Organic farming fraud is growing, prompting USDA crackdown proposal

usda fraud

Responding to increasing fraud threats to the organic industry, the US Department of Agriculture seeks to strengthen oversight and improve the transparency and traceability of organic food through a four-prong plan that praises and mirrors actions already taken by the Organic Trade Association.

In a proposed rule published [August 5] in the Federal Register, USDA seeks to “close gaps in the current regulations to build consistent certification practices to deter and detect organic fraud”​ in part by reducing the types of businesses exempted from organic certification, requiring electronic import certifications for all organic products entering the US, clarifying record keeping and fraud prevention procedures to improve supply chain traceability and standardizing on-site inspections of organic operations.

Related article:  How food companies' switch to non-GMO ingredients could hurt the poor

The proposed amendments to the National Organic Program (NOP) [come] after years of clamoring by the industry for increased oversight and enforcement of the USDA organic regulations, which reached a crescendo in 2017 and 2018 when a journalist discovered some imports from Eastern Europe were falsely labeled as organic.

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