Posted on April 14, 2020 by Sustainable Food News

Organic coconut water brand caught up in fake organic scheme

Thailand-based Dechathon was suspended by USDA Nat'l Organic Program in 2017

The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) on Monday reported two fraudulent organic certificates circulating in the marketplace.

The first is Dachathon Fruits Safety Small and Micro Community Enterprise, based in Ratchaburi, Thailand. The products listed on the fake organic certificate include three varieties of organic coconut water under the C2O Pure brand as well as C2O Cold Brew Fair Trade Organic Coffee.

A request was sent to the NOP for information regarding any reports it received of purchases of C2O Pure products as a result of the fraudulent organic certificate. A request of the same nature was also sent to C2O Pure Coconut Water LLC in Long Beach, Calif., which has two sources for its coconuts one of which is Ratchaburi, Thailand.

The real organic certificate for Dechathon (spelled Dachathon on the fake organic certificate), was suspended by the NOP in April 2017. by its certifier Control Union Certifications (CUC). The fake organic certificate, which names CUC as the certifier, has an issue date of March 3, 2017. See the fake organic certificate here.

Royal Bengal Ltd, allegedly based in Hamburg, Germany, and certified by Nebraska-based OneCert LLC. No other information is currently available as the link to the fake organic certificate is not working. A request to correct that has been made.

The NOP gave the publish date for Royal Bengal as Feb. 13, but Monday was the first day it showed up on its Fraudulent Certificates list, which is now a roster of 135 fraudulent organic certificates dating back to 2011, when the agency first began disclosing the fake organic certificates to the public.

The agency, which is overseen by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), said the certificates falsely represent food and ag products as being “certified organic,” violating the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, which can result in a civil penalty of up to $17,952 for each violation, up nearly $7,000 since last year.

In December, The NOP also reported two fraudulent organic certificates circulating in the marketplace in December, and another two fraudulent organic certificates in October.

In August, the NOP reported six fraudulent organic certificates – four from Pakistan, one from South Africa, and one from Australia. The four fake organic certificates from Pakistan all say the companies are certified organic by American Global Standards LLC, but the NOP said the companies are not certified by any USDA-accredited certifying agent.

The Pakistani companies listed on the certificates include:

  • Khalid Rice Mills – Nankana Sahib, Pakistan. Fake certificate says company sells Super Basmati Rice and Long Grain Rice. See the fake organic certificate here.
  • Ittefaq Trading Co. – Lahore, Pakistan. Fake certificate says company processes Himalayan Salt Products. See the fake organic certificate here.
  • AM Trading Company – Mangowal Gharbi, Pakistan. Fake certificate says company sells Himalayan Rock Salt & Mineral. See the fake organic certificate here.
  • Suhail International – Lahore, Pakistan. Fake certificate says company sells Natural Crystalline Rock Salt & Minerals. See the fake organic certificate here.

The South African company listed on the other new fraudulent organic certificate is: BKH Operators which is allegedly engaged in crops, handling/processing and certified organic by International Certification Services, Inc. (ICS), based in Medina, N.D.

The Australian company named on the fake certificate is Pinnacle Science Laboratories International Australia Pty Ltd. of Truganina, Victoria, Australia. The products listed on the certificate include several varieties of organic coconut milk and coconut water. The organic certifier listed on the fake certificate is OneCert, Inc., based in Lincoln, Neb., as well as Natural Organics Farming and Vegan Foods India Pvt., Ltd. While OneCert is a USDA-accredited certifying body, Natural Organics is not. See the fake organic certificate here.

In June, the NOP reported one fake organic certificate, which showed the company’s name as: Merlin Bird Modern Agriculture Co., Ltd. of Jingzhou, China. The certificate shows the alleged scope of organic certification is handling and the alleged certification agency is Kiwa BCS Oko-Garantie GmbHSee the fake organic certificate here.

In May, the NOP reported six fake organic certificates including:

  • Aloe Farms Inc., Los Fresnos, Texas – Fake certificate says “organic land producer” certified by Texas Dept. of AgricultureSee the fake organic certificate here.
  • Bulk Hemp WarehouseDunsmuir, Calif. – Fake certificate says “handling/processing” certified by International Certification Services, Inc. (ICS), Medina, N.D. See the fake organic certificate here.
  • Supaporn DamdaengdeeChiang Mai, Thailand – Fake certificate says “personal care products” certified by Maryland Department of Agriculture. See the fake organic certificate here.
  • True Herbs, Delhi, India – Fake certificate says “handling/chia seeds” certified by Quality Certification Services. See the fake organic certificate here.
  • Flamingo Exports, Indore, India – Fake certificate says “Production/Handling Plan: Products-Bovine Colostrum Powder, Herbal Extracts, Essential Oils & all types of Ayurvedic Raw Material” certified by UK Cert Limited, which is not a USDA-accredited organic certifier. See the fake organic certificate here.
  • Winter Springs Farms LLC, Muleshoe, Texas –Fake certificate says “handling” certified by OneCert, Inc., Lincoln, Neb. See the fake organic certificate here.

