Senate Farm Bill Includes Measure to Curtail Organic Fraud

Hope Kirwan reported earlier this month at Wisconsin Public Radio Online that, “Organic industry leaders in Wisconsin are applauding a recently approved version of the Farm Bill for cracking down on fraud.

“The U.S. Senate passed their version of the legislation on Thursday, June 28.

“Based on legislation introduced by Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, the bill would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update tracking of imported organic agricultural products. Those shipments would be required to have an electronic import certificate, which would be consolidated into an annual report on the total number of organic imports accepted into the U.S.

The update explained that, “Over the last year, reports of fraud and an internal audit have highlighted the USDA’s failure to enforce organic standards on imports.

John Mesko, executive director of the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, said the department’s current practices were developed when organic was a small, U.S.-based movement.

“‘Now we have a much more global organic industry,’ Mesko said. ‘We have lots of people around the world trying to participate in that industry and reap some of the benefits of it. And frankly, we’re behind on our ability to keep up with the technology.'”

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