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USDA Revokes Organic Accreditation of Wisconsin Agency



According to the NOP, under the terms of the revocation, principal officers of AFSII and responsibly connected persons are banned from conducting or participating in the certification of organic producers, handlers, livestock operations, or wild crop harvesting operations for not less than three years. AFSII was initially accredited under the NOP on Feb. 10, 2003, and its accreditation was to last through Feb. 9, 2008.

In its news statement, the NOP cited "seven serious violations of the NOP regulations," including:

  • Providing certification services to operations to which American Food Safety's president, Karl Kolb, currently provides consulting services.
  • Failing to provide a full disclosure of conflicts of interest in its application for accreditation.
  • Issuing an organic certification to an operation that used seeds that had been treated with prohibited substances.
  • Failing to issue notices of noncompliance and proposed revocation or suspension to a company that had violated NOP regulations.

    In a statement, American Food Safety's president, Karl Kolb, said the company has been "fully compliant" with its organic certification program.

    The NOP advised that organic producers and handlers that were certified by AFSII must seek another certifying agent as soon as possible. Files for clients that have not already transferred their certification to another certifier will come under the supervision of the NOP, which will work with them to find another certifier.

    Furthermore, it said, clients may no longer use the AFSII seal on certified organic products nor may they show AFSII as the certifier on the label of organic products. The NOP will allow producers and handlers formerly certified by AFSII 30 days to change labels and promotional material to reflect their new certifying agency. Clients certified by AFSII will remain certified until they are revoked, suspended, or surrender their certification.

    The revocation stipulates that the USDA ordered AFSII to refer eight of its approximately 30 clients to another certifier due to identified conflicts of interest between AFSII and certified operations and to reimburse those clients for the full cost of recertification. NOP regulations prohibit a certifier from providing consulting services for their organic certification clients for 12 months prior to certification.

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