (PHI). A 90 day PHI is required for those crops whose edible portion does not come in contact with soil particles (i.e. orchard fruit). How the crop is grown and harvested with regards to soil contact will determine which pre-harvest... Read more

Organic inspections confirm that your operation meets the NOP standards and regulations both before you are certified and every year after for as long as you remain certified. Inspectors do this by confirming that what you say in your application, called an Organic System Plan (OSP), is what you are doing in practice. A CCOF-qualified inspector will conduct the inspection in an efficient... Read more