The USDA’s Organic Program (NOP) is changing its approach to oversight of imports from India. 

The USDA is ending its recognition agreement that had allowed Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority accredited certifiers to provide USDA organic certification in India. The APEDA is an apex body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the government of India.

This decision has started a transition period that will allow Indian organic operations certified by APEDA-accredited certifiers to apply for direct certification by USDA-accredited certifiers to the USDA organic standards. Certification by USDA-accredited certifiers will be required for products exported from India to the United States.

This transition will help mitigate the market impact of this change. During this period, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which oversees the NOP, will work closely with certifiers to communicate the transition process and assess progress. They will also heighten its market surveillance and will closely communicate with APEDA about enforcement needs.

The timetable for how the transition will work is:

  • By July 12 2021, to continue to export to the United States, current organic operations in India will need to have applied for certification with a USDA-accredited organic certifier.
  • By mid-March 2021, USDA certifiers will be able to list these organic operation applicants in India in the Organic Integrity Database, to help U.S. buyers verify that a farm or business in India has applied for NOP certification.
  • After July 12 2022, USDA organic certification by a USDA-accredited certifier will be required to import organic products from India to the United States.
  • APEDA-accredited certifiers may apply to NOP for direct accreditation by the USDA organic program at any time.
  • Organic certifiers and operations in India are responsible for ensuring compliance to any additional Government of India export requirements, including TraceNet reporting and documentation.

For more information on the transition or on how to apply for certification, please visit the USDA’s website.

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