USDA — Efficient Accreditation and Complete Oversight
The National Organic Program (NOP), part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, was established by Congress in 2001 to develop and enforce uniform national standards for organically-produced agricultural products sold in the United States. NOP accredits private companies and helps train their inspectors to certify that farms and businesses meet the national organic standards. USDA and accredited certifiers work together to enforce the standards, ensuring a level playing field for producers, and protecting consumer confidence in the integrity of the USDA Organic Seal.
Creating Transparency through an Organic Integrity Database
In 2014, the NOP started developing an Organic Integrity Database, also known as INTEGRITY, to prevent fraud in the organic sector. INTEGRITY hosts up-to-date and transparent supply chain tracking information. NOP partnered with the Harmonia Holdings Group on the technology, as they were already a federal vendor at that time. This initial partnership lacked in-depth insights into the organic certification industry and its systems.
The NOP identified Intact as the leading source to provide access to the organic data provider community as we were already the market leader for audit and certification management solutions for the US organic industry. Intact brought highly specialized expertise for system requirements and design. INTEGRITY went live in September of 2015 after less than a year of conception and development with Intact.
“INTEGRITY is a great example of how technology investments and strong partnerships can support market integrity and development.”
INTEGRITY has received widespread praise from the organic community. Trade, industry, and consumers use the database for market analysis and to check the certification status of organic operations and products. Food processors are even using INTEGRITY to identify supply chain development opportunities.
In June 2016, the INTEGRITY team (NOP, Intact, and Harmonia) won an Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator’s Award for outstanding service delivery. Only three months later, the team was also awarded a US Department of Agriculture Secretary’s Honor Award for developing and launching INTEGRITY.
Efficient Accreditation for US Organic Certifiers
After partnering with Intact on the successful launch of INTEGRITY, the NOP also implemented the Intact Platform for auditing and accrediting certification bodies under the USDA organic regulations. NOP accredits private companies and helps train their inspectors to certify that farms and businesses meet the national organic standards. USDA and accredited certifiers also work together to enforce the standards, ensuring a level playing field for producers, and protecting consumer confidence in the integrity of the USDA Organic Seal.
The Intact Platform provides the NOP with a robust, standardized, yet flexible system for the accreditation of all certification bodies in the US organic sector and allows the NOP to work efficiently and cost-effective.