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Certifying Organizations Active In California

May/June 1994

The University of California cannot verify all claims made by the certification organizations.

California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)

303 Potrero Street, Suite 51, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Telephone: (408) 423-2263 FAX: (408) 423-4528

Contact person: Diane Bowen, Executive Director

CCOF was formed in 1973 to define, develop and promote ecological farming practices, organic production and certification standards on which distributors, wholesalers, retailers and consumers could rely. CCOF is a non-profit association of member growers from California-based operations. CCOF also represents its membership in developing public policy and public education concerning organic agriculture and industry standards. CCOF certifies some processors of organic foods.

CCOF requires that growers keep written records of production practices and inputs and submit to field inspections on a yearly basis. In addition, farm specific membership, inspection and assessments fees are levied on a yearly basis. Membership and inspection fees are based on the number of parcels and whether or not the operation is totally organic. Assessments are 0.5% of the total gross sales of products sold as organic. CCOF will perform pesticide residue tests when indicated or necessary.

Farm Verified Organic, Inc. (FVO)

RR #1, Box 40A, Medina, North Dakota 58467

Telephone: (701) 486-3578 FAX: (701) 486-3580

Contact person: Annie Kirschenmann, Program Manager

FVO currently provides inspection, certification and educational services for those in organic agriculture and industry worldwide. Two types of certification services are offered: 1) certification of handlers and processors, and 2) certification of licensees that contract with organic growers for the purchase and subsequent marketing of the organic product. The relationship between growers and licensees is unique among certification agencies. Under a new Cottage Industry Program, small farm and processing operations can become FVO licensed and hold their own certification. The organization can assist growers with technical information through their advisory services and also has a certification management program. FVO is a for profit corporation working towards becoming a cooperative.

Growers must keep written records on production practices and inputs, and participate in farm inspections on a yearly basis. Inspection fees apply and under the regular licensing program are the responsibility of the licensee. The grower may or may not be expected to share a portion of this cost with the licensee. Under the Cottage Industry Program, growers are responsible for all fees. In addition, all licensed parties must pay a percentage of their actual net sales to FVO. FVO will perform pesticide residue tests when indicated or necessary.

Organic Crop Improvement Association, Inc. (OCIA)

3185 Township Road 179, Bellefontaine, OH 43311

Telephone: (513) 592-4983 FAX: (513) 593-3831

Contact person: Betty Kananen, Administrative Director



Box 200, Ballico, CA 95303 Telephone: (209) 632-6424

Contact person: Bill Reichle

OCIA is farmer-owned and operated with domestic and international chapters. Its strict "audit trail" can track product from the retail shelf back to the field in which it was grown. While OCIA International certifies processors and handlers as well as farmers, membership in OCIA-California, the California Chapter, is limited to farmers. OCIA is a non-profit organization.

Growers must keep written documentation of all production practices and inputs each year. Yearly farm inspections are mandatory. Flat fees are levied on a yearly basis for membership and certification. Inspection fees also apply and vary depending on farm size and the complexity of the operation. In addition, growers using the OCIA trademark are assessed 0.5% of the total gross sales of OCIA certified product. OCIA will perform pesticide residue tests when indicated or necessary.

Organic Growers and Buyers Association (OGBA)

1405 Silver Lake Road, New Brighton, MN 55112

Telephone: (612) 636-7933 FAX: (612) 636-4135

Contact person: Sue Cristan

OGBA is a corporate non-profit membership organization whose original goal was to provide a market link between organic growers and buyers for their mutual benefit. While this is still a priority, OGBA has expanded to include organic certification and education for producers, food handlers and processors of organic commodities throughout the US.

Growers must keep detailed records for production practices and inputs each year. Also, yearly farm inspections are required. Soil tests must be performed at least once every three years. Basic certification and inspection fees apply. Inspection fees are dependent on the operation's complexity.

Quality Assurance International (QAI)

12526 High Bluff Drive, Site 300, San Diego, CA 92130

Telephone: (619) 792-3531 FAX: (619) 755-8348

Contact person: Griffith McLellan, Director

QAI is an independent for profit organization dedicated to documenting the authenticity of organically grown and processed foods through certification to meet state and national standards. To be certified organic, QAI requires that growers demonstrate an ability to farm sustainably using ecologically sound practices while maintaining economic viability. Processors must also demonstrate an ability to maintain product integrity for all foods grown organically before becoming certified organic with QAI. QAI certifies those in organic agriculture and industry in the Western Hemisphere.

Growers must document all activities relating to the production of organic commodities including production practices and material inputs. Yearly farm inspections are mandatory. Annual fees are based on the size and characteristics of the operation. QAI will perform pesticide residue tests when indicated or necessary.

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) NutriClean Organic Certification Program

The Ordway Building, One Kaiser Plaza, Suite 901, Oakland, CA 94612

Telephone: (510) 832-1415 Fax: (510) 832-0359

Contact person: Eric Engbeck, Director

The Nutriclean Organic Certification Program is administered by SCS, a for profit organization that certifies organic producers and processors worldwide.

Growers must participate in yearly farm inspections and keep detailed records of all production practices and inputs. Soil tests must be performed annually. NutriClean certification also prohibits the use of some botanical pesticides. In addition, the company requires routine pesticide residue analyses in excess of state and federal law. Certification fees are dependent on farm size and characteristics.