Certification First Steps

* Read the Standards applicable to your operation.
* Critically appraise your operation.
* Talk it over with NASAA staff.
* Make an application.

There are three elements that are inextricably linked in the certification process: People, Land and Product. It is the combination of the three, linking into an organic management plan, that signifies the legal bounds of the certified operation – any change in ownership, sale of property or relocation, or change in product harvested and manufactured will require a change in the registration of the certified operation.

The process of Certification will differ, dependent on whether you are a Primary Producer, or involved in Manufacturing and Distribution or Retail Trade. These differing steps are explained in detail further down this page.

NASAA Standards

The NASAA Standards are your guide to achieving certified organic status, and include:

  pdf The NASAA Organic Standard (1.56 MB) Primary Producers 
(incl. Biodynamic), Input Manufacturers, Processors, Packers, Wholesalers, Transporters, Exporters
pdf NOS Addendum Section 12 7 Cosmetic Labelling Standard February 2011 (13 KB) Cosmetic Labelling Standard February 2011
pdf NASAA Trader Standard (333 KB) Retailers, Restaurants, Markets

It is essential that you read through the relevant standards applicable to your operation before submitting an application for certification.

Application and Questionnaire 

Making an application is easy. After reading the NASAA Standards, simply fill out the certification application form relevant to your operation, and you're on your way to Certification!

Make an Application

In addition to submitting an application form, you will be required to fill out a Questionnaire outlining your organic management/handling plan, and to sign a Statutory Declaration in relation to the current activities and management of the operations for which you are seeking certification.
There are several relevant Questionnaires dependent on your focus of operation: Organic Management Plan (Primary Production), Organic Handling Plan (Manufacturing & Distribution), Organic Handling Plan (Input Manufacturing), Trader Questionnaire (Retail and Market). 

Inspection Process

Upon receipt of your application and questionnaire, you will receive a letter of confirmation from NCO, naming an inspector who has been allocated to inspect your operation. Inspections are subcontracted to a wide network of professional, independent and NCO trained organic inspectors spread across Australia and South East Asia.

The role of the inspector is to assist in the regulation of operations under certification to ensure compliance with NASAA Standards. NCO conducts both announced and unannounced inspections to ensure that operations are run in accordance with Standards. These inspections may be conducted with representatives from accrediting organisations DAWR, IFOAM, JAS and USDA in attendance. 

The inspection will include a physical look at the operation, as well as a review of all record-keeping. The inspector may take soil or tissue samples for chemical/residue analysis and will note issues such as how you manage your operation in accordance with the Standards and any contamination risks or other potential problems. 

Inspection reports will then be reviewed by NCO's Certification Officer, and a decision made in relation to certification. 

Review of Inspection Report

NCO has a team of technically competent and trained certification officers who make decisions in relation to applications for, and the continuation of, Certification. 

The certification officer will review the inspection report, communicate any relevant non-compliances, assess the responses to non-compliances and inform the outcome of the assessment. This also includes any ongoing conditions of your certification.

Note: Applicants to certification have the right to appeal, in writing, any part of the contract offer by NCO.

Transfer of Certification

Where advantageous to the operator, NCO will facilitate transfer of an existing organic certification to NCO certification. The process requires the forwarding of key documentation, including a current certificate of registration and farm map/plan. Contact NCO for further details of the process of transfer or refer to the pdf information sheet (385 KB) .

NCO Fees & Charges

NCO's fees are competitive, with a pricing structure that serves to underpin the provision of the certification service, facilitating access throughout the world for NCO certified products. 

Contact the NCO Office for a copy of the Fee Schedule for further detail on applicable certification costs.

Our fee structure comprises an initial application fee and inspection deposit, and annual charges and levy payment system where applicable.

Make an Application

The following link will take you to the 'Make an Application' page which includes all the relevant documents in one easy-to-use space.

Make an Application

Steps to Certification: