National Organic Program Handbook

Guidance & Instructions for Accredited Certifying Agents & Certified Operations

The contents of this web page do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. The following is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

The goal of the Handbook is to provide those who own, manage, or certify organic operations with guidance and instructions that can assist them in complying with the USDA organic regulations. It is important to note that the National Organic Program (NOP) Handbook is non-binding and any citation issued needs to reference the USDA organic regulations.

Available Formats

The NOP is no longer publishing print versions of the Handbook. It is now designed to be used electronically.  The handbook sections can also be printed by the user.

Staying Current

The National Organic Program issues notices to trade and email updates to inform the organic community on a wide range of functions, including regulatory updates, requests for public comments, and USDA programs and services.  Subscribe to Email Updates| View Notice to Trade Archives

Contact Information

Please contact us with requests to:

  • Issue, reconsider, modify, or rescind a guidance document in this Handbook
  • Complain that we are not following the OMB Good Guidance Practices or are improperly treating a guidance document as a binding requirement

USDA National Organic Program: Standards Division
Room 2648-S, Stop 0268
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20250-0268
NOP.guidance@ams.usda.gov
202-720-3252