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Posts tagged: National Organic Program

Organic 101: Complaints and How They’re Handled

This is the fourth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

When the National Organic Program (NOP) declared in late 2009 that it was the beginning of the “age of enforcement,” it renewed its mission to protect the integrity of the USDA organic seal and the products labeled organic.

Enforcement efforts are a critical part of that mission, and investigating violations of the organic standards alleged by complaints is an integral component of the NOP’s work. Read more »

Eggstra! Eggstra! Learn All About Them

Click to view the full version of our Certified Egg Facts infographic.

Click to view the full version of our Certified Egg Facts infographic.

Whether you prepare them for Easter dinner or as part of a Passover Seder Plate, eggs will certainly be the rave this weekend.  Coupled with egg dyeing, decorating, or hunting, it’s likely that you will find yourself searching for eggs in the super market. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) wants to pass along some information to help make your trip to the store a success.

When strolling down the dairy aisle, you will see that the egg displays are full of several brands, each garnering various grading shields and marketing claims.  Remembering a few key points will help you make an informed and egg-celent choice: Read more »

Organic 101: What the USDA Organic Label Means

This is the third installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

Organic certification requires that farmers and handlers document their processes and get inspected every year. Organic on-site inspections account for every component of the operation, including, but not limited to, seed sources, soil conditions, crop health, weed and pest management, water systems, inputs, contamination and commingling risks and prevention, and record-keeping. Tracing organic products from start to finish is part of the USDA organic promise.

Organic certification requires that farmers and handlers document their processes and get inspected every year. Organic on-site inspections account for every component of the operation, including, but not limited to, seed sources, soil conditions, crop health, weed and pest management, water systems, inputs, contamination and commingling risks and prevention, and record-keeping. Tracing organic products from start to finish is part of the USDA organic promise.

Amidst nutrition facts, ingredients lists, and dietary claims on food packages, “organic” might appear as one more piece of information to decipher when shopping for foods.  So understanding what “organic” really means can help shoppers make informed choices during their next visit to the store or farmers’ market. Read more »

Organics Take A Major Step Forward with U.S.-EU Partnership

EU Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş (left) Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that the United States and the European Union formed a partnership that will recognize the two organic programs as equivalent and allow access to each other's markets. The announcement was made at the BioFach World Organic Fair in Nuremberg, Germany on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. Photo courtesy of the European Commission.

EU Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş (left) Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that the United States and the European Union formed a partnership that will recognize the two organic programs as equivalent and allow access to each other's markets. The announcement was made at the BioFach World Organic Fair in Nuremberg, Germany on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. Photo courtesy of the European Commission.

Travis Forgues is an organic dairy farmer in the town of Alburgh in northwest Vermont, almost at the Canadian border and surrounded on three sides by Lake Champlain. Like many of the other dairy farmers in northern Vermont, Travis is a realist. He went to college. He tried city life. But he was born into farming, and that’s how he wanted to raise his own family. So Travis went to his dad and had a talk about organic farming, and he convinced his father, and then many others, to convert their land from conventional agricultural practices to organic. As Travis saw it, organics was a growing niche within American agriculture, and consumer demand for organically produced dairy was taking off. Better still, consumers were willing to pay more for organic products. Today, as a result of Travis’ work, nearly 130 dairy farmers across New England have signed on to the “New England Pastures” organic dairy cooperative for Organic Valley. Read more »

Redefining Agricultural Marketing

The Market News Room at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in February 1947. USDA Market News reporters have provided almost a century of insight for farmers and commodity trading.

The Market News Room at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in February 1947. USDA Market News reporters have provided almost a century of insight for farmers and commodity trading.

Over the years, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has changed and evolved to meet the regulatory, statutory and market demands of U.S. agriculture.  The agency’s role, its name and place within the structure of USDA have all evolved over the years.  What hasn’t changed is the commitment to helping U.S. farmers successfully compete domestically and worldwide. Read more »

Super Bowl Concessions Go Organic and Local

Fans at the Lucas Oil Stadium, pictured here, will be served three flavors of chili made from organic and locally grown ingredients.  The USDA’s National Organic Program oversees the certification of USDA organic products.  (Photo by Carl Van Rooy)

Fans at the Lucas Oil Stadium, pictured here, will be served three flavors of chili made from organic and locally grown ingredients. The USDA’s National Organic Program oversees the certification of USDA organic products. (Photo by Carl Van Rooy)

There’s a new menu item in town for the Super Bowl: white bean chili made with organic beans and vegetables.  The push to bring organic and locally-grown options to the concession stand came from a partnership between non-profits that support family farms, celebrities and Centerplate, the NFL’s largest concession provider.

The USDA National Organic Program—within the Agricultural Marketing Service—oversees the certification of USDA organic products.  We also certify third-party agents around the world to uphold the integrity of the organic label. Read more »