Organic 401a Inspections And Certificates

Organic 401a – Inspections and Certificates

May 28, 2008

Increasingly, we have received requests to provide transaction certificates for each organic coffee purchased from us.  Generally this occurs as the roaster is being inspected for organic certification, and usually after some kind of prompting from the organic inspector.  We understand each of your concerns regarding the desire to make that process go smoothly as we receive annual organic inspections of our transactions and our facilities as well.

Current USDA/NOP regulations (i.e. those laws and rules that govern the lawful status of organic products in the United States) do not require transaction certificates for each organic coffee. Although some other importers routinely send transaction certificates out, this is an unnecessary expense which I would imagine is accounted for somewhere…  The USDA/NOP regulations only require that you provide to your inspector valid certification proving the company from which you purchased your organic product is certified organic and meets the USDA/NOP standards and requirements. In other words, Vournas Coffee Trading’s organic certificate, issued by CCOF, is sufficient to meet your inspection and recordkeeping needs as proscribed by the United States National Organic Program regulations.  While this might be news to you, it should not be news to your organic inspector.  Keep in mind, transaction certificates are an additional form of revenue for certifying agencies such as QAI and OCIA – that is why they ask for them.

Bottom line: I will gladly provide assistance to you and/or your inspector should either desire assistance.  I have spent many hours researching these specific issues with federal agencies, local and state organic inspection agencies and state health departments.  Our position is supported in writing from our USDA/NOP approved inspection agency, CCOF.  If you still wish to have transaction certificates despite the above info, we can gladly obtain these for you.  There is a fee associated with these certificates – please call for further information.

While organic certification issues may seem as clear as an espresso, please rest assured that all of us at Vournas Coffee Trading stand behind you and will work with you and your inspection agency to ensure your inspection proceeds without difficulty or delay.  Please do not hesitate to call our office and ask for me should you or your inspector wish to discuss this issue further.