March 24/Washington/Agriculture Department Documents and Publications -- The Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the circulation of a fraudulent National Organic Program (NOP) organic certificate produced by an uncertified operation based in South Africa.
Reported to the NOP by an accredited certifying agent, the certificate falsely represents agricultural products as certified organic under the NOP regulations. The NOP has not found evidence that any product was sold, labeled, or represented as organic using the fraudulent certificate. The falsification violates the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.
"Certifier vigilance is helping to bring isolated incidents like this to the surface," said Miles McEvoy, NOP deputy administrator. "We believe that by reporting fraudulent certificates to the public we will prevent similar types of activity in the future."
The certificate contains the following identifying information:
* Certified entity and location: EMN TRADING LTD, 130 Biccard Street Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa
* Type of operation: Handler (Distributor)
* Certificate number: 105895-B
* Product listed as certified: Organic Demerara Sugar
* USDA Accredited Certifying Agent: Quality Assurance International (QAI), (Note: QAI brought the fraudulent certificate to the attention of the NOP and is NOT responsible for its production).
* Certificate issue location and date: Johannesburg, South Africa, 8 January 2011
Any use of the 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 immediately contact Mark Bradley, director, NOP Compliance and Enforcement Division, at (202) 720-3252 or at NOPCompliance@ams.usda.gov.
From the March 5, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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