An organic fraud prevention initiative established by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) is gaining supporters. Fraudulent organic products have created a significant amount of concern within the industry. Initially launched in 2020, OTAs Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions (OFPS) program is generating considerable support. A total of 40 organic businesses are participating in the program and another 125 companies are in the process of enrolling.
“The organic sector is committed to maintaining the integrity of organic, and we are glad to see companies taking advantage of the valuable tool we’ve developed to help them in their battle against fraud,” OTA Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs, Gwendolyn Wyard said in a press release. “Our program can get companies ready to comply with the USDA’s new rule once it is finalized and to safeguard the integrity of the USDA ‘Organic’ seal on their products.”
The OFPS provides participants with guidelines to prevent fraud within the industry and is based on buyer responsibility and supplier verification. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has also been undertaking efforts to address the issue of organic fraud. USDA’s Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) Final Rule is scheduled to be announced in the spring of 2022. The SOE rule is expected to have a dramatic effect within the industry, providing a much greater degree of oversight. USDA has cited the OFPS as a valuable private initiative in its proposed SOE rule. Organic certifiers have also endorsed the program by signing on as supporting partners.
“There are no shortcuts to verifying organic integrity,” said Miles McEvoy, Former Deputy Secretary at USDA’s National Organic Program and OFPS Trusted Advisor. “Fraud prevention requires all of us to be observant, pay attention to details, note discrepancies, and not accept products that haven’t been fully verified as organic. OTA’s Fraud Prevention Solutions program helps organic producers and handlers to prevent fraud and improve the quality of the organic control system.”