OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting organic integrity. It provides an independent review of various products, such as fertilizers, pest controls, and livestock health care products, that are specifically designed for use in certified organic production and processing. By offering clear information and guidance about these materials, OMRI assists producers in identifying suitable products for organic operations. Soil Tech takes pride in having multiple products listed by OMRI for crop production and treatment. We highly recommend that organic producers consult with their certifier before incorporating any product into their operation.
OMRI maintains a comprehensive list of input products, including fertilizers, pest controls, and livestock care products, that comply with organic standards. These products, known as "OMRI Listed®," bear the OMRI seal, signifying their adherence to organic regulations. Organic food and fiber products, such as carrots, granola bars, and cotton, are created using these approved input products and are subsequently certified by accredited certifying bodies.
OMRI's primary focus is to verify input products intended for use in organic production. By concentrating exclusively on inputs, OMRI offers vital expertise to support the organic certification process. On average, 10-15% of the applications received by OMRI do not successfully complete the review process, either due to applicant withdrawal or determination of product prohibition.
What is Organic?
In the United States, the term "organic" is regulated by federal standards outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations. These regulations apply to food and fiber products. Certification by an independent third-party certifier is mandatory for any food or fiber product labeled as "organic," with a limited exception for very small-scale producers with minimal earnings. All producers using the term "organic" are legally obligated to adhere to organic practices. However, non-food products like pet food, cosmetics, household products, and fertilizers do not currently fall under federal regulation for the term "organic." While these products may meet privately maintained standards, the use of the term "organic" on labels is not federally regulated. For instance, a fertilizer may be "OMRI Listed," indicating its compliance with OMRI's fertilizer standards, but virtually any fertilizer can claim to be "organic" on its label. Similar regulations regarding the use of the term "organic" exist in Canada and Mexico.
To achieve organic certification, conventional farmers must undergo a three-year transition period during which no prohibited inputs can be utilized. Organic certifiers offer assistance throughout this transition, guiding farmers in understanding and complying with organic standards. After the three-year period, farmers can begin producing organic food. They must complete an "Organic System Plan" detailing their production methods, including a comprehensive list of all inputs to be used. Additionally, their farms undergo annual inspections conducted by certifiers.