See below for Frequently Asked Questions about the OMRI application process, product review, and organic standards. Choose a tab below to view relevant FAQs in each subject area.
How will OMRI distinguish products listed in accordance with Canadian standards from products listed for U.S. (National Organic Program) organic production?
The approval of any input for organic use is at the discretion of the certifier. Products bearing the OMRI Listed® seal have been reviewed and determined to be allowed for organic use in accordance with U.S. NOP organic standards. These products may or may not meet the organic standards for use in accordance with Canada Organic Regime (COR) standards. Products reviewed in accordance with the COR will be listed in a separate OMRI Canada Products List©, published online especially for producers using this standard. In addition, OMRI seals have been developed specifically for products allowed for use in the U.S. (“OMRI Listed”), for use in Canada (“OMRI Canada”) or allowed under both standards (“OMRI USA/Canada”). For more information, see the OMRI Canada page.
What is the difference between the OMRI Products List and the OMRI Generic Materials List?
The OMRI Products List© and OMRI Canada Products List consist of individual brand name products that have been reviewed by OMRI and confirmed to be compliant with the National Organic Program or Canadian Organic Regime Standards, respectively.
The OMRI Generic Materials List© (GML) describes whether different generic substances, such as mined minerals and synthetic micronutrients, comply with the National Organic Standards. The GML is comparable to the Permitted Substances Categories for Canada. Brand name products on the OMRI Products List(s) are listed with a specific use Class and Category corresponding to the Generic Materials List or Permitted Substances Categories.
What is OMRI's shipping address for sending materials by private courier services like UPS?
If you're using a private courier service, such as FedEx or UPS, send your application to:
Organic Materials Review Institute
2649 Willamette Street
Eugene, OR 97405-3134 USA
Does my product qualify as a Repackaged Product?
If you would like to sell an OMRI Listed product under a different product or company name and you are not modifying the original OMRI Listed product in any way (including adding water), your product may qualify as a Repackaged Product. To be considered a Repackaged Product, you must hold the original OMRI listing, or purchase the product directly from the OMRI Listed supplier or an authorized distributor. Your Repackaged Product would also need to be listed in the same OMRI Class and standard (NOP and/or COR) as the original product.
Does OMRI have an expedited application process?
No. The best way to have your application reviewed quickly is to submit a complete application. This includes submitting completed forms and all supporting documentation for the final product and each ingredient as specified in the application. Complete applications are processed as quickly as possible in the order in which they are received. Applicants are encouraged to contact the OMRI application supprt team at (541) 343-7600 X 105 or at email@example.com prior to submitting their application packet to confirm that the application is complete.
I have already ordered the Application Kit. How can I receive extra copies of the application forms?
If you have already ordered an Application Kit, you will have received a user name and password in an email. If you also requested a hard copy Application Kit you should have received it in the mail as well.
Additional forms and checklists can be found on the Individual Forms and Checklist link located in the Applicant Menu available when you log into the website. In addition the OMRI Policy Manual and OMRI Standards Manual© can be found using the Manuals and Review Standards link, also located in the Applicant Menu. If you are having trouble accessing these documents, please contact OMRI.
Is there a list of consultants who can help with the application to OMRI?
While OMRI does not endorse or recommend any particular consultant, we maintain a list of consultants that have interest in helping with OMRI applications. Many have helped or have been involved in submitting applications to OMRI in the past. You may find the list of consultants here.
One of my ingredient suppliers is not willing to provide me with information about their formula or manufacturing process. How can I move forward?
OMRI has a system for handling confidential information from third parties. A Third Party Agreement allows an ingredient supplier to send proprietary information directly to OMRI. Only the third party and OMRI will be able to view this information, and OMRI will protect this information as it does any confidential information. Please contact OMRI for a copy of our agreement. OMRI must receive a third party confidentiality fee and the completed agreement, before the third party information is submitted. See our Review Cost page for more information about Third Party Confidentiality fees.
What is the cost of having a product reviewed to additional standards (NOP or COR)?
Products that are currently OMRI Listed® to one standard can be reviewed to additional standards (U.S. National Organic Program or Canada Organic Regime). See OMRI’s Review Cost page for the most current information about fees associated with review to additional standards.
