FAQ on Certification

  1. Q:
    How long does the organic certification process normally take?
    A:
    The organic certification process normally takes 3 months, provided that the applicant is able to submit the required documents on time.
  2. Q:
    Is there any requirement for the application of organic certification?
    A:
    The applicant must operate the production unit in an organic way and maintain good records concerning production and sales for our review. For more information about the certification requirement, please refer to our latest “Organic Production, Aquaculture and Processing Standard”.
  3. Q:
    How long does the organic certification last?
    A:
    The validity period of the organic certification is one year. Certified unit must apply for renewal of certification and make payment annually to maintain the validity of its certification.
  4. Q:
    Is it necessary to submit the soil and water test report before applying for the organic certification?
    A:
    Applicants are welcome to submit the test reports for preliminary evaluation of whether the organic standards are met. Our inspectors will also take the soil and water samples during the on-site inspection for further testing.
  5. Q:
    Will any relevant bodies (e.g. Vegetables Marketing Organization) purchase my certified produce after obtaining the certification?
    A:
    We only provide independent third party certification service. We will not make any recommendation about sales channels to the applicants.
  6. Q:
    Assume two types of crops are certified in my farm currently, do I need to apply for certification again if I grow other types of crops in the future?
    A:
    No. Organic certification examines whether the operation of a farm meets the organic standards. A farm needs to be inspected every year for the renewal of certification. If a farm changes the types of crops grown in the new season, details must be provided to us, so that we can update the information accordingly on our website.
  7. Q:
    I bought some fertilizers labeled ‘organic’. Does that mean it can be used in my organic farm?
    A:
    ‘Organic’ fertilizers or pesticides might contain ingredients that are not suitable for organic farming. Before purchasing any input for farming, look for the organic seal either by our company or other certification bodies. You may also check the ‘List of Approved Materials’ on our website, or check with us directly to get assurance that the brand of fertilizer, not just the generic ingredient, is allowed for use on organic farms.
  8. Q:
    I notice the crops in the market are certified “organic” and “organic (in-conversion)” by your company. What is the difference between the two?
    A:
    Both “organic” and “organic (in-conversion)” crops are grown in an organic way. Before the transition to organic farms, some conventional farms might have applied synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on the farmland, and it takes some time for the farmland to restore its fertility. Hence, two different categories are established for identification purpose.
  9. Q:
    Our farm is located in Mainland China and we wish to apply for organic certification. Does your company provide any related services?
    A:
    Sorry, our company’s business scope is limited to Hong Kong currently. We do not provide any certification services for farms in Mainland China.
  10. Q:
    Does your company provide organic certification service for poultry or meat?
    A:
    Sorry, our company currently provides organic certification services for crops, aquaculture and processed food only.
  11. Q:
    Can I report people who sell ‘organic’ products without the Hong Kong Organic Resource Centre Certification?
    A:
    As the Hong Kong Government has yet to monitor organic products by means of legislation, any self-proclaimed organics are legal.
    If a person sells organic products that are not certified by us but claims to be so, this will violate the Trade Descriptions Ordinance. You may contact us by phone or email if you suspect anyone of doing so. We will report the case to the Customs and Excise Department after gathering all relevant information.
  12. Q:
    Can I provide some vegetables samples and request your company to test if the vegetables are organic?
    A:
    The degradation rate of some pesticides is relatively high, making them difficult to be identified. Hence, we cannot draw any conclusion simply based on the test result. Organic certification is a process of system certification, not product certification. Whether or not the vegetables are organic greatly depends on the operational mode of the farm. We have to fully understand the operational mode of a farm and examine the test report before we can draw any conclusion.

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