AB 856 Update
(September 1, 2011) On August 24th, the National Organic Program (NOP) posted a letter dated July 12, 2011, on its website . (Scroll to NOP News at the bottom of the page.) The letter to California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) from then Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Rayne Pegg states that CDFA must obtain ISO-65 accreditation in order to receive NOP recognition of its program to review Organic Input Materials (OIM). Until CDFA obtains that accreditation, I am unsure how its OIM reviews for compliance to the NOP will be affected. I anticipate that CDFA will continue to accept registrations, as required by California law.
Accredited certifiers and OMRI currently carry ISO-65 accreditation, which is an extensive process that ensures the organization is capable of conducting certification/input review, maintains a trained staff qualified to do the work, maintains an updated policy manual and appropriate documentation, has an established published appeals process, and meets various other requirements to ensure a robust quality system.
I will learn more when I attend the next AB 856 Subcommittee meeting. One agenda item that I anticipate is a discussion about the definition of OIM. The meeting is open to interested stakeholders and begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday, September 15, at 2800 Gateway Oaks Drive in Sacramento. I enjoy meeting suppliers of OMRI Listed® products, so please be sure to introduce yourself to me if you attend the meeting.
You may contact Maria.Hicks@cdfa.ca.gov to be added to an email list of parties interested in AB 856. You will receive notices of upcoming meetings and other opportunities to participate in the ongoing discussion about this law.
Feel free to contact me with questions and comments about this important issue.