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Good Organic Retail Practices 2022 Guide


Best Practices for Handling, Storing, and Selling Organic Products in the United States

Written and edited by the OTA Retailer Council and Madeline Ross

Updated by OTA July 2023 to include Strengthening Organic Enforcement content

Welcome to the new and revised Good Organic Retail Practices (GORP). Organic regulations are unique in that it was the organic industry that recognized the need for federal oversight in order to create a level playing field for producers and handlers of organic products. Made up of farmers, food manufacturers, as well as all segments of the food system including retailers, these early adopters of organic recognized that a common standard for growing and labeling organic products was essential to the success of the organic “brand.” The continued success of organic in the marketplace hinges on all of us safeguarding the integrity of these products and retaining the trust that consumers have shown in the USDA organic label since congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990. We hope that this guide helps you to be part of this success story.

The organic products industry has grown to over $60 billion in annual sales. With over 82% of households in the country buying organic products, it’s clear that organic has become a part of mainstream shoppers' buying habits. Shoppers are the heroes – by investing in organic, they are driving positive change for farmers and the environment. As a retailer, your assortment of organic products should align with your shoppers’ values.

The USDA organic standard prevents over 700+ chemicals from being used in growing and processing organic products, and in turn helps keep these chemicals off our plates, out of our bodies and out of our environment. Organic farming is important to helping reverse climate change by pulling carbon out of the air and returning it to the soil. Speaking of soil, organic agriculture improves soil, water and air quality by using sustainable and regenerative practices. Organic farming also reduces nitrogen pollution from chemical fertilizers, which is another important piece to mitigating climate change as well as protecting our oceans. Organic has one unifying worldwide goal – to develop and promote products safer for people and the planet, made accessible to all!

This manual is an educational resource and introduction to handling, storing and selling organic products in the United States, and is designed to provide insight on how to protect the organic integrity of the products through retail channels. Organic products are certified to strict standards and regulated and enforced by the federal government. By adopting these practices and following basic good organic handling methods your retail operation will protect organic products from prohibited materials, maintaining the segregation between organic and non-organic products, and therefore doing your part in maintaining consumer confidence and organic integrity.

Download the complete guide Good Organic Retail Practices Guide 

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