Compliance and Enforcement Updates: Annual Summary Report and Fraudulent Certificates

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Annual Summary: Compliance, Enforcement, and Appeals Report

The NOP has published a summary of enforcement activities for fiscal year 2017 in its Compliance and Enforcement/Appeals Summary ReportThis report includes counts of incoming complaints and appeals, initial actions taken, suspensions, revocations, and case dispositions.

Access previous summary reports and links to enforcement actions, including settlement agreements, appeals decisions, and consent orders, on our Organic Enforcement web page.


Fraudulent Certificates Posted

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) is alerting the organic trade about the presence of several new fraudulent organic certificates. Fraudulent organic certificates listing the following businesses are in use and have been reported to the NOP:

  • Aurora & Sear Cooperative
  • J and Sharp Holdings Pty Ltd
  • Kingsport Foods
  • Xuzhou Hnest Pharna Trading Co., Ltd. (as spelled on certificate)
  • T. Shihom Development Trading Company
  • Vellela Group of Companies Pty Ltd.

Review these and other fraudulent organic certificates online: Fraudulent certificate listing.

These certificates falsely represent agricultural products as certified organic under the USDA organic regulations, violating the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.


Verifying Certified Operations

Fraudulent certificates may have been created and used without the knowledge of the operator or the certifying agent named in the certificate. The posting of fraudulent certificates does not necessarily mean that the named business or certifying agent was involved in illegal activity. If a business named on a fraudulent certificate is certified, its certifying agent, identified in the list of certified operations, can provide additional information and verification to the organic trade.

The vigilance of the organic community is a vital force in ensuring organic integrity. Organic handlers should continue to review certificates carefully and validate with their certifying agents, where needed. Interim instruction NOP 4013, Maintaining the Integrity of Organic Imports, reiterates the requirement for certifiers and handlers of organic imports to verify the validity of certificates.

Any use of these certificates or other fraudulent documents to market, label, or sell non-organic agricultural products as organic can result in a civil penalty of up to $11,000 per violation. Persons with information on suspicious certificates are asked to notify the NOP Compliance and Enforcement team.