Posted on May 29, 2020 by Sustainable Food News

Purveyors of organic acai berry powder, potatoes, vanilla, and coffee to pay USDA penalties

Nat'l Organic Program reports 5 settlements over alleged violations

The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) on Thursday reported settlements over alleged violations of organic regulations with five companies.

The NOP said it executes settlement agreements “as alternatives to administrative proceedings that may result in suspension or revocation of certification” and to bring certified-organic operators into full compliance “in a fast and efficient manner.”

In contrast to disclosures of settlement agreements prior to 2018, the NOP’s reporting format for settlement agreements does not include an electronic PDF file of the actual settlement.

The NOP on Thursday did not disclose the specific reason for the settlement agreements and provided scant details of the settlements.

Organic vanilla processor, exporter to pay penalty to Nat’l Organic Program

Intec Vanilla Niugini Ltd. apparently agreed on May 8 to settle alleged violations of organic regulations with the NOP by paying a $1,000 penalty, and “immediately stop selling, labeling, or representing its products as organic without certification.”

The Papua, New Guinea-based company received organic certificates for crops (vanilla beans) and handling (vanilla extract) in 2007 from  Australian Certified Organic.

The NOP also said that Intec has agreed to revise its Organic System Plan (OSP) to include all required information, outlining how it will:

  • comply with the organic regulations
  • inspect all new applicant grower plots
  • conduct grower- and inspector-specific training
  • implement a third-party quality assurance program
  • fully comply with all agreed-upon tasks, certifier requests, inspections and other requirements for maintaining its organic certification

A request for information from the company was not immediately returned.

Coffee roaster to pay $5,000 penalty

Evans Brothers Coffee based in Sandpoint, Idaho apparently agreed on May 5 to settle alleged violations of organic regulations with the NOP by paying a $5,000 penalty.

The coffee roaster, which also operates three retail locations but is not listed in the NOP’s database, also agreed to “immediately stop selling, labeling, or representing its products as organic without certification,” according to the NOP.

A request for information from the company was not immediately returned.

Supplier of organic seed potatoes still looks certified

Grand Teton Organics, based in Idaho Falls, Idaho, apparently agreed on April 30 to settle alleged violations of organic regulations with the NOP by paying a $1,000 penalty, and to “immediately stop selling, labeling, or representing its products as organic without certification,” according to the NOP.

Grand Teton Organics was certified organic in 2015 by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture for crops and handling potatoes. The NOP’s listing for the operation does not show any current suspension or revocation of its organic certificate.

A request for information from the company was not immediately returned.

Organic acai berry powder supplier settles with NOP

New Acai Amazonas, a supplier of organic acai berry powder, apparently agreed on April 7 to settle alleged violations of organic regulations with the NOP by paying a $1,000 penalty.

The Orlando, Fla.-based company, which is not listed in the NOP’s database, has also agreed to “immediately stop selling, labeling, or representing its products as organic without certification.”

A request for information from the company was not immediately returned.

Himalayan pink salt purveyor to pay penalty

WBM LLC dba WBM International, a purveyor of Himalayan pink salt, apparently agreed on March 31 to settle alleged violations of organic regulations with the NOP by paying a $500 penalty.

The Flemington, N.J.-based company, which is not listed in the NOP’s database, has also agreed to “immediately stop selling, labeling, or representing its products as organic without certification.”

A request for information from the company was not immediately returned.

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