To assure the public that organic fruits and vegetables bearing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s organic seal are produced in accordance with strict rules and regulations, the National Organic Program requires that growers with organic sales of more than $5,000 per year be certified by a USDA-accredited certification agency. There are more than 50 domestic certification agencies and about 40 accredited foreign agencies.
Some critics, however, have tried to cast doubt on the veracity of the certification process saying that the practice creates a conflict of interest, and that certifiers hired by growers to inspect their growing operations can’t always be trusted to provide objective results.
Organic growers, however, are skeptical of these claims.
Samantha Cabaluna, vice president of communications and marketing for Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista, Calif., said those critics don’t paint an accurate picture of how the certification process actually works.