The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) requires that organic products be “certified” by independent third party certifying organizations to assure that the required organic standards for growing and production are met and the resulting products are qualified to include the organic seal on their label. Both the review and reporting process along with the agencies’ statuses as non-governmental bodies, provide for ethical review processes to assure there is no conflict of interest between the parties.
According to the USDA website, 80 certifying agents are currently accredited and authorized to certify operations to the USDA organic standards. Of these, 48 are based in the U.S. and 32 are based in foreign countries. The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) directly accredits most certifying agents. 21 additional certifying agents are authorized through recognition agreements between the U.S. and foreign governments.
Here are a few of the USDA-accredited certifying agency labels that can be found on organic products. These labels can be seen on their own or in concert with the USDA Certified Organic Seal.