What products are required to undergo an inspection?
OMRI performs inspections for one of three reasons: 1) High Nitrogen Liquid Fertilizer (HNLF) products must undergo two inspections annually; 2) For-cause inspections are conducted when an inspection is needed to verify certain information; and 3) Random surveillance inspections are conducted annually for 1% of all OMRI Listed products.
Products intended for use under the U.S. NOP organic standards that fall under the High Nitrogen Liquid Fertilizer category (defined as a liquid fertilizer with a nitrogen analysis or label claim of greater than 3% nitrogen) undergo one announced and one unannounced inspection annually per USDA policy. One announced inspection is conducted prior to the product being listed on the OMRI Products List and one unannounced inspection is conducted sometime in the first year after the product is added to the OMRI Products List. These two inspections will occur every year as long as the product is being sold to organic producers. For more information about the additional cost associated with these inspections see the Review Cost webpage. More information about inspections can be found in the OMRI Policy Manual or you are welcome to contact us at (541)343-7600.
Additionally, For-cause inspections and/or stream of commerce sampling may be conducted when there is cause to do so. More information about these types of inspections is available in the OMRI Policy Manual section §5.2. Fees may apply.
Finally, random surveillance is performed on 1% of all OMRI Listed products annually. Random surveillance consists of either stream of commerce sampling (buying the product and sending a sample into a lab for analysis), or through an inspection at the manufacturing site. Random surveillance is a part of OMRI’s ISO accredited procedures, and there is no additional cost for these tests or inspections.
Are there any products that OMRI will not review?
OMRI reviews input products for use in organic crop, livestock and processing production. However, some input products may be considered out of OMRI's scope for various reasons. Here is a list of product types that are considered to be out of scope for OMRI to review:
- Machines or other types of devices.
- Products that are not relevant to the organic standards, for instance products that are intended for aquaculture systems, bug spray for humans, or beauty care products. A product such as cat litter would be considered out of scope unless the label had a specific agricultural use that complies with the organic regulations.
OMRI’s Review Program routinely encounters difficult technical issues for which industry experts are consulted for guidance and interpretation of the organic standards. When a product review has an issue that is outside of OMRI's or other current written standards, OMRI’s policy is to place the product under “Unresolved” status for a maximum of 275 days while OMRI gathers evidence to help guide the review. If OMRI is unable to resolve the issue within the given timeframe, the application is forfeited and OMRI will refund the application fees. In certain cases where interpretation is needed from another regulatory body before making a decision, OMRI designates an unresolved issue as “Beyond Resolution,” and will no longer accept applications that pertain to that particular issue until the issue becomes resolved by the applicable regulatory body.
The following are current issues that OMRI considers to be Beyond Resolution, based on NOP standards:
ISSUE #1: Soy Protein Isolate
Use Class: Crop Fertilizers and Soil Amendments (CF)
Soy protein isolated using a synthetic acid that is not on the National List of allowed synthetics at 7 CFR 205.601. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has not determined whether or not this type of isolation causes a chemical change to the soy protein such that the isolate would be considered synthetic.
ISSUE #2: Passive pheromone dispensers
Use Class: Crop Pest, Weed, and Disease Control (CP)
Passive pheromone dispensers are eligible to use List 3 inert ingredients under 7 CFR 205.601(m). The definition is generally considered to include twist ties, ropes, coils and other retrievable dispensers where the active pheromone is not in contact with the crop. It is unclear if formulations that are applied to the crop and are not possible to retrieve may be considered passive pheromone dispensers.
ISSUE #3: Natamycin
Use Class: All Use Classes
Natamycin is a microbial substance that is EPA registered for use as a fungistat in mushroom production facilities. Although OMRI has determined that natamycin is a nonsynthetic material based on the Draft National Organic Program (NOP) Guidance on Classification of Materials (NOP 5033), the NOP has stated that this substance is not allowed under the NOP regulations and has instructed OMRI not to list products containing natamycin. The NOP has acknowledged that interested parties may submit a petition for natamycin’s use in organic production.
