ca.gov

California Department of Food and Agriculture

California Organic program

 

Inspection and Compliance Branch, oranges, cherries, avocados and squash


ORGANIC PROGRAM
1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814  •  916-900-5030  •  FAX 916-900-5347  • inspection_services@cdfa.ca.gov

CDFA’s Organic Program is responsible for enforcement of the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, and the California Organic Products Act of 2003. These statutes protect consumers, producers, handlers, processors and retailers by establishment of standards under which fresh agricultural products/foods may be labeled and/or sold as “organic”. The California Department of Public Health enforces laws pertaining to processed products marketed as “organic”.

Enforcement activities are coordinated with the California Organic Products Advisory Committee, the USDA and California County Agricultural Commissioners. Activities include: program administration, County biologist training, initiation of complaint investigation, registration of private certification organizations, and act as an information resource on the California Organic Products Act and California’s organic industry.

CDFA’s Organic Program is funded entirely by industry registration fees, a portion of which is used to support County enforcement activities.

ORGANIC REGISTRATION:

Every person engaged in the state of California in the production or handling of raw agricultural products sold as organic, and retailers that are engaged in the production of products sold as organic, and retailers that are engaged in the processing, as defined by the NOP, of products sold as organic, shall register with the State Organic Program. If the expected organic gross sales exceed $5,000, certification is required.

New and Amended Organic Registrations:
New and Amended applications for organic registration must be completed and submitted to the County Commissioner of the Principal County of operation prior to the first sale of the product. Amended applications are also required for any organic land additions to the operation.

Producers/Handlers/Processors should register their organic operations at least 14-21 days prior to the sale of their first organic product.

Renewing Organic Registration:
Each organic registrant must annually renew the registration unless no longer engaged in the activities requiring the registration. The State Organic Program will issue a renewal application 30 days prior to the expiration of the registration.

  • California State Organic Program has a NEW Online Registration Website. For quick and easy online registration, please select the “Online Registration” link below:

  • Online Registration Button

California State Organic Program Registration Guide:
This chart is intended to assist organic applicants in identifying the appropriate agency to contact in regard to organic registration.

DISTRIBUTION OF REGISTRATION FEES:

During the 2010 calendar year, approximately 54 percent (1,673 of 3,079) of all CDFA SOP organic registrants paid fees between $0 and $100; 22 percent paid fees between $175 and $300; 14 percent paid fees between $450 and $750; seven percent paid fees between $1,000 and $1,500; and, finally, three percent paid fees between $2,000 and $3,000.

During the 2010 calendar year, the average registration fee paid by a CDFA SOP registrant was $318.79. Accordingly, a typical CDFA SOP registrant pays approximately 0.18 percent of their gross sales for organic registration.

The following table outlines registration fees as a percentage of gross sales.

Distribution of Registration Fees - Organic


BECOMING ORGANIC CERTIFIED:

In accordance with the California Organic Products Act of 2003 and the National Organic Program if your annual gross sales are more than $5,000.00 you are required by law to be certified.

Attached is a list of accredited certification agencies in the state of California.

COST SHARE PROGRAM:

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided funds from the National Farm Bill to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to be distributed to operations that have been certified organic by a USDA accredited certifier. This program is intended to help offset costs of obtaining organic certification.

The applicant must submit the application form(s) along with a copy(s) of certification and copy(s) of the associated expenses required to obtain and/or maintain certification and the completed form STD 204 within the allotted time frame (see application requirements). Cost share applications are paid on a first come first served basis.

    Online Registration Button

Downloadable PDF forms for applications submitted by mail are below:

ORGANIC COMPLAINTS:

A complaint may be filed by any person alleging a violation or problem with an organic product or production process.  The California State Organic Program (SOP) accepts complaints via phone, email, fax, or mail.  SOP staff determines the appropriate entity to resolve the issue, e.g., accredited certifying agency personnel, county agricultural commissioner personnel, SOP inspectors, court administrators, or arbitration specialists. 

APPEALS AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS:

Under the California Organic Products Act of 2003 (COPA), organic operations have the right to appeal decisions made by certifying agents and the State Organic Program (SOP). These appeals may result in settlement agreements. Select the link below to view settlement agreements.

ORGANIC SALES REPORTS
Producer Acreage and Sales by County
Producer and Handler Sales by County
Producer Acreage and Sales Statewide Producer and Handler Sales Statewide

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) - USDA’s AFSIC staff have developed the following informational briefs in response to a significant level of interest: