Requirements for organic food & beverage products would be tightened up and fraud detection strengthened under regulatory changes now being considered by USDA.
The proposed regulations, released Aug. 5, “are intended to protect integrity in the organic supply chain and build consumer and industry trust in the USDA organic label,” according to a USDA news release. They would accomplish this by establishing or improving organic control systems, traceability and regulatory enforcement.
Areas to be addressed include: import certificates; recordkeeping and product traceability; qualifications and training for certifying agents; oversight of certification activities; conformity of foreign assessment systems; certification of grower group operations, and more.
The proposed rule also requires that a certified organic operation have a plan to prevent fraud. Certified operations will be required to develop an organic fraud prevention plan to describe how they are preventing fraud and verifying suppliers.
“A key to implementing meaningful organic fraud prevention measures is conducting a vulnerability assessment, because any fraud prevention measures are effective only if they are applied in the right places,” said Gwendolyn Wyard, vice president of regulatory & technical affairs for the Organic Trade Association.
Comments on the proposed rule are being accepted through August and September.