ISSUE #4: Polyoxyethylene nonylphenol (CAS# 9016-45-9)
Use Class: Crop Pest, Weed, and Disease Control (CP), Crop Tools and Production Aids (CT), Livestock External Parasiticides and Pesticides (LP), Processing Pest Control (PP) and Processing Sanitizers and Cleaners (PS)
Polyoxyethylene nonylphenol (CAS# 9016-45-9), a type of nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE), is identified as a List 4 inert in the 2004 EPA List of Inerts which are permitted at 7 CFR 205.601(m). However, OMRI understands that linear NPEs identified with CAS# 9016-45-9 are incorrectly identified, and that commercially available forms should be identified by a List 3 CAS number that denotes a branched structure. OMRI will no longer list products reporting the use of CAS# 9016-45-9, pending clarification from the National Organic Program.
The following are current issues that OMRI considers to be Beyond Resolution, based on COR standards:
ISSUE #1: Lactic Acid
Use Classes: Crop Fertilizers and Soil Amendments (CF)
Nonsynthetic lactic acid is allowed as a formulant in crop fertilizers and soil amendments, as identified in Table 4.2 of the Permitted Substances Lists. However, it is unclear whether lactic acid, produced by esterification and/or acid-base extraction, meets the definition of nonsynthetic at CAN/CGSB-32.310 subclause 3.39. OMRI has submitted this issue to the Standards Interpretation Committee but a final response providing clarification has not yet been published.
ISSUE #2: Gibberellic Acid
Use Classes: Crop Pest, Weed and Disease Control (CP)
Nonsynthetic gibberellic acid is allowed as a growth regulator for plants, as identified in Table 4.3 of the Permitted Substances Lists. However, it is unclear whether gibberellic acid, produced by esterification, meets the definition of nonsynthetic at CAN/CGSB-32.310 subclause 3.39. The Standards Interpretation Committee has not published a final response providing clarification.
Do I need to know the manufacturing process for all of my ingredients?
Generally, if an ingredient is nonsynthetic, you will need to submit a manufacturing process that verifies the nonsynthetic nature of the ingredient. You do not need to submit the manufacturing process for any permitted synthetic ingredients or any currently OMRI Listed® products, in most cases. If you are required to submit a manufacturing process and cannot get this information from the manufacturer, OMRI and the manufacturing company may enter into a third party agreement where the manufacturer may share that information directly with OMRI to preserve confidentiality.
What is an OMRI Class or Category?
Classes are part of the OMRI classification system that groups products with similar end use attributes. This helps to determine which standards are applied when reviewing the product for organic use and assists buyers in finding appropriate products. Applicants complete a Product Report form (which is included in the Application Kit) specific to the intended use of the product.
The OMRI Product Use Classes are:
Crop Fertilizers and Soil Amendments (CF)
Crop Pest, Weed, and Disease Control (CP)
Crop Management Tools and Production Aids (CT)
Livestock Feed Ingredients (LF)
Livestock Health Care (LH)
Livestock External Parasiticides and Pesticides (LP)
Livestock Management Tools and Production Aids (LT)
Processing Agricultural Ingredients and Processing Aids (PA)--NOP only
Processing Non-agricultural Ingredients and Processing Aids (PN)
Processing Pest Control (PP)
Processing Sanitizers and Cleaners (PS)
Processing Containers and Packaging Materials (PC)
An OMRI Category, or Listing, is a general type of materials used in organic crop production, food processing, and livestock production. Examples include “potting soil,” “fish meal” and “salt.” Products are listed in the OMRI Products List© and/or OMRI Canada Products List© according to their category. When applying for a product to be listed by OMRI, choose the material listing that best fits your product. Categories are a useful way for buyers to find a specific type of product.
What is required to request an additional use class for my product listing?
OMRI use classes describe the final use for a product under the organic standards, such as “Crop Fertilizers and Soil Amendments” (CF) or “Processing Pest Controls” (PP). Some products may be used in multiple ways by an organic producer. For example, a crop fertilizer is sometimes also used as a livestock feed ingredient. In those cases, the company may wish to list the same product under multiple categories on the OMRI Products List. When a company wishes to have a product listed under an additional use class, the following documents and all fees need to be submitted to OMRI:
- For products that are already OMRI Listed or in the process of being reviewed:
- Submit a Change Report, requesting the additional use class.
