The USDA Announces New Regs to Mitigate Organic Fraud
Last year the U.S. experienced the largest organic grain fraud case in history when farmer Randy Constant sold more than $142 million of non-organic animal feed to organic livestock operations, resulting in consumers who paid a premium for organic meat, in reality getting non-organic products.
The lack of consumer confidence that this fraud led to was fundamentally harmful to the organic industry. And earlier this month, the USDA unveiled a new draft proposal designed to protect the integrity of the organic supply chain and to regain consumer trust. The new guidelines mandate unannounced inspections, implement new traceability requirements for imports, require labeling of non-retail containers, and enact new oversights of the organic certification process, and will require more people along the supply chain, such as brokers or importers to obtain certification, among others. These proposed rules, which are expected to cost approximately $7.2 million per year to implement, are openly supported by some of the leading interest groups including the Organic Trade Association and the Cornucopia Institute, and will be subject to public comment for 60 days.