AMS No. 110-09
Billy Cox (202) 720-8998
Sam Jones (202)720-8998
WASHINGTON, June 9, 2009 - The U. S. Department of Agriculture announced today that the Audit, Review, and Compliance (ARC) Branch of the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Livestock and Seed Program has been formally recognized as a competent accreditor of certification bodies involved in organic production and processing. Recognition was granted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the National Voluntary Conformity Assessment Systems Evaluation (NVCASE) Program (15 CFR, Part 286).
AMS Acting Administrator David R. Shipman said, “This recognition provides domestic and international regulatory authorities with a high degree of confidence that firms accredited by AMS are competent. This recognition also will facilitate the acceptance of U.S. products in international markets.”
The ARC Branch was evaluated based on internationally accepted criteria for accreditors, ISO/IEC 17011. The criteria for technical operation were based on ISO/IEC Guide 65 for product certifiers, as well as the organic production, handling and labeling requirements of the National Organic Program and the EU regulations.
More information on the USDA ISO Guide 65 Program is available on-line at http://www.ams.usda.gov/arcaudits
or by contacting Samantha Simon, Program Manager, ARC Branch, on 540/361-7640 or by e-mail at: Samantha.Simon@ams.usda.gov