AMS No. 188-06
Billy Cox (202) 720-8998
Joan Shaffer (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, July 28, 2006 -- On July 26, 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, National Organic Program (NOP) issued a Final Notice of Revocation of Accreditation to the American Food Safety Institute, International (AFSII), Chippewa Falls, Wisc. On June 26, 2006, the NOP had issued a notice of Proposed Revocation to AFSII, citing seven serious violations of the NOP regulations. AFSII officials did not appeal the proposed revocation.
Under the terms of the revocation, principal officers of AFSII and responsibly connected persons are banned from conducting or participating in the certification of organic producers, handlers, livestock operations, or wild crop harvesting operations for not less than three years. AFSII was initially accredited under the NOP on Feb. 10, 2003.
Organic producers and handlers that were certified by AFSII must seek another certifying agent as soon as possible. Files for clients that have not already transferred their certification to another certifier will come under the supervision of the NOP, which will work with them to find another certifier. Clients may no longer use the AFSII seal on certified organic products nor may they show AFSII as the certifier on the label of organic products. The NOP will allow producers and handlers formerly certified by AFSII 30 days to change labels and promotional material to reflect their new certifying agency. Clients certified by AFSII will remain certified until they are revoked, suspended, or surrender their certification.
Also, under the terms of the revocation, the Department ordered AFSII to refer eight of AFSII’s approximately 30 clients to another certifier due to identified conflicts of interest between AFSII and certified operations and to reimburse those clients for the full cost of recertification. NOP regulations prohibit a certifier from providing consulting services for their organic certification clients for 12 months prior to certification.
The Department is continuing to investigate all operations certified by AFSII. AFSII clients who feel they may have been certified in violation of the NOP regulations should contact NOP Associate Deputy Administrator Mark Bradley at (202) 720-3252.