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Good Organic Retail Practices 2022 Guide

Record Keeping

Good record keeping for the movement and processing of organic products allows for more transparency into the purchase and sale of organic products, helping retailers to maintain solid internal systems by effectively managing this process. Retail establishments are required to have documentation in place to demonstrate that they are receiving, storing, preparing, packaging, displaying and selling organic foods in a way that is not compromising organic integrity. The goal is for the retailer to demonstrate that the organic products are being managed effectively through their systems. Records provide a complete written picture of the organic handling that has occurred in the past. You are encouraged to document the methods used to prevent commingling of organic and non-organic as well as the methods used to prevent contamination of organic products by prohibited substances. Documents detailing these activities should be maintained along with the purchase and sales information allowing for verification that the amount sold/purchased are in alignment.

Maintaining invoices showing line-item designation of organic products as proof of purchase, as well as records of POS velocities identifying unique UPCs/PLUs for organic products. Purchases vs. sales are important to measure for internal accuracy checks. 

Retail estbalishments are encouraged to maintain the following records:

a.    Complete auditable records for three years of all organic products, including date of purchase, source, and quantities.(Invoices clearly identifying organic items.)

b.    Documentation of methods used for prevention of contamination and commingling of organic products; including pest control methods and storage and cleaning procedures. 

Documentation will be important if the organic status of a product sold by the store is ever questioned. Record keeping for production items that have multi-ingredients should be in place when you repack and relabel multi-ingredient processed foods. This could be as simple as saving recipes, which indicate the organic status of ingredients. 

If you are a retail establishment that does not process, you are exempt from the three-year record keeping requirement. However, all handling requirements as described above are still required. 

Purchase from exempt non-certified producers.  As a retail store you may purchase and sell organic products directly from non-certified producers who have less than $5,000 annual gross organic sales. However, these products may not be represented as certified organic, nor as ingredients in organic products prepared in the retail store.

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