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Sign-up and training open for Organic Trade Association fraud prevention program 

Fifty-five organic businesses enrolled in association’s Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions

Maggie McNeil
(202) 403-8514
(202) 615-7997
Washington , DC
March 4, 2020
) — 

The Organic Trade Association on Wednesday announced an important new tool in its toolkit to fight organic fraud. Available beginning in April for members of the association’s Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program will be a comprehensive specially designed anti-fraud online training course, created by Michigan State in partnership with the Organic Trade Association.
The course, “Developing and Implementing an Organic Fraud Prevention Plan,” has been tailored specifically for organic operations, and provides detailed company-focused training on how to carry out a vulnerability assessment, and how to develop and implement an organic fraud prevention plan. A new handbook also has been developed for interested and enrolled companies that provides an overview of the program, and the steps required to enroll and succeed.

“Our members work hard every day to prevent fraud in the organic system, and it is critical that we support the private sector in their efforts,” said Gwendolyn Wyard, Vice President of Regulatory & Technical Affairs for the Organic Trade Association and staff coordinator for the Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program. “This relevant training course will help organic businesses put systems and measures in place that adequately support the promise of providing organic food that people can trust.”

The Organic Trade Association and its members are prioritizing significant time and resources into organic fraud prevention action inside and outside of the United States. This commitment includes the development of a major private-sector initiative that has evolved into the Organic Trade Association’s groundbreaking industry-wide Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program.

Organic companies wanting to protect against fraud in the organic supply chain can sign up now and be a part of this far-reaching effort to maintain integrity in organic.  

Already, 55 organic businesses have enrolled in the program, and have been using the association’s Organic Fraud Prevention Guide to prepare for the training and help detect and deter fraud.

A deep dive into fraud prevention

This new training course will take a deep dive into the key components of the Organic Fraud Prevention Plan, and show how to put it into real on-the-job practice. The 5- to 7-hour course is offered through MSU’s Food Fraud Initiative* and its Massive Open On-line Courses for Food Fraud (MOOC).

“Product fraud is a new and emerging topic. Without this type of clear, concise, and direct type of training, we find that companies get lost in the details and sometimes give up before they even really start,” said Dr. John Spink, Director of the Food Fraud Initiative at Michigan State. “From my experience working on food fraud prevention projects around the world, I believe that this is the most direct, most practical, and most helpful training program.”

Two other online courses, designed for inspectors and certifiers, will be offered later this year through USDA’s Organic Integrity Learning Center. All of the courses are free, and are online on-demand self-directed courses for self-paced learning. The courses are based on content in the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Fraud Prevention Guide and the food fraud prevention model developed by MSU’s Food Fraud Initiative, which is an interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach organization that focuses on types of food fraud that can weaken and threaten our public health and economy. 
Proactive collaboration to fight fraud

Companies that have enrolled in the association’s fraud prevention program said it is critical that the organic sector work together to proactively prevent fraud in all steps of the organic supply chain.

“Tradin Organics is pleased to participate in this industry-led initiative to strengthen organic integrity across the supply chain. We have long been committed to a risk-based approach to organic quality assurance, and welcome the opportunity to champion best practices across the industry,” said John Gohring, Sourcing Development Advisor for the global organic ingredient company. “Organic integrity is vital to safeguarding consumer trust, and we believe this initiative will play an important role in helping industry fulfill that promise.”
“The Organic Trade Association’s Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program is an important opportunity for the organic sector to work collaboratively toward a common good,” said Tom Chapman, Director of Ingredient Sourcing for Clif Bar & Co. “The vast majority of organic farmers and organic companies are following the standard, and they deserve to have a fair playing field. It’s important to Clif Bar that our consumers trust the organic label and the value it promises to their families, communities and the planet.”
“Awe Sum Organics is an independent, mission-focused company that’s been working with organic and only organic since our inception. It’s all we do,” said Matt Landi, Vice President & General Manager for the organic fruit company. “Even though our focus remains on creating a web of trusting partnerships between us and our growers, some going back decades, it is especially critical that programs such as this exist as organic has scaled, and that organic integrity remains the top priority both internationally and here in the U.S.”
How to enroll in the fraud prevention program
The Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program requires training, an organic fraud vulnerability assessment, and the development of an organic fraud prevention plan.
Registration confirms eligibility and signs the company up for the program and the on-line training course designed for organic operations. Once a company completes a nine-step enrollment process, they will receive a certificate of completion, be publicly recognized and considered “Organic Fraud Prevention Enrolled.” Confirmation from the company’s organic certifier that their Organic System Plan is updated with an Organic Fraud Prevention Plan is the final step to enrollment completion. The process is maintained annually.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 9,500 organic businesses across 50 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect ORGANIC with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace. The Organic Trade Association does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, national origin or ancestry, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, political affiliation or military status. Persons with disabilities who require alternate means for communication of program information can contact us at