Apr 10, 2024
USDA releases National Organic Program review

The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) has published the 2023 annual peer review report and its response.   

“As part of its commitment to continuous improvement, NOP implements an annual peer review to evaluate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s accreditation program,” according to a news release. “The annual review helps strengthen NOP’s organic accreditation, oversight, and enforcement program.”   

USDA National Organic Program logo sealAn independent third party conducts the review following the process described in the Organic Foods Production Act and NOP Handbook document, NOP 1031 Peer Review of National Organic Program Accreditation.  

The annual peer review report includes observations and positive feedback about several areas of program operations.

During the assessment, peer review team members identified six observations classified as comments. According to the report, the comments are considered by NOP as examples of good practices in the accreditation process.

The comments regarded:

  • Procedures to add an “archived watermark” to obsolete documents.
  • NOP’s policy to keep records indefinitely;  a new retention and disposition plan is being developed.
  • The NOP’s Quality Manual and references to Corrective and Preventive Actions.
  • The need to maintain optimum staffing levels and training to ensure NOP has adequate staffing for the Strengthening Organic Enforcement program.
  • Efforts to reduce the timeline for mid-term and renewal assessments.
  • Increasing staffing for appeal reviews and recommendations.

Be sure to check out our other specialty agriculture brands