US certifications up 25%

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The number of operators seeking organic certification for the United States through Australian Certified Organic, ACO, has increased by 25 per cent since 2013.

The National Organic Program, or NOP, is one of many programs run by the United States Department of Agriculture.

NOP certification has overtaken other popular international organic certifications like IFOAM as the accreditation of choice.  ACO was one of the first international certification bodies to gain NOP accreditation and has over 270 clients accredited to the scheme.

Most products being certified to NOP are beef, wine and grain. The United States is the largest market for Australian certified organic meat, therefore beef and lamb producers are encouraged to apply for NOP certification when they apply for ACO certification.

Chief certifier with ACO, Michael Baker, says products being certified to NOP are not necessarily being exported directly to the States. He says, “A lot of manufacturers are requiring suppliers to certify to a number of different standards, not just one. We’re seeing Asian companies in particular requiring suppliers to have NOP so that products have broad market access.”

Michael met with certifying bodies in the United States earlier this year and attended NOP training. ACO is also a member of the Accredited Certifiers Association, an association set up to support USDA accredited certification bodies.

“We are still getting a lot of inquiries about NOP certification so the interest in this accreditation is not slowing down any time soon,” Michael says.

For more information about NOP certification call 07 3266 5996 or email info@aco.net.au.