First certifier to be revoked by the USDA?
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
Certifiers are supposed to ensure that rules are followed and forward records about organic rule breakers to the USDA. Recently, questions have been raised about the trustability of the USDA. The key reason for this seems to be the spotty oversight of its 96 organic certifiers, as a Dallas Morning News analysis found out.
Organic violations are known across the country, but a certifier has never been removed. In June 2006, however, the agency issued a notice to revoke the certification of American Food Safety Institute International in Chippewa Falls, according to records obtained by The News. The company oversees about 30 organic operations in seven states and Mexico, according to USDA records. It is also part of the High Sierra Group, which also owns companies that make specialty chemicals for the food industry. A report from the investigation stated that this company certified a seed farm that was treated with banned chemicals even after another certifier turned the farm down for that reason. It also allowed a bottled-water company to use the USDA Organic label despite federal rules against designating water as organic.
The audit recommended the USDA to revoke the company’s ability to grant organic approval to food producers and to pay for them to get their certification by another company. No statement has been made by the certifier yet.