One scenario that was presented at the recent NOSB meeting was an
objection, from a consumer's point of view, to using a certification seal
as a marketing tool. The OFPA establishes certification as the means of
allowing a product to legally enter the organic marketplace. How it is
promoted once it gets there should not be the province of a certification
An organization that wanted to promote its members products as meeting
whatever standard they chose (such as fair trade practices, or
adherence to a particular spiritually derived methodology) could do so. It
could also label its members' products as organic as long as they also
complied with the OFPA and the regulations. If this organization were
also certifying that its members were adhering to its standards, it could
be seen as a conflict of interest, since the functions of verification and
promotion are merged in one organization.
I hope this helps shed some light...
USDA National Organic Program Staff
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