Quality Certification Services, a Gainesville-based USDA organic certifier, received official approval from the Global Partnership of Good Agriculture Practices last month.

This approval allows QCS to better serve producers and participants in the market chain to meet food safety, ethical and sustainable consumer demands, said Jenni Williams, communication director for Florida Organic Growers.

QCS is the first U.S.-based certifier to receive global G.A.P. Agriculture, Compound Feed Manufacturing and Chain of Custody scopes approval.

“So many things say ‘all natural’ or ‘no pesticides used,’ but they aren’t organic. So, it’s very misleading, but when Gainesville can certify the sources it makes me a lot more comfortable,” said Roselyn Byrd, a 19-year-old UF sustainability sophomore.

This new certification also effects the city of Gainesville as a whole.

“Having a world-renowned organic certification agency in Gainesville brings added exposure and promotion of organic certification,” Williams said.

QCS, which is located downtown, certifies more than 800 clients in 37 states and 11 countries. It is also an accredited certification program that offers options for farming, livestock, packing, handling, processing and wild harvest operations.

Though organic food tends to be more expensive, students aren’t discouraged.

“More labeling helps people make better eating choices, but a lot of UF students can’t afford it,” Byrd said. “The health of my body doesn’t have a price cap.”

A version of this story ran on page 3 on 9/9/2013 under the headline "Gainesville organic group receives global certification"