Transitional Certification


QAI, part of the NSF International family of companies, offers transitional certification services for growers and producers transitioning their land from conventional farming methods to organic farming methods and for manufacturers, processors and traders dealing in food and beverage, dietary supplements, cosmetics, household cleaners and textile products.

While organic products can fetch higher prices, it typically takes three years for a farm to transition from conventional to organic and farmers are typically not compensated for the initial costs of incrementally converting their growing practices. The QAI Transitional Program’s goals are to raise awareness of this issue with consumers, provide more choices in the marketplace and allow premium pricing to be distributed down to the farms in transition.

Download the QAI Transitional Program Protocol.

For more information about the scope of the QAI Transitional Program, email

Benefits of Certification

The QAI Transitional Program not only benefits the grower, processor or trader being certified, but also benefits the environment and the vitality of the global organic market.

Some benefits to farms and companies receiving certification include:

  • Use of an on-package label if the product contains at least 51% certified transitional content by weight (not including water or salt)
  • Distribution of premium pricing down from retailer to farmer
  • Increased financial stability for farms during the transition period
  • Increased education and understanding on how to attain organic certification
Why Work with NSF/QAI?

QAI is one of the largest organic certifiers in North America. Our growth over 25+ years means that QAI has the expertise and relationships to help small and medium-sized farms transition to organic certification and thrive in the growing global organic market.

QAI is customer-focused, providing swift, efficient service and cost-effective, fixed fees. By being part of the NSF International family, we can also bundle your transitional and food safety certifications to maximize your cost efficiencies and minimize interference to your operation.

Certification Process

Your QAI project manager guides you through the transitional certification process which involves five basic steps, whether you produce items at the beginning, middle or end of the supply chain.

Step 1: Application - We ask you to provide details about your operation to help us understand the scope of your operation, the procedures you follow and the products that your company produces, processes or trades. At this stage, you should submit your signed contract, transitional compliance plan, self-assessment and affidavit of date of last application of substances that would be prohibited for organic certification.

Step 2: Inspection – If your application is approved by QAI, we conduct an on-site inspection of your operation to verify the information in your application and documentation.

Step 3: Technical Review - A QAI reviewer examines the inspection report and if we identify deficiencies, we will notify you.

Step 4: Resolution and Notification – You submit any necessary corrective action responses. QAI will then review the corrective action responses, and approve them if they rectify the deficiencies identified during the inspection.

Step 5: Certification and Ongoing Compliance – Once you’ve successfully completed the process, you will either receive a letter of enrollment (if you are a producer and less than one year of transition has been completed) or a certification (if you are a producer with at least one year of transition completed, or a handler). Organizations receiving the certificate can start promoting their certified products.