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USA: OTA starts pilot project to prevent and detect fraud
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The Organic Trade Association (OTA) announced the kick-off of a groundbreaking pilot project by the organic industry to prevent and detect fraud in the global organic system.
According to the OTA the far-reaching three-month pilot project was initiated by the Global Organic Supply Chain Integrity (GOSCI) Task Force of the Organic Trade Association. This group of 48 members of the trade group was formed last year to develop a fraud prevention program designed specifically for the organic industry that organic companies will be able to voluntarily enroll in, explains the press release. As the first step toward this program, a comprehensive “best practices” guide was created by the task force to facilitate the industry-wide implementation of systems and measures to preserve the integrity of organic, both inside and outside of the United States.
“Organic now operates in a global market. Fraud is one of the biggest threats to that market, and it cannot be tolerated in the organic system,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association, in announcing the initiative at the association’s Annual Policy Conference in Washington.
Participating in the pilot project are 11 members of the GOSCI Task Force, representing the entire organic supply chain, from farm to retailer and a diverse range of products, services and commodities including fresh produce, grain, spices, dairy, eggs, meat, beverages, packaged and prepared foods, importers and consulting services. Pilot participants are:
- Clarkson Grain Company, Inc. (handler/processor/feed grains/oilseeds)
- Egg Innovations, LLC (producer/handler/eggs, livestock feed)
- Global Organics Ltd. (handler/importer)
- Grain Millers, Inc. (handler/processor/grains)
- I Was Thinking (importer/handler/co-packer, grains, seeds, legumes, sweeteners)
- MOM’s Organic Market (retailer)
- Organically Grown Company (distributor/produce)
- Organic Valley CROPP Cooperative (producer/handler/livestock/dairy/meat)
- Pipeline Foods, LLC (handler/supply chain solutions/feed grains/oilseeds)
- J.M. Smucker Company (processor/multi-ingredient)
- True Organic Products, Inc. (manufacturer/fertilizer)
The pilot will run from June to September. It is designed to be an intensive-focused exercise in which participants will “test drive” in their specific businesses the fraud prevention and detection strategies developed by the GOSCI Task Force. Participants will concentrate on one product or ingredient, or a specific location to run through the pilot program. During the pilot, the participants will seek comments from other stakeholders in their unique supply chain, then share feedback on their experiences and give recommendations on how to improve and strengthen the suggested strategies.
Collaborating partners in the project are the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program, the Accredited Certifiers Association, and NSF International. The collaborating partners will review and provide feedback on the recommendations put forth by the task force, as well as provide support on implementation and adoption efforts, as agreed with pilot participants.