Agricultural Marketing Service
About AMS Newsroom Opportunity Online Forms Help Contact Us
 
 
Search AMS
   Browse by Subject
National Organic Program
 
You are here: Home / National Organic Program / FAQ:%20%20Reporting%20Violations
 
National Organic Program
 
FAQ: Reporting Violations  

 
How do I report a suspected regulatory violation to the USDA?

 
If you suspect a violation of the USDA organic standards, you may submit a complaint as provided below. When submitting your complaint, please be prepared to provide as much information as possible. Suggested information for two frequently-reported violations is provided below.

 

 
Labeling Violations
Common labeling problems include not listing the organic product’s certifying agent, putting the word "organic" on the front of the packaging when the ingredients are organic but the entire product is not certified organic, and using the USDA organic seal on a multi-ingredient product that only has one or two organic ingredients (less than 95% of the total product). In these cases, please provide:
  • Brand name of the product
  • Certifying agent of the product
  • Any lot numbers (or “best by / before” dates) printed on the product
  • Name of the product manufacturer or distributor
  • Detailed explanation of the identified regulatory violation
  • If possible, actual product package or copy of the product label

 

 
Retail Establishment Violations
Common retail establishment problems include the commingling of organic and conventional produce in the same bin, missing or unclear signage identifying bulk products as organic, and contaminating organic products with unapproved cleaners or solvents. In these cases, please provide:
  • Name of the retail store
  • Address and contact information of the retail store
  • Date and time of incident
  • Any evidence obtained (pictures, unclear signage, etc.)

 
Complete and accurate information helps ensure that the issue can be successfully reviewed or investigated. Additionally, please provide your name and contact information if you are willing to discuss the issue further with an NOP Compliance staff member as needed.

 
Complaint Submission. Please submit your complaint via one of the channels provided below:

 
National Organic Program
For operations based outside California
(202) 720-3252; Attn: C&E Division
NOP Compliance and Enforcement
USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service
1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Mail Stop 0268
Washington, D.C. 20250

 
California State Organic Program
For operations based in California

 
Complaints may also be sent to the listed contact person for the certified producer or handler’s certifying agent (provided on the product label or sticker for retail products).

 
Have another question? Contact us (PDF)

 
Receive NOP Updates
 
  Be an Organic Insider!  
 
NOP Finder
 
  NOP Homepage  
 
  Consumer Information  
 
  National Organic Standards Board  
 
  Organic Certification & Accreditation  
 
  Compliance & Enforcement  
 
General Information
 
  FAQs  
 
  About NOP  
 
  2010-2012 Strategic Plan (PDF)  
 
  Fact Sheets  
 
 
  Last Modified Date: 08/22/2011