In March, three fake organic certificates were reported including:

  • A.G. Industries – Noida, Uttar Pradesh state, India – Production/Handling Plan: Manufacturer, Supplier and Exporters of Mint Products, Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, and Allied Products. Certificates says certified by UK Certification Ltd. See the fake organic certificate here.
  • Sweetly Stevia Ltd. – London, U.K. – Fake certificate says Handler (Processor) certified by Quality Assurance International (QAI). See the fake organic certificate here.
  • QC Unlimited, LLC dba Prescribed For Life – Fredericksburg, Tex., Handler:  Processing and packaging of specialty food ingredients by Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA), based in Viroqua, Wis. The organic certificate number and the products listed on the fake organic certificate match those of legitimately certified organic operation AmTech Ingredients, based in Minnesota, which is also certified by MOSAThe NOP said “AmTech Ingredients is not responsible for the alteration of this certificate.” See the fake organic certificate here.

In November, five fake organic certificates were reported including:

  • Changge Shengyuan Bee Industry Co., Ltd. – Henan, China, allegedly certified for honey, pollen and beeswax by certification agency Kiwa BCS Oko-Garantie GmbH on May 5, 2018
  • Netnapa Phumma – Chiang Mai, Thailand, allegedly certified for personal care products by the Maryland Department of Agriculture
  • Natural Citrus Ingredients LLC – Ft. Pierce, Fla., allegedly certified by Americert International in Gainsville, Fla. The address on the fake Natural Citrus organic certificate is the same as Citrus Extracts LLC, which is legitimately certified organic by Americert International. The NOP said Citrus Extracts LLC “is not responsible for the alteration of this certificate.”
  • Maluba Essential Oils – Durban, South Africa, allegedly certified for organic oils production by the Republic of South Africa Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food. The NOP said: “The USDA has no reason to believe that the Republic of South Africa participated in or knew about the creation of this fraudulent organic certificate.”

In September 2018, six fake organic certificates were reported including:

  • NTP Nuts and Grains – Johannesburg, South Africa, allegedly certified for refined sunflower oil by certification agency NOFA-NY Certified Organic LLC on Jan. 24, 2018
  • Global Organic Crop – Guyana, allegedly certified for organic sugar by Quality Certification Services on March 9, 2013
  • Daara Tuba Trade Pty Ltd. – Yaounde, Cameroon, allegedly certified by Quality Certification Services on April 10, 2017
  • Indian Herbs Extractions – Nainital, India, allegedly certified for production/handling on Aug. 28, 2014, by QMS Certification.
  • Michael Floren – Krakow, Poland, allegedly a manufacturer and distributor of organic green cardomom [sic] seed on Sept. 20, 2011, by Pacific Agricultural Certification Society (PACS). The NOP said PACS is accredited by the Canadian Organic Regime not the NOP.
  • Unnamed Business (Producer ID #16092 as shown on the certificate) – Altoona, Fla., allegedly certified as a handler (repack) on Nov. 21, 2016, by Baystate Organic Certifiers

Prior to those six, the NOP last reported fake organic certificates in April 2018, when it posted 11 of them, including one that shows the same NOP ID number as a global organic ingredients supplier owned by SunOpta Inc.

Tradin Organic Agriculture B.V., based in Amsterdam, is a subsidiary of Toronto-based SunOpta. The fake organic certificate listed a company called Buywise Wholesale Ltd. in Glasgow, Scotland as being allegedly certified organic by USDA-accredited certification agency Control Union Certifications B.V. (CUC), based in The Netherlands.

CUC also certifies Tradin Organic and has confirmed that the organic certificate for Buywise, which shows the same NOP ID as Tradin Organic, is fraudulent.

The 10 other fake organic certificates listed in April include:

In December 2017, the NOP reported two fraudulent organic certificates including:

  • Cloud Vaping Industries, Scottsdale, Ariz., allegedly certified for “processed products” by Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) International in Lincoln, Neb., in February 2013
  • Viet Nam Agricultural Biotechnology Joint Stock Company in Dac Lak Province, Vietnam, allegedly certified for “Crop-Plant, Handling-Processing” by Netherlands-based Control Union Certifications in October.

The NOP said OCIA “does not certify Cloud Vape Industries” as a certified-organic operation and is “not responsible for the fraudulent use of this certificate.” The agency also said Control Union has confirmed it is not associated with the certificate for Viet Name Agricultural Biotechnology.

