Accreditation is official recognition of proficiency resulting in the approval and authority to perform specific tasks or to provide specific services in support of official obligations such as the issuance of phytosanitary certificates. In 2001, APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) published a rule in the Federal Register (7 CFR 353.8) to allow the accreditation of non-federal entities to perform laboratory testing or phytosanitary inspection services to support export certification activities. In 2009, the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) finalized the Guidelines for Authorization of Entities to Perform PhytosanitaryServices . These guidelines represent a regional standard for accreditation.
Certification is a quality management process used by PPQ to ensure that pest risk management measures meet applicable standards. The PPQ certification function is performed directly by PPQ inspectors.
The Farm Bill directs the Secretary of Agriculture to provide funds and technical assistance to specialty crop growers, organizations representing specialty crop growers, and State and local agencies working with specialty crop growers and organizations to develop and implement audit-based certification systems.