May 9/Prepared Foods’ May 2011 “Market Watch” -- The USDA is warning of a “fraudulent National Organic Program (NOP) organic certificate.” Produced by an uncertified operation based in South Africa, the certificate falsely represents products as certified organic under NOP regulations.

While NOP has no evidence of any product sold, labeled or represented as organic using the fraudulent certificate, the falsification “violates the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990,” an agency release notes.

“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.”

According to the NOP, the certificate contains the 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