- Complete the appropriate Product Report for the new use class (for example, if the product is listed under Processing Sanitizers and Cleaners, and the supplier wants to also list the product under Crop Management Tools and Production Aids, the supplier would complete any item on the Product Report-Crop, that was not submitted with the original application).
- For new applications:
- Indicate each use class where you would like to have the product reviewed on the Product Information form.
- Complete Product Reports for all use classes selected on the Product Information form (see above for details).
When you are logged into the OMRI website, additional forms can be found on the Individual Forms and Checklists page. If you have any questions, please contact OMRI's application support team at 541-343-7600 x105.
- For products that are already OMRI Listed or in the process of being reviewed:
What is the difference between a single ingredient product and a multi-ingredient product?
Single ingredient products contain only one ingredient or feedstock. For example, if limestone was simply mined from the earth it would be considered single ingredient (non-added impurities would not count as a second ingredient in this instance). Water (or moisture) does not count as an ingredient while calculating the fee, but its percentage in the final product should be included on the Total Ingredient List. Products that consist of a single multi-ingredient product that is already OMRI Listed are also considered to be a single ingredient. This is different from a repack as it may contain water and/or be listed in a different use class.
A multi-ingredient product contains two or more ingredients or feedstocks (including ingredients that are OMRI Listed). These include products that consist of previously formulated multi-ingredient products that are not already OMRI Listed®. For example, a blended fertilizer with blood and bone meals that is not already OMRI Listed and is being packaged is a multi-ingredient product because the product contains two separate substances.
OMRI charges a product fee based on whether a product is single ingredient or multi-ingredient with the exception of water and OMRI Listed products. For a full explanation of fees, please see the Review Cost page.
Will OMRI securely guard the confidentiality of my formula and ingredient sources?
Yes, OMRI takes matters of confidentiality very seriously. OMRI policies on confidential information are outlined in section 1.6.1 of the OMRI Policy Manual.
What is the OMRI process for reviewing applications?
OMRI processes applications in the order in which they are received. Upon receipt, a Review Program Specialist will pre-review the application to ensure that all forms are complete. If they are not complete or clarification is needed, then the applicant will be contacted via email. Once the pre-review stage is complete, an OMRI Product Review Coordinator, or "reviewer," will be assigned to the product. This person is the primary contact for any questions about the progress of the product application from that day forward. The reviewer may ask for additional information relevant to the review of the product.
Once the application is complete, the reviewer prepares a summary and a recommendation for the application. The OMRI Review Panel then studies the summary and recommendation, and either votes on a product's status or requests more information. Products that comply are given an "Allowed" or "Allowed with Restrictions" status and are added to the OMRI Products List or the OMRI Canada Products List. Your reviewer will notify you within 12 business days after the Review Panel completes their decision-making process.
If the panel approves the application, OMRI issues a certificate and an approval letter. Also, OMRI includes the product on our website list search, and in the downloadable OMRI Products List or the OMRI Canada Products List. Finally, the appropriate OMRI seals are licensed to the company for use in association with the product.
How long does the review take?
The length of time for a product to complete the review process varies according to the type of product. OMRI does not guarantee the length of time needed to complete a review of an application. The average review time for new product applications is 4-6 months. Incomplete applications often take longer than average.
OMRI reviews applications in the order in which they are received. We cannot guarantee the length of time it will take to review an application. However, we will make every effort to advance the review as quickly as possible. The single most important factor in determining how long the review will take is whether the application arrives with all of the required information.
In order to assist customers in determining when their application should begin being processed, OMRI will update the table below each Friday.
Currently Picking Up Applications Received Last Updated 3/6/2017 3/17/2017
How do I maintain my product listing?
Annual Renewal (annually) Suppliers need to renew product and supplier listings and submit renewal fees annually to remain on the OMRI Products List or the OMRI Canada Products List. The annual renewal process ensures that OMRI Listed products continue to meet OMRI's standards and allows OMRI to maintain accurate listing information. This process is simple and does not require the submission of a full product application.
