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OMRI receives ISO-65 accreditation of product certifications

EUGENE, ORE. (March 4, 2008) - The OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) Review Program has achieved USDA accreditation under International Organization for Standardization Guide 65:1996 (ISO-65). Best known for its work as an independent nonprofit certifying the compliance of fertilizers, pesticides, and other inputs to organic agriculture, OMRI received final notice of ISO-65 accreditation for its product certifications at the end of January 2008.

OMRI had already implemented a new quality control system in May, 2007 to comply with ISO-65 guidelines. Among other improvements, the new system builds upon OMRI's trusted input certification process with random inspections of a small percentage of OMRI Listed products and associated production facilities.

“ISO accreditation represents a milestone for OMRI in terms of formal recognition of our input product certifications as well as increased quality control in accordance with internationally recognized standards,” said Miguel Guerrero, OMRI marketing director.

Official ISO-65 accreditation represents the culmination of a long-term project for the Eugene, Oregon-based organization after two years of standards and policy development, including a public comment period. The USDA completed a desk audit last fall, and in December 2007, two agency auditors visited the OMRI office for a two-day intensive review of the quality system and records.

“Our recent accreditation under ISO-65 by the USDA identifies that we have an acceptable quality system that uses National Organic Regulations as its standards to certify input products,” explains OMRI executive director David DeCou.

Changes implemented to achieve ISO accreditation have greatly improved the organization’s ability to monitor ongoing product compliance. The new quality control system displays a strengthened commitment to do random inspections of facilities and unannounced sampling of product from the stream of commerce.

“Our ISO quality system moves us significantly forward in compliance monitoring of our products,” explains DeCou, “OMRI's policies now require that we re-review every product every three years and audit at least one percent of our clients every year.”

OMRI currently works with over 600 companies in its Review Program. This year’s OMRI Products List, an annual directory of all products OMRI has determined are allowed for organic agriculture or food processing and handling, has almost 1,600 products.