The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) has revised its webpage for posting fraudulent organic certificates. The text-based list of fraudulent certificates has been replaced with a more user-friendly, downloadable spreadsheet. The new spreadsheet makes it easier for users to review, search, and sort the list.
In addition, the NOP is alerting the organic trade about the presence of several additional fraudulent organic certificates. Eleven fraudulent organic certificates listing the following businesses are in use and have recently been reported to the NOP:
- Aphrodite Group
- Hambsch Family Vineyards, LLC
- Gulda Afro Group Sanayi Ticaret Wix
- Wayne Food Co Ltd
- Dong Duong Export Company Limited
- Pichuberry LLC
- Shad Enterprises
- Campo Agricola Agua Azul
- BioOrganic CIA LTDA
- Societe Aparma Sarl
These eleven certificates falsely represent agricultural products as certified organic under the USDA organic regulations, violating the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.
Fraudulent certificates may have been created and used without the knowledge of the operator or the certifying agent named in the certificate. The posting of fraudulent certificates does not necessarily mean that the named operator or certifying agent was involved in illegal activity. If an operation named on a fraudulent certificate is certified, its certifying agent, identified in the list of certified operations, can provide additional information and verification to the organic trade.
The vigilance of the organic community is a vital force in ensuring organic integrity. Organic handlers should continue to review certificates carefully, validate with their certifying agents where needed, and send any suspicious certificates to the NOP Compliance and Enforcement team.
Any use of this certificate or other fraudulent documents to market, label, or sell non-organic agricultural products as organic can result in a civil penalty of up to $11,000 per violation.
Persons with information regarding the production or use of this or other fraudulent NOP certificates are asked to send information to the NOP Compliance & Enforcement Division.