U.S.: OTA announces pilot program to prevent, detect organic fraud - FreshFruitPortal.com

U.S.: OTA announces pilot program to prevent, detect organic fraud

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U.S.: OTA announces pilot program to prevent, detect organic fraud

The U.S. Organic Trade Association has announced the start of an industry pilot project to prevent and detect fraud in the global organic system. 

The three-month project was initiated by the Global Organic Supply Chain Integrity (GOSCI) task force, a group of 48 members formed last year.

The task force created a guide allowing the industry-wide implementation of systems and measures to preserve the integrity of the organic industry, both inside and outside of the U.S.

"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 OTA CEO and executive director Laura Batcha.

11 members of the GOSCI task force are taking part in the pilot project while it runs from June to September.

Participants will test drive the fraud prevention and detection strategies developed by the task force, concentrating on one product or ingredient, or a specific location to run through the pilot program.

They will seek comments from other stakeholders in their unique supply chain and then share feedback, giving recommendations on how to improve the strategies.

Collaborating partners, including the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP), will review and provide feedback on the recommendations provided by the task force.

"We need to have companies put our recommendations to the test in their everyday business activities to find the elements that have to be further developed," said OTA vice president of regulatory and technical affairs Gwendolyn Wyard.

"This pilot project is key to advancing the adoption of an industry-wide systemic approach to preserving organic integrity from the farm to the plate and to ensuring the honesty of global control systems."

The plan provides organic businesses with a risk-based approach for developing and implementing a written strategic plan to assure the authenticity of organic products.

It focuses on identifying and assessing specific weaknesses or vulnerabilities to deter fraud, establishing a monitoring program, and developing a complaint system to be used when fraud is detected or suspected.

"The success of organic relies on consumer trust of the Organic seal. It is critical that every link in the organic chain has systems and measures in place to provide the organic food that people can trust," said Batcha.


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