Compliance and Enforcement Update

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service national organic program organic insider

Compliance and Enforcement Updates

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) oversees USDA-certified organic agricultural products produced in the U.S and around the world. We are committed to setting a level playing field by protecting organic farms and businesses who are playing by the rules.

NOP Enforcement Activities

Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2018 (April, May and June 2018)

  • Enforcement Actions
    AMS posts NOP settlement agreements and other suspension, revocation and appeals decisions to its website to keep industry and the public informed.
  • Compliance and Enforcement Report
    This report includes counts of incoming complaints and appeals, initial actions taken, suspensions, revocations, and case dispositions.
  • Fraudulent Organic Certificates
    New fraudulent organic certificates have been reported to the NOP. These certificates falsely represent agricultural products as certified organic under the USDA organic regulations, violating the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. Please remain vigilant when reviewing organic certificates and send any suspicious certificates to the NOP Compliance and Enforcement team.

NOP, APHIS and CBP Connect in Florida


National Organic Program (NOP) Deputy Administrator Jennifer Tucker (fourth from left) was immersed in the diverse work of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Customs and Border Protection, organic importers, and port officials at the Ports of Miami and Everglades in South Florida August 7-9.  

For the past year, APHIS and NOP have worked together to better protect the integrity of organic imports. In August, NOP released two policy memos for importers and certifiers, along with a report on the continued work to increase collaboration between federal partners at U.S. ports of entry:

NOP Trains Office of the Inspector General on Organic


On August 1, in San Antonio, TX, NOP Compliance and Enforcement Division Director Betsy Rakola trained a group of Office of the Inspector General (OIG) regional managers on the USDA organic regulations.

OIG Investigations is the USDA's law enforcement arm. OIG Special Agents conduct investigations of criminal activities involving USDA programs, and they collaborate with AMS to conduct investigations of possible fraudulent activities, including those involving organic certification.

While in the state of Texas, Betsy also visited the Texas Department of Agriculture to discuss organic topics of interest.

Strengthening Enforcement Rule: Webinar Materials

Continuous learning is an important part of building organic integrity. To keep the public informed, we conduct webinars on important topics of interest to the organic community.

On July 17, NOP hosted a virtual town hall (interactive webinar) to engage the organic community about our upcoming Strengthening Organic Enforcement rulemaking. The webinar provided an overview of the scope of the proposed rule and invited general feedback on these topics and NOP’s data needs.

Enforcement Action Plan

These enforcement activities are part of NOP's Enforcement Action Plan which outlines recent progress and next steps for the program.