Ongoing Compliance Review (every 3-5 years) All OMRI Listed products will undergo a full Ongoing Compliance Review every 3-5 years to ensure that the product continues to conform to OMRI's standards. The Ongoing Compliance (OC) Review is required for OMRI’s ISO 17065 accreditation. OC applications must be returned by the deadline in order to keep the product listed.
Notification of Company and Product Changes (ongoing) OMRI Listed product suppliers must notify OMRI in writing 60 days prior to the implementation of any Product Changes specified in the OMRI Policy Manual Section 2.9. The downloadable Change Report form is available when you log in to the OMRI website and navigate to the Individual Forms and Checklist page found in the Applicant Menu.
The best way to maintain listings is to respond promptly and completely to all OMRI notifications, including Annual Renewals, Ongoing Compliance and requests for more information during reviews.
What do I need to submit to OMRI if I want to change my product?
If a product undergoes a change in formulation during the review process, the applicant is required to submit a reformulation fee along with all documentation regarding the change.
Suppliers of OMRI Listed products must notify OMRI in writing 60 days prior to the implementation of any product change. The Change Report form is used to report any modifications to a listed product, including changes to company information. This form can be found when you log into the website and navigate to the Individual Forms and Checklists page in the Applicant Menu.
Other changes, such as changes to the product name or product label usually do not incur a fee. For an up-to-date list of all fee amounts, see the Review Cost page on our website.
What is the OMRI process for annual renewal?
OMRI sends annual renewal notifications to suppliers with OMRI Listed products. Most companies complete their renewal using our online interface, but renewal packets are also available upon request. To renew, suppliers must complete the renewal and submit the applicable fees and other documentation requested. If the completed renewal, fees and other requested documentation are not received by the final deadline (5 business days prior to the product listing expiration date) the products are removed from the OMRI Products List and/or the OMRI Canada Products List.
Product listing renewal dates occur one year from the first day of the calendar quarter following the date a product is added to the OMRI Products List. Your renewal materials will indicate the due date by which all of the renewal documents and fees should be received by OMRI. Note that the early renewal due date is needed to allow time for processing the large number of renewals OMRI receives prior to the listing expiration date.
Suppliers with more than one OMRI Listed product will be prorated so that all of their renewals are due at the same time.
The renewal process allows OMRI to maintain accuracy of the information in the OMRI lists through:
- removing discontinued products
- updating information about suppliers and products
Once the renewal is complete, Listed suppliers will receive updated certificates for all OMRI Listed products.
If the renewal cannot be completed by the due date listed in the renewal notification, an authorized contact must request an extension. Only one extension can be granted, extending the deadline until 5 business days before the date listed on the OMRI certificate.
Please contact our Renewals Team at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about renewing your product listing.
When will I be notified of the Review Panel's decision?
The OMRI Review Panel studies your reviewer's summary and recommendation and either votes on a product's status or requests more information. Products that comply are given an "Allowed" or " Allowed with Restrictions" status and are added to the OMRI Products List and/or the OMRI Canada Products List. Applicants are notified within 12 business days after the Review Panel completes their decision-making process.
When the Review Panel approves the application, OMRI issues a certificate and an approval letter. Also, OMRI lists the product on the OMRI website list search and in the printed updates to the OMRI lists. Finally, the appropriate OMRI seals are licensed to the company for use in association with the product.
About OMRI Canada
Are genetially modified organisms allowed for use in Canadian organic production?
According to CAN/CGSB 32.310, materials that result from genetic engineering are not compatible with organic production. With the exception of vaccines, which may be grown on genetically modified substrate, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not permitted in products that are being reviewed to COR standards. All applicants to OMRI must declare in their application materials whether their final product or any ingredients are the product of genetic engineering. For specific high risk crops, such as corn, a review team member may request a declaration of genetic engineering status from the manufacturer.
Does the Canada Organic Office recognize OMRI's decisions about materials?
