An attempted fraud by a Chinese organic agricultural marketer was made public last Friday.
The USDA released a fraudulent organic certificate produced by an uncertified food supplier in China. The counterfeit certificate represented non-organic crops, including soybeans, millet, and buckwheat, as certified organic.
Ecocert, the accredited certifying agent whose name was illegally used on the fake certificate, was the first to bring the issue to the attention of the USDA’s National Organic Program.
So far, the USDA has not found evidence that any of the Chinese product was sold as organic. But the full extent of the issue is unknown at this time.
The USDA has a pretty shoddy record when it comes to managing imported products from China, so honestly I’m surprised that they caught this one. Let’s hope that they keep up the enforcement. The whole scandal is a good reminder that imported organic products can’t always be trusted.
Image courtesy of edlabdesigner via a Creative Commons license.