Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants.
Organic agriculture produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics. USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use.
Organic farmers, ranchers, and food processors follow a defined set of standards to produce organic food and fiber. Congress described general organic principles in the Organic Foods Production Act, and the USDA defines specific organic standards. These standards cover the product from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives.
Organic farms and processors:
Over 25,000 farmers, ranchers and other businesses get many benefits from USDA organic certification. Many receive premium prices for their products through the growing $35 billion U.S. organic retail market. Most operations that grow, handle, or process organic products-and want to call their products organic-must be certified.
USDA has strengthened its oversight of organic products, using methods such as inspections and residue testing to ensure the integrity of organic products from farm to market. We've created a level playing field by developing clear standards, investigating consumer complaints and taking action against farmers and businesses that violate the law.