Twelve Organic Certifiers Recognized for Enforcement Successes

(SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS) – The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) today recognized the work of accredited organic certifiers with awards for extraordinary support of the National Organic Standards. The awards were presented at the annual NOP Certifier Training for organic inspectors from around the world, held in San Antonio, Texas.

Ten certifiers were recognized for the exceptional quality and timeliness of data provided to the Organic INTEGRITY Database. “Better data deters fraud by making it faster for investigators to identify higher-risk activities and focus additional enforcement resources,” said Jennifer Tucker, who heads the NOP. “Catching and punishing fraud quickly supports the high level of trust that farmers and consumers continue to demonstrate in the USDA Organic Seal.”

First Rove (L-R) Sarah Reed CCOF, Michelle Lawson, YCDA, Janis Kieft, CDA, Jennifer Tucer, NOP, Josie Quvedo, PAO, Sma Welch, OneCert, Faiola Valdiia Canedo, IMOcert, April Crittenden, CCOF. Second Row: Stephen Nix Clemson,Brian Hulmes, NJDA, Raoul Wertx, MOCA, Jaoid Snyder, GOA, Adam Maxwell, QCS

The federal organic regulations currently require the annual posting of a set of basic facts regarding certified operations into the USDA Organic INTEGRITY Database (OID). All USDA accredited certifiers met January 2, 2020, annual deadline for uploading required updates about the operations they certify. The OID also includes many optional fields, like acreage, that can aid in oversight and enforcement. “The ten certifiers recognized today significantly exceeded the minimum requirements by supplying additional detail on their certified operations and submitting updates on a rolling basis throughout the year,” said Tucker.

“The ready availability of robust data is also good for certified farms and ranches as the database becomes increasingly important as a resource for companies looking to buy certified organic ingredients,” said Tucker. “It is gratifying to see continued growth in the number of certifiers who voluntarily compete for these awards, significantly increasing the amount of quality data available to NOP staff and the growing list of our law enforcement partners.”

The third annual Investing in INTEGRITY Data Quality Award winners are (listed by headquarters location):

In addition, NOP recognized four certifiers for exemplary work investigating significant grain fraud cases in 2018-2019. “The quick, thorough work by staff at CCOF, QCS, One-Cert, and Oregon Tilth provided sound evidence to support timely enforcement actions that impact the entire supply chain,” said NOP Enforcement Division Director Betsy Rakola. “We appreciate these good people for helping USDA ensure consumers get what they pay for when they buy USDA Certified Organic products for their families.”

2020 Director’s Award winners are (listed by headquarters location):

In addition to on-demand courses available online at the USDA Organic Integrity Learning Center, the NOP also provides classroom training for organic inspectors on topics from oversight to advanced enforcement in conjunction with the Accredited Certifiers Association and the International Organic Inspectors Association.

The Organic INTEGRITY Database makes information on current and former certified organic operations publicly available online from anywhere in the world. It allows users to quickly confirm the organic certification status and other details of a farm or business and helps certifiers support the organic community in fraud prevention.

More information on organic enforcement and oversight is available on the NOP website at www.ams.usda.gov/organic.

2019 Count of Certified Organic Operations

The number of certified organic operations worldwide grew to 44,896 in 2019, a 4.4 percent increase over 2018. The net increase in U.S. certified operations was 763 for a total of 28,257. The net number of non-U.S. certified operations was 16,639. A complete list of certified organic farms and businesses is available on the USDA National Organic Program website: Organic INTEGRITY Database.

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