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USDA Enhances Enforcement of Organic Standards

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2010—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service today
issued new procedures that will increase the effectiveness of enforcing national
organic standards. Operating procedures are now in effect for the National
Organic Program (NOP) to ensure that all complaints of alleged violations and
civil penalties are consistently handled.
In the past, complaints of
alleged standards violations were referred to accredited certifying agents for
investigation and enforcement. With the implementation of new procedures, the
NOP will collaborate with accredited certifying agents in investigating cases
while handling all enforcement actions.
“The changes we are making
will ensure that all parties are given due process while increasing the
effectiveness of enforcing organic standards,” said Miles McEvoy, NOP deputy
administrator. “At the same time we want to take steps so that those who are
abiding by the regulations and rightfully marketing their foods as organic are
not put at a disadvantage by those falsely labeling their products. It allows us
to perform our job of assuring consumers they can trust the USDA organic label.”
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