USDA Warns Public of Organic Certification Fraud

Sep 12, 2011   
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On August 30, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a press release notifying the public that a fraudulent organic certificate had been disseminated. The press release, found here, discusses how the certificate was brought to the Agencys attention when an accredited organic certifier, whose name falsely appeared on the certificate, notified the USDAs National Organic Program (NOP). According to the USDA, no products bearing the fraudulent certification were sold in the United States.

As we previously reported, the USDAs NOP sets forth several requirements that foods and other products must meet before being designated “organic.” This includes periodic inspections and the implementation of an organic production and handling plan to ensure the goods are fit for organic designation. Without this designation, products may not bear the widely-recognized organic seal. USDA regulations provide for hefty fines for the fraudulent use of the organic certificate or label, which may be up to $11,000 per violation.

For more information about food labeling or USDAs National Organic Program, please contact us at