The Grading and Verification Division (GVD) conducts accreditation assessments for certification bodies to determine conformance to the International Organization for Standardization Guide 65:1996 General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems. These assessments are conducted under the voluntary USDA ISO Guide 65 Program. GVD 1012 Procedure outlines the general requirements of the USDA ISO Guide 65 Program. These requirements must be met by the certification body to be recognized as competent and reliable. Adherence to the USDA ISO Guide 65 Program ensures that the certification body operates a third-party certification system in a consistent and reliable manner.
The USDA ISO Guide 65 Program is available to U.S. and international certification bodies that perform conformity assessment activities for livestock, meat, seed, or other agricultural products or services. Certification bodies may request accreditation to a variety of standards including, but not limited to, National Organic Program (NOP) (7 CFR Part 205)
, European Union Organic Regulations (EC No 834/2007 & 889/2008), Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS), and Livestock and Seed Program Marketing Claims Standards
. (NOTE: Certification bodies must be accredited to the NOP by the USDA National Organic Program and remain in good standing to be accredited to the NOP under the USDA ISO Guide 65 Program.)
Certification agencies that wish to participate in the USDA ISO Guide 65 Program must submit a completed GVD 1012A Checklist and submit it with the request for service.
Certification agencies that successfully pass the audit are listed on the Official Listing of Approved USDA ISO Guide 65 Programs.
The GVD is recognized as an accreditation body, conforming to ISO 17011:2004, by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) under the National Voluntary Conformity Assessment Systems Evaluation (NVCASE) Program. The scope of this recognition is limited to ISO/IEC Guide 65:1996; 7 CFR Part 205 (organic production, handling, and labeling requirements of the NOP covered mainly under subpart C and D and §§205.601 to 206.606); and EC No 834/2007 and EC No. 889/2008. For more information, please visit the NIST NVCASE Program Web site at http://gsi.nist.gov/global/index.cfm/L1-4/L2-38/L3-99