Do I Need to Be Certified Organic?

Most farms and businesses that grow, handle, or process organic products must be certified, including:

  • Farms that sell more than $5,000 in organic products per year (gross sales).
  • Handlers that sell more than $5,000 of organic processed food, including handlers that place bulk products into smaller packages or that repackage/relabel products.
  • Processors that sell more than $5,000 of organic processed products, unless all products contain less than 70 percent organic ingredients or only identify the organic ingredients in the ingredient statement.
  • Vendors that handle (e.g. package) and sell products online (but not in stores) or otherwise deliver organic products.

Overall, if you make a product and want to claim that it or its ingredients are organic, your final product probably also needs to be certified. 

Who may not need to be certified?

  • Small organic farms and businesses (gross agricultural income from organic sales less than $5,000 per year)
  • Brokers, distributors, and traders
  • Retail food establishments
  • Exempt handling operations

Although certification is not required for these “exempt” or “excluded” operations, they may pursue voluntary organic certification. Exempt and excluded operations still need to comply with specific sections of the USDA organic regulations.

Review the “Additional Resources” to access some frequently asked questions and to learn about specialized guidance for the “exempt” or “excluded” operations.

Additional Resources