MOSA provides our clients with much more than just certification.

Joe Pedretti

MOSA Client Services Director

Any Changes to Your Organic Operation?

Any Changes to Your Organic Operation?

Communicate early and often with MOSA

A popular saying among organic farmers is that what they do in the field makes a crop organic, and what they do in the office—by keeping good verification records—makes the crop certified organic. Many MOSA clients appreciate the importance of a third principle: what they do on the phone keeps their operations certified without concerns or disruptions. When should you contact MOSA? Any time you have a question or concern (or compliment!) about your organic certification, but especially when you have a change to your organic operation.

What represents a change to your organic operation? A set of critical possible changes includes any revisions to the information on your organic certificate. Do you want to change your business name, or add/remove a person's name? Do you want to add or remove a product? Do you plan to change locations? These all represent critical revisions to your certification that MOSA needs to know about right away.

What are other significant changes you should inform MOSA about immediately? If you experience an organic integrity concern, such as an accidental spray drift or a disaster such as a flood or fire, contact MOSA so we can help you navigate these unintended, unfortunate situations that may affect your certification. If you accidentally or intentionally use a prohibited input, such as nonorganic feed, a synthetic herbicide, or a prohibited antibiotic, notify MOSA immediately so we can help you address this situation and alter your organic certification if needed.

Other, less critical changes should be communicated to MOSA as soon as you are actively considering them: MOSA can best serve you if we know of these possible revisions several weeks or even months prior to your proposed implementation date. Contact MOSA if you want to alter any aspect of your approved plan for organic production with MOSA as described on your Organic System Plan and supporting documents such as your Field Plan or Product Profile, Input Inventory or Ingredients chart. Are you considering making any changes to your organic operation?

  • Do you intend to add, remove, or reduce (the size of) a field or facility soon? Contact MOSA as soon as possible so these new areas can be inspected prior to use.

  • Do you have a new fertilizer for your fields, media blend for your greenhouse, or mineral supplement for your livestock? Contact MOSA about these inputs well in advance so we can determine for you if they can be used in organic production.

  • Processor clients, do you plan to revise any aspect of your Product Profile form, such as the ingredients used or their percentages in the formula? These changes must be reviewed and approved by MOSA.

  • Do you have a new or revised product label? Since all product labels must be approved by MOSA prior to use in the marketplace, send us a label proof and we'll determine if it meets the organic labeling standards.

In January, MOSA will invite all clients to re-apply for organic certification by completing the Annual Update form. As you do, carefully consider your plans for the coming year as you answer the questions in the "Changes to my Operation" section. We read these responses carefully so we can prioritize clients' needs as efficiently and inexpensively as possible during the annual certification renewal cycle. Requests to implement changes that come to MOSA later in the season often cannot be addressed according to a client's preferred timeline, and typically incur the Administrative Fee for additional services. Worse still, sometimes MOSA discovers that a change to a client's organic plan was implemented without any notification to MOSA. This can result in the issuing of a non-compliance to the client and a lengthy re-certification process or even a denial of certification. MOSA much prefers assisting our clients as their certification partners, rather than regulating them as their certification police.

So, what's the best way to contact MOSA staff? Early and often, and using whatever method works best for you! MOSA's Administrative and Customer Service Teams have staff available most weekdays of the year from 8:30-4:30 (central) who can be reached by email (mosa@mosaorganic.org), phone (844-637-2526), website (www.mosaorganic.org, Contact Us form), or fax (608-492-0470). MOSA staff are committed to the organic foods movement and to our clients, so love talking with our farmers and processors about their organic operations!