The NOSB also recommended regulations for organizations that test and certify pesticides, fertilizers and other products used in organic production. The owner of a California company recently pleaded to falsifying paperwork on ingredients of supposedly organic fertilizer; tests proved he was using unapproved synthetic materials.
Currently NOP accredits third-party organic certifiers for crops, livestock, handling and wild harvest, but not for the review of fertilizers and other materials.
Foster said organizations that review those materials bear a unique burden and there must be controls in place to ensure they are qualified.
The Organic Trade Association has called for an accreditation process for material review entities, saying uniformity at the federal level would go a long way in guaranteeing the integrity of organic operations, according to a regulatory update written earlier this year by OTA’s associate director for organic standards and industry outreach Gwendolyn Wyard.
Members of the standards board recommend that accreditation of material review organizations include:
u A requirement that they use the NOP material classification guidance — which is still in development — to determine whether a material is synthetic or non-synthetic;
u Implementation of a quality management system with detailed review protocols and policies as required by ISO Guide 65 accreditation standards;
u Mandatory use of the NOP’s guidance for permitted generic substances, which is under development; and
u A requirement that part of their financing come from manufacturers of products seeking review.
The standards board also recommended that material review organizations be subject to compliance and enforcement actions of the NOP.
McEvoy’s memo did not indicate whether the NOP would develop an accreditation process for material review organizations. He merely said the NOP would report back to the NOSB “on how we plan to proceed with these recommendations.”