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Regulatory Handbook -> Food Requirements -> Organic Food Handler and Processor Certification

Organic Food Handler and Processor Certification

What is the Purpose of this Certification?
To verify that products are sold, labeled, and represented as organic were handled and processed in compliance with USDA organic regulations.
Who Issues this Certification?
Washington State Department of Agriculture
What Activities Require this Certification?
Handling and processing facilities that are selling, labeling, or representing products as "organic."
How Much Will this Certification Cost?
The new application fee for all new businesses is $375, due with the new application. An inspection fee of $500 is due upon completion of the initial and annual inspection. A renewal fee, due each year on March 1, is based on the gross annual income received from organic activities in the previous year.
Where Can I Get the Application for this Certification?
The application which is called 'New Application for Organic Certification' is online and can be accessed at https://agr.wa.gov/departments/organic/apply-for-certification/new-application.
Do I Need to Include Anything with my Application?
All required forms and fees listed on the new application are required to accept the application.

Complete information is available at https://agr.wa.gov/departments/organic/apply-for-certification/new-application, or by calling our program at 360-902-1805.
Is the Decision on my Certification Dependent on Anything Besides the Information in my Application?
  • The application is evaluated for compliance with the USDA Organic Regulations (7 CFR Part 205).

  • An inspection prior to certification is required. The inspection report will be sent to the Olympia office.

  • A certification specialist will review the report and determine if the operation qualifies for organic status.
How Long Will it Take to Review my Application?
The time it takes to complete the certification process will depend on several factors such as: the completeness of your application, the complexity of your business, and the timing of your harvest or production date. Due to the nature and complexity of the certification process, WSDA Organic Program recommends producers apply for certification at least 3 ½ months prior to your expected harvest date. Handlers and processors should apply at least 3 ½ months prior to your plan to market organic products.
Where do I Submit my Application?
Application packet and forms may be sent by email to organic@agr.wa.gov.

The fee form and check must be sent hardcopy to:
    Washington State Dept. of Agriculture
    Attn: Organic Program PO Box 42591 (US mail)
    1111 Washington St SE (Private courier)
    Olympia, WA 98504-2560
How Long is my Certification Valid?
Certificates don't expire unless an operation surrenders certification or the agency suspends or revokes certification. In order to remain in compliance and avoid suspension, an operation must renew certification annually (Due March 1). Per USDA Guidance, an updated certificate is issued annually for compliant operations.
Where can I get permitting assistance?
Helpdesk phone: (360) 902-1805; organic@agr.wa.gov
Subject matter expert phone: Brenda Book, (360) 902-2090
Subject matter expert email: bbook@agr.wa.gov
Statewide Contact:
Washington State Department of Agriculture
Organic Program
1111 Washington Street SE
PO Box 42560
Olympia, WA 98504-2560
Telephone: (360) 902-1805
Email: organic@agr.wa.gov
Website: https://agr.wa.gov/departments/organic
* Permit information last updated 4/23/2020
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