Compliance and Enforcement Updates Fiscal Year 2019

(WASHINGTON) – The National Organic Program, Compliance & Enforcement/Appeals Annual Summary for Fiscal Year 2019 is now available on the NOP website

The report provides a summary of incoming complaints and appeals, initial actions taken, suspensions, revocations and case dispositions during the past fiscal year. Fourth-quarter data show a significant increase in the number of investigations closed, as well as inquiries and appeals resolved.

Factors impacting the fourth quarter oversight and enforcement data include:

  • Increased capacity: Increased funding through the 2018 Farm Bill and federal appropriations allowed NOP to increase staff for accreditation, enforcement, and international trade oversight.
  • Streamlined processes: NOP launched a new COMPLIANCE Database, allowing staff to better track case progress and more quickly identify patterns and relationships across complaints.
  • New investigative tools: NOP used farm-level yield analyses, supply chain research, and ship-specific surveillance to examine risk factors.
  • Dairy compliance project: Federal auditors conducted unannounced compliance visits to dairy farms across the country to assess certifier and operation compliance with the pasture standard. This project also served as the basis for the new Organic Dairy Compliance course, now available in the Organic Integrity Learning Center.

Recent Enforcement Actions

  • Fraudulent Organic Certificates: A searchable list of fraudulent organic certificates that falsely represent agricultural products as certified organic under the USDA organic regulations.
  • Suspensions and Revocations: Suspensions, revocations and appeals decisions.
  • Settlement Agreements: Summaries of settlement agreements issued to resolve proposed adverse actions and to bring a certifier or operator into full compliance in a fast and efficient manner.

NOP’s Organic Oversight and Enforcement Update, published in May 2019, outlines progress and plans for increased oversight.