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National Organic Program
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National Organic Program
Enforcement Actions  
The National Organic Program is committed to protecting organic integrity. Our certifying agents work closely with certified operations to ensure that USDA organic products are compliant with all organic regulations. Certifying agents also identify and report any appearance of fraud to allow us to take the appropriate action. A few recent examples are provided below:

Fraudulent organic certificates
When we learn that operations are distributing fraudulent organic certificates, we take appropriate enforcement actions. Learn more.

Misrepresentation of agricultural products as USDA organic
If an operation is selling or representing their products as organic without a certificate, we impose civil penalties and take other available enforcement actions. Many of the recent instances of product misrepresentation have come from operations whose certification was suspended due to inadequate record-keeping or other regulatory non-compliances.

Help us Maintain Organic Integrity!

Two of the most visible potential violations are described below. Submit a Complaint to USDA

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
  • 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.)


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  Last Modified Date: 12/21/2011