In November 2017, the NOP reported seven fraudulent organic certificates including:

In September 2017, the NOP reported the following three fraudulent organic certificates:

  • Sun Corp. dba Anima Mundi Herbals – The NOP said SunFood Corp. is certified by CCOF and is an operation in good standing, and “is not responsible for the alteration of this certificate.” The alleged address and organic certificate issue date are Long Island City, N.Y., and Dec. 12, 2006.
  • Pacific Botanicals, LLC dba Anima Mundi Herbals – The NOP said Pacific Botanicals is certified by Oregon Tilth and is an operation in good standing, and “is not responsible for the alteration of this certificate.” The alleged address and organic certificate issue date are Long Island City, N.Y., and April 1, 2017.
  • Ndudike Import & Export – Canada – The certificate says, “Manufacture, Processing, Packaging and Exportation of Kabuli Chickpeas.” The alleged organic certificate issue date is Feb. 12, 2016. The alleged accredited certifying agent and location is ARS Probata in Germany.

Earlier in September 2017, the NOP reported a fraudulent organic certificate listing a company called Eskinler Insaat Gida San. Ve Tic. Ltd. Sti, based in Gaziemir, Izmir, Turkey. The products listed on the fake certificate include grape, plum, apricot, cherry orchards in Uzbekistan.

In August 2017, the USDA reported a fraudulent organic certificate listing a company called Siripak Trading, based in Thailand.

In July 2017, the NOP reported 11 fake organic certificates:

  • MySpiceSage – Yonkers, N.Y.
  • Aphrodite Group – Thailand
  • Hambsch Family Vineyard, LLC – North Garden, Va. – NOP said Hambsch Family Vineyard is an operation in good standing, certified by Quality Certification Services (QCS), and “is not responsible for the altercation of this certificate.”
  • Gulda Afro Group Sanayi Ticaret Wix – Mersin, Turkey – The fake certificate fraudulently claims the company sells 100% organic agricultural products including corn, onions, apples and ginger.
  • Wayne Food Co Ltd. – Juneau, Alaska
  • Dong Duong Export Company Ltd. – Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Pichuberry LLC – Phoenix, Ariz. – NOP said Andes Export Company, which is listed on the fake certificate, is an operation in good standing, certified by CERES, and is not responsible for the certificate’s alteration.
  • Shad Enterprises – Karachi, Pakistan
  • Campo Agricola Agua Azul – Jalisco, Mexico – NOP said Campo Agricola, a blueberry supplier, had surrendered its organic certification in December.
  • BioOrganic CIA Ltda. – Pichincha, Ecuador – NOP said BioOrganic CIA in Quito, Ecuador is an operation in good standing and certified by CERES, but that BioOrganic CIA Bracamoros is a revoked operation.
  • Societe Aparma Sarl – Yaounde, Cameroon – NOP said Societe Aparma Sarl is not a certified-organic operation.

In June 2017, the NOP reported six fraudulent organic certificates:

  • Morgan Cosmetics LLC – Newark, Del.
    • Scope of Certification: Handler-Processor: 100% Organic Moroccan Argan Oil
      USDA Accredited Certifying Agent: A Bee Organic; De Luz, Calif. Current Certificate Issue Date: April 1, 2016
      (Note: A Bee Organic has confirmed that the certificate is fraudulent and is NOT responsible for its production).
  • Biofir S.A De C.V – Veracruz, Mexico
    • Scope of Certification: Crops: Tamarind, Pawpaw, Chili, Cob, Watermelon, Earthworm humus
      USDA Accredited Certifying Agent: Organic Certifiers, Ventura, Calif. Current Certificate Issue Date: April 17, 2015
      (Note: OC has confirmed that the certificate is fraudulent and is NOT responsible for its production).
  • Agrobioos – Tierra Blanca, Mexico
    • Scope of Certification: Crops: Lemon, Coconut, Cob, Hens egg, Vermicompost
      USDA Accredited Certifying Agent: Organic Certifiers, Ventura, Calif. Current Certificate Issue Date: April 20, 2015
      (Note: OC has confirmed that the certificate is fraudulent and is NOT responsible for its production).
  • Qingdao Devotion Chemical Co., Ltd. – Qingdao, China
    • Scope of Certification: Handling: Sandalwood Essential Oil
      USDA Accredited Certifying Agent: CERES GmbH, Happurg; Germany. Current Certificate Issue Date: May 8, 2014
      (Note: CERES has confirmed that the certificate is fraudulent and is NOT responsible for its production).
  • Cooper Venture Associates – Louisville, Colo.
    • Scope of Certification: Handler: Sencha 8907 – Tea
      USDA Accredited Certifying Agent: Quality Assurance International, San Diego, Calif. Current Certificate Issue Date: March 29, 2009
      (Note: QAI has confirmed that the certificate is fraudulent and is NOT responsible for its production).
  • Lala Jagdish Prasad & Co. – Kannauj, India
    • Scope of Certification: Organic Production Methods.
      USDA Accredited Certifying Agent and Location: Control Union Certifications, Zwolle, The Netherlands. Current Certificate Issue Date: November 7, 2014
      (Note: Control Union Certifications has confirmed that the certificate is fraudulent and is NOT responsible for its production).

In May 2017, the NOP reported eight fraudulent organic certificates:

In April 2017, the NOP reported seven fraudulent organic certificates:

Check out the list of fake organic certificates here.

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