QAI Transitional Program Requirements

QAI’s Certified Transitional program is a compliance assessment program that progresses each year with additional compliance expectations. It is open to any organization throughout the supply chain looking to support the creation of more organic farmland. This program is designed to provide an independent and public certification that creates a transparent path toward eligibility for USDA organic certification at the end of the three-year transition period.

Producers and Farmers

During the three-year transition period, a farmer must not apply any prohibited substances to the land in transition and must document all activities and inputs applied to the crops in an Organic Farm Plan. This plan will be reviewed and verified when the farmer applies for organic certification. Operations are also subject to unannounced on-site inspections and soil/product sampling each year of the program, based on risk.

Farmers who are not currently certified organic must also complete organic practices educational sessions or webinars to assure readiness to maintain compliance.

By the third year of transition, farmers and producers should be able to demonstrate full compliance with the National Organic Program regulations, or equivalent applicable standard, and be eligible to apply for organic certification.

Handlers and Manufacturers

As handlers and manufacturers are only dealing with the products of the land in transition, the requirements are focused on maintaining the integrity of the transitional products and ingredients in the packaging, trading and manufacturing process. This includes comingling prevention, prohibited substances, handling requirements and product composition.

The requirements for handlers and manufacturers include completion of a self-assessment, corrective action plan, action plan for reformulation of products submitted for Transitional certification as needed, and unannounced inspections, sampling and market review of product labels.

For the full list of requirements, please refer to the Transitional Program Protocol.

For more information, please contact