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U.S. Requirements for Imported Organic Products
All organic food that is sold as organic in the U.S. must be produced and handled in accordance with U.S. standards, as well as be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier. Organic food imported from other countries can be truly organic, provided that it meets the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP).
The intricacies of organic certification coupled with the dynamics of international trade makes for a complex system. From the land on which the product is grown to the producers growing the product, and from the post-harvest facilities preparing the product to the processing and handling facilities transforming the product, USDA-accredited organic certifiers must verify that organic integrity is maintained.
The USDA has accredited certifying agents (ACAs) in many foreign countries that help verify requirements of the NOP are being met for imported products. U.S.-based certifiers work with these certifiers under the USDA’s oversight to confirm that the organic integrity of organic agricultural products is maintained.