USDA Releases Organic Noncompliance and Adverse Action Flow Chart

August 02, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a Noncompliance and Adverse Action Flow Chart, a resource and training visual aid that will assist USDA-accredited certifying agents (certifiers) in overseeing certified organic farms and businesses.

The National Organic Program (NOP), part of AMS, oversees certifiers accredited under the USDA organic regulations, and certifiers are responsible for ensuring that certified operations and applicants for organic certification comply with the USDA organic regulations.

When organic farms and businesses do not comply with the USDA organic regulations, certifiers issue non-compliance notices, so that the operation knows what actions are required to come back into compliance. When farms and businesses fail to fix correctable non-compliance issues, a proposed adverse action, such as a Notice of Proposed Suspension or Revocation, may be issued.

Publishing this flow chart is part of AMS’ ongoing work to support sound and sensible compliance and enforcement. It reminds certifiers of the correct steps to take in highlighting farm and business non-compliance issues. It also helps make sure that certifiers are giving organic operations the due process allowed for in the USDA organic regulations.

This chart also supports the AMS goal of fair and focused enforcement, focusing enforcement on willful violators, while handling minor violations in a way that leads to compliance.  Correctly following the adverse action approach in the chart helps achieve those dual goals.

View the Noncompliance and Adverse Action Flow Chart.