The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reported recently that they have failed to review required documents for products labeled as “organic”. This finding and report means that a lack of controls at U.S. borders increases the likelihood that nonorganic products are entering the U.S. under “organic” labels.
The National Organic Program (NOP) standards were established in 2002. With almost every type of product now flying the “organic” flag from thousands of farms into thousands of restaurants and retail establishments, the likelihood of organic food fraud has grown along with the market. However, importing fraudulent organic products is the tìp of the iceberg. The NOP prohibits the use of sewage sludge, GMO, ionizing radìation, synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones, artificial preservatives, flavors, dyes and covers specific labeling rules or products labeled as organic.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports punishable fines up to $11,000 and encourages reporting complaints. They list fraudulent organic certificates and all companies legally certified as organic. With organic sales jumping 23% in 2016, the Packer reports explosìve industry growth that lends itself to fraudulent practices.
With the explosìve growth of the organic industry and, consequently, in food fraud, companies need to protèct the consumer, their industry and brand identity. Receivers of so-called “organic food” need to guarantèe consumers that the product has not been adulterated by pesticides, cross contaminants, and other hazards. All companies need to review and develop new tools and technology designed to provide data that tracks and traces organic product through all processes in order to build a preventive supply chain.
Join this session, where food safety expert Dr. John Ryan will provide you with an account of the food fraud practices in the food industry. This session will review the NOP standards and labeling rules for products labeled as organic. Read more