In accordance with a recent memo from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Certifying Bodies (CBs) that certify products to the Canada Organic Regime (COR) standards may choose to accept OMRI's determinations. They may also consult with OMRI in order to obtain the technical guidance necessary to review input products for compliance. Read the full CFIA memo: Input Verifcation under the Canada Organic Regime. The COO is allowing Canadian CBs to choose whether they will accept OMRI's material review determinations, and most accept an OMRI certificate for products reviewed to the COR standards. However, please check with your CB before using a new product in your certified organic operation.
How does OMRI review products for Canada?
Manufacturers submit an application with information about all ingredients and manufacturing processes, as well as additional information specific to the product Use Class and Category. The review process is conducted in accordance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) requirements for certification organizations. OMRI has established a Canadian Review Panel comprised of experts in the Canadian organic community to make final decisions regarding products for use in Canada. The OMRI Policy Manual© and OMRI Canada Standards Manual© provide a complete overview of the review process and are available by request or as part of the Application Kit order.
Is OMRI accredited under ISO 17065 to review input products to COR standards?
Yes, OMRI is ISO 17065 accredited by the USDA Quality Assessment Division (QAD) for input product review and listing under National Organic Program and Canada Organic Regime standards. See OMRI's ISO 17065 certificate.
Is the OMRI Listed seal permitted on all products sold in Canada?
In Canada, labeling for pesticide products and livestock feed ingredients is regulated by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), respectively. Currently, these agencies do not permit the OMRI seal on livestock feed ingredients or pesticide products sold in Canada. Although these products cannot display the OMRI seal, organic producers, certifiers and other customers can download the OMRI Canada Products List for a complete list of products OMRI has reviewed under Canadian organic standards.
In February 2013, the PMRA published a draft revision to the directive governing this issue that, if passed, will allow the OMRI seal on packaging. Specifically, the draft directive states that certain pest control products can be used in organic production, and that “…in the event that reliable assessment has confirmed, as part of the registration process, that a pest control product contains only active ingredients acceptable for organic production systems under the Canada Organic Regime…” then specific labeling language may be used.
OMRI is committed to seeking a resolution that permits all OMRI Listed products to display the appropriate OMRI seal. Please check back for updates on the use of the OMRI seal on pesticide and livestock feed labels. All OMRI Listed suppliers are responsible for ensuring that the use of the OMRI seal and all product labels are compliant with applicable regulations.
What is the cost of applying for OMRI Canada Review?
If your product is not currently OMRI Listed®, you will need to pay for a full product review, as detailed on OMRI’s Review Cost page. New suppliers will also need to submit a supplier fee with their application materials.
What is the difference between the OMRI Canada Products List and the OMRI Permitted Substances Categories?
The OMRI Canada Products List© consists of individual brand name products that have been reviewed by OMRI and confirmed to be compliant with the Canadian Organic Regime Standards.
The OMRI Permitted Substances Categories describes different generic substances, such as mined and synthetic micronutrients, comply with the Canada Organic Regime Standards and the permitted substances lists at CAN/CGSB 32.311.
Brand name products on the OMRI Canada Products List are listed with a specific use Class and Category corresponding to the Permitted Substances Categories for Canada.
Can I call my product "certified organic" once approved?
No. The term "certified organic" is reserved for food and fiber products that meet the organic standards. Organic operators look for the OMRI Listed® seal because it assures them the product has passed OMRI expert review for use as an input for organic production. Foods, fibers, and feeds are eligible to be called "certified organic" and carry the USDA's seal for organic products. Input products are used to grow, process, or produce organic foods, feed, or fibers including substances such as fertilizers, pesticides, and other materials used on the farm or in the food processing facility. They are typically not eligible to carry the USDA seal or use the term "certified organic." Inputs are either Allowed, Allowed with Restrictions or Prohibited for use in organic agriculture or food processing. Because the job of determining whether individual inputs products comply with the organic standards can be a tough one, OMRI is dedicated exclusively to this task. This means that OMRI is the most experienced reviewer available. OMRI also assists with the promotion of those inputs by licensing the OMRI seal and the use of the term OMRI Listed®, and by including these products in the OMRI Products List©, which is viewed and trusted by thousands of organic farmers and gardeners throughout North America.
