USDA, organic, food regulation, food policy

Document Type



With an increasing amount of organic imports and steady growth in the organic sector, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) needs additional enforcement resources to oversee a growing and evolving organic marketplace. California has the most efficient, robust organic enforcement in the U.S. because it has a state-administered organic enforcement program, the California State Organic Program (SOP). Based on the costs and benefits of the SOP, additional state organic programs are a viable means to increasing NOP enforcement resources when they are established in states where additional enforcement adds value to the state’s organic sector, organic stakeholders are highly engaged, and the state department of agriculture does not have a conflict of interest. Moreover, state organic programs should be structured to ensure high accountability, streamlined paperwork, and fair funding sources. By increasing enforcement resources through state organic programs, NOP and organic stakeholders will protect consumer confidence in the integrity of the organic seal.