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National Organic Program (NOP)

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Definition:

The National Organic Program (NOP) was developed after congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990. After OFPA was passed, the OFPA then mandated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) develop more uniform national standards for organically produced agricultural products, hence the NOP was created.

The NOP, now a marketing program within the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, develops, implements and administers national production, handling, and labeling standards.

These various standards help assure consumers that any agricultural products marketed as organic are consistent and uniform in quality. The NOP regulations do not address food safety or nutrition and as of yet, are not as comprehensive when it comes to organic products outside the arena of edible agriculture. For example, organic textiles and organic body care are not as heavily addressed by the NOP as food and beverages.

The first national organic standards and organic certification program were initiated based on recommendations of the 15-member National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) - a team appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, along with ideas gleamed from various state, private and foreign organic certification programs.

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