Can I use Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in my product?
OMRI refers to the U.S. National Organic Standards definition of genetic engineering at Title 7 Part 205.105 (e) and 205.2 Excluded Methods for review of input materials and processes. Ingredients that meet this definition are not allowed in OMRI Listed products or in certified organic production.
Where can I get more information on organic food production in the United States?
Why is OMRI not USDA accredited as an organic certifier?
Agricultural products that are outputs of organic farms or processors (such as foods, fibers and feeds) can be USDA “certified organic.” Most input products (such as fertilizers, pesticides, additives, etc.) are ineligible for organic certification. However, inputs must be approved prior to use on a certified organic operation. OMRI reviews input products to verify that they meet the organic standards for use on organic farms or in organic processing. OMRI is recognized by the USDA NOP as a reputable 3rd party input reviewer in Interim Instruction 3012 of the NOP Handbook. In addition, OMRI is accredited under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Guide 17065 by the USDA Quality Assessment Division. USDA auditors confirm on an annual basis that OMRI adheres to the policy and standards set forth in the OMRI Policy and OMRI Standards Manuals, and by the U.S. organic standards. OMRI Listed products can use language such as “for organic use” or “for organic production” to communicate compliance with organic rules.
How do I determine whether my product or ingredient is synthetic or nonsynthetic?
The USDA National Organic Standards define synthetic as follows:
"A substance that is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process or by a process that chemically changes a substance extracted from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral sources, except that such term shall not apply to substances created by naturally occurring biological processes."
Determining whether a substance is synthetic can be a very technical task. OMRI recommends following these steps to help you determine whether a substance is synthetic:
- Search for your substance in the OMRI Generic Materials List© online, or in the printed copy. (if you are using the printed version be sure to check the OMRI website for the any updates). The OMRI Generic Materials List specifies for each substance whether synthetic or nonsynthetic versions of the substances are permissible for use in organic agriculture or organic food processing. The OMRI Generic Materials List is organized into three sections based on the product's intended use: CROPS, LIVESTOCK, and PROCESSING & HANDLING. Look for the “Use Class” that is specific to your products intended use.
- If you do not find the substance in the appropriate section of the OMRI Generic Materials List, or if you are still unsure whether your particular ingredient/product would be considered synthetic, look at the National Organic Program's website for the "Proposed Decision Tree to Distinguish Synthetic and Nonsynthetic Substances."
OMRI policy prevents our staff from providing specialized advice to any individual or company. However, if you have a question about whether a particular substance is synthetic and it is not answered by using OMRI's application resources, then please contact us. Please keep in mind that OMRI may not be able to determine whether a particular substance is synthetic without reviewing your complete application.
What are OMRI's policies for product labeling?
OMRI policies for product labeling are described in §2.7 and §4.2.2 of the OMRI Policy Manual©. Here are some tips...
- Company and product name on the label (or in bulk sales documentation) must match the information submitted on the application materials and listed on the OMRI Products List.
- The terms "USDA Organic," "certified organic," and "NOP organic" cannot be used unless the product is a food or fiber that is certified organic by an accredited certification agency. In all cases, the phrases "for organic use" and "for organic production" are permitted on OMRI Listed products. See the table below for specific rules.
- Processing Sanitizers and Cleaners (Class PS) products which contain any ingredient that is not on the National List of allowed nonagricultural substances at 205.605 must provide product users with use instructions (on product label or other information conveyed with the sale of the product) which include demonstrably effective methods to prevent contact between organic food and prohibited substance. Such instructions should include dilution and application rates and intervening events as applicable.
Specific rules for using the term "organic" on labels for products in the following classes identified by their two letter code in this table, the following rules should be observed:
Classes Rules CF, CT, LT, LH, PS, PN None beyond the general rule noted in the OMRI Policy Manual section 2.7.1. CP, LP, PP Must conform to rules promulgated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and, Rodenticide Act and specifically PR Notice 2003-1 for products used in the USA only. LF, PA, PN "Organic" is permitted with proof of relevant organic certification on the final product