Organic certifier hosts industry forum to reflect on the past and discuss the future of organic certification

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Quality Assurance International (QAI) celebrated 30 years of leadership in organic certification by bringing together the brightest minds in the food industry and organic community. At a recent anniversary celebration, representatives from industry and the regulatory community discussed the evolution and future growth of organic, and received a preview of newly proposed National Organic Program rules.

“Looking back at all that QAI has been accomplished in the past 30 years inspires me to imagine all the great things to come in the next 30,” said longtime QAI client Bob Kaake, Organic and Natural Technical Director at General Mills.

Founded in 1989, QAI pioneered the organic certification of processed products prior to the establishment of the USDA National Organic Program regulations. Working with Senator Patrick Leahy and other members of Congress, QAI helped push for a federal organic standard with the passing of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. Today, QAI is one of the leading providers of organic certification services worldwide.

Attendees at QAI’s 30th anniversary event reflected on the organization’s history and discussed hot topics in the organic industry, including organic food fraud, supply chain management and regenerative organic agriculture. Notable speakers included:

  • Jennifer Tucker, Ph.D., Deputy Administrator of the USDA National Organic Program
  • Laura Batcha, CEO of the Organic Trade Association
  • Shannon Anderson, Brand Manager at Kashi
  • Tim Raile, Certified Transitional Farmer with Raile Farms (supplier to Kashi)
  • Nik Ingersöll, Cofounder and CMO of Barnana
  • Tina Owens, Senior Director of Agricultural Funding & Communication at Danone North America

“Today’s supply chains include the farm, aggregator, processor, broker, shipper, wholesaler and retailer,” said Jennifer Tucker, Ph.D., Deputy Administrator of the USDA National Organic Program. “Independent certifiers like QAI are increasingly sharing information across businesses, which enables the NOP to conduct more supply-chain surveillance and detect fraud at the source. That kind of work is really the future of fraud prevention.”

In a special presentation, Shannon Anderson, Brand Manager at Kashi, Tim Raile, Certified Transitional Farmer with Raile Farms, and Lauren Browning, Business Development Manager of QAI, discussed how QAI’s Certified Transitional program is helping grow organic acreage in the U.S. “By buying a Certified Transitional ingredient, you’re assuring a stable supply of organic products in the future and empowering conventional farmers to enter and grow in the organic market,” said Raile.

As part of the event, QAI showed a video featuring longtime employees discussing the evolution of the organic business. “As a pioneer in the organic industry, QAI continues to innovate to help move the industry and certification standards forward,” said Alexis Randolph, Senior Technical Manager at QAI.

In addition to organic certification, QAI offers transitional, kosher, natural personal care, social responsibility and food safety certifications. For more information on QAI, please visit qai-inc.com or contact Lauren Browning at lbrowning@qai-inc.com. For media inquiries, please contact Lindsay Karpinskas at media@nsf.org or +1-734-773-4194.

Founded in 1989, Quality Assurance International (qai-inc.com) is the leading provider of organic certification services verifying organic integrity throughout the supply chain. Additional certification services under parent company NSF International include transitional, non-GMO, plant based, social responsibility and food safety. QAI remains dedicated to the environment, while providing educational outreach to the organic community, customers and consumers. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., the company has grown to include operations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the European Union.

  1. QAI celebrated 30 years of leadership in organic certification by bringing together the brightest minds in the food industry and organic community. Pictured here, Jennifer Tucker, Ph.D., Deputy Administrator of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), discusses the latest on organic fraud prevention with event attendees.
  2. A panel discusses the future state of the organic industry featuring Tina Owens, Senior Director of Agriculture Funding and Communication at Danone North America, Laura Batcha, CEO of the Organic Trade Association, and Nik Ingersöll, Cofounder and CEO of Barnana.
  3. Shannon Anderson, Brand Manager at Kashi, Tim Raile, Certified Transitional Farmer with Raile Farms, and Lauren Browning, Business Development Manager of QAI, discuss how QAI’s Certified Transitional program is helping grow organic acreage in the U.S.
  4. As part of QAI’s 30th anniversary event, Barnana Cofounder and CEO Nik Ingersöll shares the key to innovation and success in the organic industry.