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CCOF Applauds USDA for Actively Working to Analyze Barriers to Organic Certification

by Jon Knapp |

USDA Responds to Request to Reduce Paperwork

(February 18, 2013) Santa Cruz, CA – Today, CCOF, the nation’s largest and oldest organic certifier, thanked the USDA for its response to a request for reduction of barriers to organic certification that are especially burdensome to small producers.

In order to label products as “organic,” producers must be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier. Many organic producers, particularly smaller growers, argue that certification requirements could be streamlined without compromising the integrity of the organic label.

“Burdensome paperwork that is redundant or duplicative drives up costs for producers, which are ultimately passed on to the consumer,” said CCOF Chief Certification Officer Jake Lewin. “Nearly 60% of the operations certified by CCOF fall within the USDA small producer designation.”

On November 29, 2012, CCOF wrote to the USDA suggesting a possible shift in the focus of certification and accreditation to ensure compliant practices on the ground, rather than on ensuring, for example, that a particular box is checked on a form. CCOF received a response from USDA on January 11, 2013, stating that the agency supports efforts to streamline certification and will conduct an evaluation to determine how to sensibly decrease the burden of certification without compromising organic integrity.

For more information and/or interviews with some of those listed in this release, contact Robin Boyle, (831) 423-2263, ext. 27,

About CCOF

CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers), a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1973 and is one of the nation’s oldest and largest third-party organic certifying agencies. CCOF certifies, educates, advocates, and promotes organic through:

  • A premier organic certification program for growers, processors, private labelers, and retailers.
  • Programs to increase awareness of and demand for certified organic product and to expand public support for organic agriculture.
  • Advocacy for governmental policies that protect and encourage organic agriculture.

CCOF certifies more than 2,500 organic operations in 33 states and three foreign countries and serves over 240 supporting members – consumers, suppliers, businesses and individuals – interested in supporting its work.