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How to Get Your Organic Product USDA Certified
Having your product certified from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) not only assures your product's credibility to the general public but in some markets is a necessity in order to be sold. The USDA has outlined specific methods and processes to be accepted as certified. By following the steps necessary you can get your product certified by the USDA.
1. Figure out what type of certification your product requires. For example if you want to sell organic oranges you will need USDA organic certification. (See References 1) The process required to certify organic oranges is different from certifying seeds. Therefore you will need to research certification information.
2. Contact a certifying agent for your product. You can find a certifying agent for your location by visiting the USDA's website at www.usda.gov. Alternatively you can call their information hotline in the District of Columbia by calling (202) 720-2791. A certifying agent will be able to provide you with the specific requirements needed to get your product certified.
3. Follow the rules required for certification. Strictly adhere to the guidelines provided to get certified. Change equipment, tools, base materials and processes as necessary to fulfill the requirements for certification.
4. Keep detailed records and documentation of all methods used that are relevant to the certification process. You will need these records when submitting your application for certification as proof that you are following all of the guidelines.
5. Apply for certification. You will need to submit an application to a certifying agent. You will need to submit all relevant supporting material that show you have complied with the requirements needed to pass the certification process. In addition to the application the certifying agent will make an onsite inspection of your facilities to ensure that you are in compliance. If everything is in order your product will be certified.
6. Maintain certification process standards. After getting your product certified you will need to upkeep the standards that were necessary for you to receive certification. Depending on your product you may need to be re-certified every year and you may be subject to random inspections by the USDA.