Retailers who sell organic goods are not required to obtain organic certification. National Organic Program (NOP) standards considers retailers, including retail food establishments, exempt from certification, even if they sell organic agricultural products.
Exemption from certification does not mean exempt from responsibility. According to NOP policy, retailers who sell organic goods are still 100% responsible for verifying and maintaining the organic integrity of those products.
While certification is not required by law, a retailer may apply for voluntarily organic certification.
Currently there are no set standards for retailer certification in place, so voluntary organic certification can be tricky business. Many organic advocates believe that specific and clear regulations for retailers must be developed as soon as possible. However, until that time, retailers who are interested in voluntary certification should speak with their local accredited certifying agent.
Information is updated as of March 2011.