San Diego, CA—QAI, Inc., an NSF International company based here, has launched a new certification program called Certified Transitional, which recognizes and identifies, with a “Certified Transitional” seal, companies that are in the process of converting to organic. The only program to certify the entire food supply chain, it was designed to verify producers’ ability to meet increasingly rigorous requirements for three years, after which they are eligible to become certified organic products. Throughout their transition, these products must contain a minimum of 51% transitional content.

Organic revenue has experiences double-digit annual growth, but demand has outpaced supply. Organic agriculture amounts to only to about 1% of U.S. farmland and the transition of farmland to organic is a costly endeavor. This new program incentivizes farmers and manufacturers alike to make the jump to organic.

“Food companies will be able to use the on-package QAI Certified Transitional logo to guide consumers to these products,” said Sarah Krol, global managing director of QAI, Inc. in a press release. “With the QAI Certified Transitional program, farmers, processors, distributors and retailers can command a premium for products as they support the expansion of organic acreage to support consumer demand.”

The first product to bear the Certified Transitional seal is Ann Arbor, MI-based Kashi’s new cereal, Dark Cocoa Karma Shredded Wheat Biscuits. To achieve the certification, the company worked with Hesco/Dakota Organic Products, a specialty grain company, to find and work with two farmers interested in converting new land to organic farming practices.

“One percent organic acreage is just not enough—and we want to promote solutions that benefit everyone working to move organic farming forward,” said David Denholm, CEO of Kashi in a prepared statement. “We believe championing farms in transition will make organic foods more accessible and support a more sustainable food system—for all of us.”

Published in WholeFoods Magazine Online 5/18/2016