Organic Trade Association members may now voluntarily enroll in an organic fraud prevention program to help minimize or eliminate organic fraud. Businesses enrolled in the program will be identified as program members on their Find.Organic listing!
For the past two years, the Organic Trade Association has prioritized significant time and resources into organic fraud prevention solutions that will help mitigate and prevent the occurrence of organic fraud inside and outside of the United States. Our work to address organic fraud is taking place on several fronts ranging from our farm bill priorities to a major private-sector initiative that has evolved into an industry-wide program called Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions. The new program is based on the Organic Trade Association’s tested and completed Organic Fraud Prevention Guide that provides businesses engaged in organic trade with a risk-based process for developing and implementing an organic fraud prevention plan. It also provides detailed information on what to do when you suspect or detect fraud and the process for filing a complete and effective complaint to USDA’s National Organic Program.
Download the Executive Summary of the Organic Fraud Prevention Guide
It is critical that organic businesses have systems and measures in place that adequately support the promise of providing organic food that people can trust. The Organic Trade Association is calling on its members to learn more about this groundbreaking program, pre-enroll and adopt what will become the industry standard reference for excellence and achieving integrity across complex organic global supply chains.
“Organic now operates in a global market. Fraud is one of the biggest threats to that market, and it cannot be tolerated in the organic system.”
-- Laura Batcha, CEO/Executive Director, Organic Trade Association
Be an Early Adopter and Pre-enroll!
To pre-enroll, a company must be an Organic Trade Association member and either certified organic or listed with a USDA recognized Material Review Organization such as OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute). Eligible operations include farmers, handlers, processors, distributors, traders, retailers and input manufacturers. There are also opportunities for accredited certifiers, consultants and advisors that would like to partner in the program. Pre-enrollment initiates the process and signs the eligible company up for the first offered training that will take place in late summer or early fall.
EARLY ADOPTERS OF ORGANIC FRAUD PREVENTION SOLUTIONS
Certified organic companies that have already enrolled in the program are:
- Global Organics Ltd. (handler/importer)
- Grain Millers, Inc. (handler/processor/grains)
- I Was Thinking (importer/handler/co-packer, grains, seeds, legumes, sweeteners)
- Naturepedic Organic Mattresses (textile manufacturer/retailer, mattresses, bedding)
- Organically Grown Company (distributor/produce)
- Organic Valley CROPP Cooperative (producer/handler/livestock/dairy/meat)
- Pipeline Foods, LLC (handler/supply chain solutions/feed grains/oilseeds)
- J.M. Smucker Company (processor/multi-ingredient)
- Stonyfield (producer/handler/livestock/dairy)
- True Organic Products, Inc. (manufacturer/fertilizer)
- Wolf, DiMatteo & Associates (consultant, pre-enrolled as a Trusted Advisor*)
- Miles McEvoy, Lacewing LLC (consultant, pre-enrolled as a Trusted Advisor)
* Trusted Advisors are a category of professional that may qualify and partner with Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions and work with enrolled companies to develop an Organic Fraud Prevention Plan. Trusted Advisors are experts in organic certification as well as in conducting vulnerability assessments and organic fraud mitigation plans.
“Everyone plays a role in preventing organic fraud. It is critical that organic businesses have robust systems and measures in place that adequately support the promise of providing organic products that people can trust.”
-- Gwendolyn Wyard, Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs, Organic Trade Association
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions?
Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions is a quality assurance program that organic businesses may voluntarily enroll in to help minimize or eliminate organic fraud. The program is based on buyer responsibility and supplier verification, and provides companies with a risk-based process for developing and implementing organic fraud mitigation measures. The goal of the program is to assure authenticity of organic products and maintain and grow consumer confidence in the USDA Organic seal.
Why is it important?
Organic fraud cannot be tolerated in the organic supply chain, inside or outside the United States. Anytime there is fraud anywhere in organic in the organic system, it takes value out of the organic label. Everyone plays a role in preventing organic fraud. It is critical that organic businesses have robust systems and measures in place that adequately support the promise of providing organic products that people can trust. Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions, as adopted by businesses engaged in organic trade, will become the industry standard reference for excellence and achieving integrity across complex organic global supply chains.
Why should I enroll?
To strengthen your supplier verification systems and prevent organic fraud. Organic companies that want to prevent organic fraud in their supply chain and be publicly recognized for having implemented an Organic Fraud Prevention Plan need to successfully complete the program. Leadership and commitment from organic businesses will drive adoption of the program. The more companies that join, the stronger the organic supply chain will become.
Who can participate in the program?
Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions is currently open for pre-enrollment only. To enroll, a company must be an Organic Trade Association member and either certified organic or listed with a USDA recognized Material Review Organization such as OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute). Eligible operations include, farmers, handlers, processors, distributors, traders, retailers and input manufacturers. There are also opportunities for accredited certifiers, consultants and advisors that would like to partner in the program.
How do I pre-enroll?
How much time and resources will it take?
Time and resource commitment depend on the size, scope and complexity of the organic business. The program is designed to foster continuous improvement and provide each company with a reasonable entry point. Companies should expect to form a multi-disciplinary organic fraud prevention team with a designated and qualified lead to carry out a vulnerability assessment. Each company will be required first perform a prefilter or initial screening assessment followed by a more detailed assessment on high-risk ingredients or products. Quality departments are best positioned to take the lead in conducting the pre-filter and vulnerability assessment, but will be best supported by procurement, legal, and Human Resources. The program requires ongoing annual management.
What does the enrollment process involve?
Enrollment initiates the process and signs the eligible company up for the first offered training that will take place in late summer or early fall. The enrollment steps are: 1) pre-enrollment and receipt of the Organic Fraud Prevention Guide; 2) training; 3) registration (fee required); 4) initial screening and vulnerability assessment; 5) vulnerability assessment review; 6) developing and implementing organic fraud mitigation measures; 7) collating an Organic Fraud Prevention Plan; 8) updating your existing Organic System Plan; 9) obtaining confirmation from your certifier; and 10) enrollment completion and public recognition. The process is integrated into the organic certification cycle and maintained annually.
How much does it cost?
Enrolling companies’ annual fees are based on a sliding organic sales income scale to reflect the market value the enrollment represents for a company. Organic Trade Association members receive a 20% discount. Program fees range from $320 - $6,000. However, 99% of members would pay between $320-$1,280. Initial pricing is competitive with other food safety quality assurance programs.
When will trainings begin and how much do they cost?
The first training will be offered in late summer or early fall. The training is open and free to Organic Trade Association members.
Why do I need another seal or certification/verification?
The program is not a certification or verification program, and it does not involve a consumer-facing label. The program serves as a business-to-business marketing advantage designed to improve internal quality assurance programs. Companies that successfully complete and maintain annual enrollment will be publicly recognized.
But wait, isn’t enforcement USDA’s job?
USDA’s National Organic Program is, in fact, responsible for oversight and enforcement of the organic regulations. However, the Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions is designed to complement and reinforce USDA’s organic standards and the work of the accredited certifying agencies.
How do I access the Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions Guide to Best Practices?
The Organic fraud Prevention Solutions Guide forms the basis of the program and is available at no charge to companies that enroll. Please check out the Executive Summary to learn more about the Guide.
Organic Trade Association
Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs