USDA National Organic Program

Back in 1920's to 1940's writers in the United States and GreatBritain introduced the idea that the health of the product consumedinto the body had a direct correlation to health of a person. Theyadvocated for a new approach to farming based off this ideal. Sincethose times, things have come a long ways.

The Beginning of the NOP

The National Organic Program, or NOP, did not develop over night. Inthe 70’s, United States activists formed groups and created standardsby which they felt farmers should adhere to. Many farmers complied withgetting their products certified organic with what became theCalifornia Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) seal. This model soonbecame the model for the Organic Food Production Act of 1990.

Certified Organic Food in the ‘90s

Organic sales started sky rocketing in the 90’s and congress thensaw it fit to pass the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA).This was the beginning base of the National Organic Standards. Come1997, for the first time in the organic industries business, theNational Organic Standards Board (NOSB) fought for stricter standardson themselves. Rallied together in 2000, the consumers and industry membersbombarded the USDA with 275,000 petitions on the proposed NationalOrganic Standards (NOS) asking for tighter standards for the organicfarmers. In 2001, the USDA passed the NOP and it was officiallyimplemented on October 21, 2002 as the USDA National Organic Program,or NOP. From this date on all organic product that met the NOPstandards were labeled certified organic.

The Role of the NOP Today

 The NOP is responsible for all the developing, implementing andadministration aspects of organic agriculture products. Thisencompasses all the handling and labeling standards as well asaccreditation of foreign and domestic agents that inspect any aspect oforganic production to insure they meet the USDA guideline standards. Basically, what the NOP does is govern every stage of organic foodproduction. In order for any producer of food to be allowed to labeltheir product organic must first go through rigorous certification bythe NOP. This aids in protecting the consumer that the product theypurchase is 95% organically produced and safe for consumption as wellas know that what they are purchasing is truly organic. Business thatdo not exceed in sales over $5,000.00 are exempt from having to becertified, although still have to abide by the NOP standards and cannotclaim their product is USDA NOP certified organic.

What Organic Means to the NOP and USDA

 Organic simply means the difference in how one farmer produces orgrows his product compared to another. Organic products are grownwithout the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and weed controlchemicals. Traditional farmers use all of the previous. The beliefbehind organic farming is that it helps society out in many differentways. For instance, practicing of organic farming reduces pollution,conserves water, and encourages healthy soil. Organic farmers utilizecompost and manure to fertilize and feed their products. By rotatingcrops, tilling and pulling weeds manually, organic certified farmerslessen the weed production removing the need for chemical weed controlsused by traditional farmers. This reduces pollutants in the air andchemicals on product. They utilize natural forms of insect control suchas other insects less harmful to the crops, birds, and traps to reduceinfestation. Livestock for meat and milk byproducts are fed organic certifiedfood as well as natural habitat food. Stalls are kept very clean tohelp prevent livestock disease. Use of antibiotics is prohibited aswell as use of synthetic chemicals, artificial preservatives, oradditives such as sodium nitrates. The National Organic Programinspects and follows every phase of the production of certified organicmeats from the farm to the supermarket to ensure it is in fullcompliance of the USDA NOP standards. No one knows what tomorrow will bring in the organic productionfield, but one can take solace in knowing when they purchase USDA NOPcertified organic products they are not only aiding in the health ofthe environment but know exactly what it is they are consuming.
Monterey Bay Herb Company Organics

Monterey Bay Herb Company is certified organic by Quality Assurance International (QAI). Please visit our online catalog to see our full listing of Organic Spices, Organic Herbs, and Organic Teas.