Allay assists hemp cultivation facilities and hemp product manufacturers achieve USDA organic certification by developing and implementing the SOPs needed to ensure organic integrity from farm to consumer. Allay can interface with the organic certifying body and put together the application packet, as well as conduct an onsite gap analysis to prepare the business for the certification audit.
Although USDA organic certification is not currently available to the THC cannabis industry, similar program certifications are available that Allay can assist THC cannabis businesses with.
What is Organic Certification?
According to the USDA in an article titled Organic 101: What the USDA Organic Label Means, “USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.”
Or in other words, in order for produce to receive the organic label, it must be grown in soil that hasn’t been exposed to prohibited substances such as synthetic pesticides or fertilizers in over three years. This list of prohibited substances has been carefully curated and maintained for years and includes a whole host of materials that have been shown to have adverse effects on human and animal health, as well as the environment.
Why is Organic Certification important?
Ecological Impact: Most notably, Organic Certification for Hemp companies contributes to increasing water quality, conservation of energy, promoting ecological balance, and conserving biodiversity.
Consumer Trust & Confidence: Organic certification expands your sales market, commands a higher price for your products, instills consumer trust and confidence. Being certified as organic ensures the integrity of organic products from the farm to the consumer. The certified organic seal is a recognizable symbol of consumer trust and appreciation that the brand cares.
Increase Demand for your Product: Consumers often prefer to purchase organic products or from a wholesale manufacturer that uses organic ingredients. In these cases, organic certification can be a powerful marketing tool that sets compliant businesses apart from the competition. This certification can be advertised on your product labels and website to let consumers know that your business follows a high standard for safety and quality, making your business among the best of the best in the industry.
Step 1: Adopt Practices
The farm or business implements organic farming or processing practices into your operation by developing SOPs and training staff, and submits an application and fees to the certifying agent.
Step 2: Choose an Organic Certifying Body
The second step is to choose a USDA-accredited Organic certifying body who will conduct the certification audit and issue the certification. Allay Consultants will look at all options available and will work with you to choose the certifying body that works best for your company. Currently, Allay works regularly with six accredited certifying bodies and can help your company choose the best fit. Then, submit the application packet and fees.
Step 3: Review and Inspection
The certifying agent reviews the application to verify that practices comply with USDA organic regulations and an inspector conducts an on-site inspection of the applicant’s operation.
Step 4: Review and Corrective Action
In the fourth step, the certifying agent reviews the inspector’s report to determine if the applicant complies with the USDA organic regulations. Some corrective actions may need to be taken.
Step 5: Issuance of Cerification
The certifying body issues the certification.
Step 6: Annual Review
To maintain organic certification, your certified organic farm or business will go through an annual review and inspection process.
Are there other certification options?
cGMP stands for current Good Manufacturing Practices. The regulations were created by the US Food and Drug Administration under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and cover manufacturers of food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, medical devices, and prescription drugs.
ISO 9001 is a quality management compliance certification that is geared toward a variety of plant-based medicine companies. This certification helps ensure companies implement a quality management system (QMS) to ensure customer satisfaction and continual improvement. Allay Consultants can assist with implementing the ISO standard through documentation, trainings, and including quality management in the culture of the company.
This is a food safety management standard to help organizations identify and control food safety hazards, at the same time as working together with other ISO management standards, such as ISO 9001. Applicable to all types of producers, ISO 22000 provides a layer of reassurance within the global food supply chain, helping products cross borders and bringing people food that they can trust.
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Allay is comprised of former Denver public health cannabis regulators with over 40 years of collective, regulatory experience. We are the most knowledgeable, professional and effective Compliance Consulting Team on the market. Together we can help you interpret Organic Certifications and painlessly get through the certification process.
We understand the hectic pace of running a successful cannabis business. We understand that succeeding sometimes means that you don’t have the time to stop and create numerous SOPs, much less implement a robust quality management system. Allay Consulting can do all of your compliance needs for you, while you maintain normal business operations.
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