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National Organic Program
 
Appeals  
What is an Appeal?
An appeal is a formal request that a higher authority reexamine a decision of another body. Organic operations and certifying agents have the right to appeal decisions made by certifying agents or the National Organic Program. Additional information is provided below.




Who Reviews Appeals?
Appeals are reviewed by the Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator. The appeal file is prepared by the NOP Appeals Team, which consists of staff in USDAís Compliance and Analysis Program. The Compliance and Analysis Program is a separate Program from NOP, and not part of original certification or accreditation decisions. Therefore, appeals are independently reviewed in an unbiased manner.




How do I Appeal?
Organic Operations. Operations are certified to the USDA organic standards by USDA-accredited certifying agents. A prospective operation may appeal a certifying agentís decision to deny their organic certification. Certified operations may appeal a certifying agentís proposal to suspend or revoke their organic certification due to a regulatory non-compliance. Non-compliances are typically identified by certifying agents or the National Organic Program during annual inspections or investigations of regulatory violation complaints. Information on how to appeal:


Certifying Agents. Accreditation authorizes private, foreign, or State entities to certify farms or processing facilities to the USDA organic standards. A prospective certifying agent may appeal the National Organic Programís decision to deny accreditation. An accredited certifying agent may appeal the National Organic Programís proposal to suspend or revoke their accreditation due to regulatory non-compliance. Non-compliances are typically identified during initial or mid-term audits by the National Organic Program or the USDA Grading and Verification Division. Information on how to appeal:




What About Past Appeals?
To access information regarding actions on a specific appeal or settlement agreement, visit the NOP Reading Room and select the appropriate type:
  • Appeal Closure Without a Decision
  • Appeals Decisions
  • Appeal Dismissals
  • Appeal Waiver of Hearing
  • Settlement Agreements




Questions?
Contact the NOP Appeals Team
(202) 720-6766 | NOPAppeals@ams.usda.gov

 
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  Last Modified Date: 11/09/2011