USDA Organic The CBD Store Seattle WA

National Organic Program | U.S. Department of Agriculture | | 202-720-3252

Regulatory References

  • USDA organic regulations. 7 CFR Part205 includes all USDA organic standards, including prohibited practices, requirements, and the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.
  • Program HandbookThis compilation of guidance documents, policy memos, and instructions is intended to clarify policies and assist those who own, manage, or certify organic operations with complying with NOP regulations.
  • Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. The Act established the NOP and its authority to enforce agricultural products sold, labeled, or represented as “organic” within the U.S.
  • Preamble. If you are interested in the history of the NOP standards, you may want to review the preamble to the final rule, which established the National Organic Program.

  • What is organic?

    Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced and processed using approved methods. These methods integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.

  • Who is affected by the USDA organic regulations?

All products that are sold, labeled, or represented
as organic must meet all requirements in the USDA
organic regulations. Products must be certified organic by a USDA-accredited certifying agent. The USDA organic regulations ensure that organically labeled products meet consistent national standards.


Exceptions. Operations whose gross agricultural
income from organic sales is less than $5,000 do not
need to be certified in order to sell, label, or represent their products as organic. These operations also do not need to prepare an organic systems plan. However, they must still comply with all other USDA organic regulations. Exempt operations may use the word “organic,” but may not use the USDA organic seal on their products. Retail food establishments that sell organically produced agricultural products do not need to be certified.

  • What are the USDA organic requirements?

The organic standards describe the specific
requirements that must be verified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent before products can be
labeled organic. An overview of some of the crops,
livestock, and handling standards are provided below. Please note that all organic operations must comply with all requirements in the USDA organic regulations.

  • Crop Standards

The organic crop production standards require that:

● Land must have had no prohibited substances
applied to it for at least 3 years before the
harvest of an organic crop.

● Soil fertility and crop nutrients will be
managed through tillage and cultivation
practices, crop rotations, and cover crops,
supplemented with animal and crop waste
materials and allowed synthetic materials.

● Crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be
controlled primarily through management
practices including physical, mechanical, and
biological controls. When these practices
are not sufficient, a biological, botanical, or
synthetic substance approved for use on the
National List may be used.

● Operations must use organic seeds and other
planting stock when available.

● The use of genetic engineering, ionizing
radiation and sewage sludge is prohibited.
National Organic Program | U.S. Department of Agriculture |


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