MOSA Certified Organic Announces New Imported Grain Policy
BY MOSA Certified Organic | Jul 05, 2017
Notice Regarding Requirements for Approval of Grain Shipments Imported from Eastern Europe and non-EU Member States
In response to the discovery of fraudulent imports of soybeans and corn from Turkey that violated federal organic regulations, MOSA is joining other accredited certifiers and increasing requirements for approval of shipments of at-risk grains from Eastern Europe. Anytime there is fraud anywhere in the organic system, it devalues our Organic Seal, and hurts organic farmers. The success of the organic industry has resulted from the integrity of the organic certification process and organic operators’ commitment to compliance and enforcement. Oversight of foreign organic suppliers must be robust. Fraud cannot be tolerated. MOSA is proactively working on several fronts to improve integrity in the organic supply chain, and to help prevent future incidents of fraudulent imports.
MOSA currently lacks confidence in the organic status of foreign grain, especially including organic corn, wheat, and soy from eastern Europe and non-EU member states (Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Czech Republic, and Slovenia). Current concerns include volumes, with imports increasing rapidly in a very short period of time, and sourcing and potential for noncompliant treatments. In solidarity with other members of the organic certification and enforcement community, and to increase confidence, we are implementing additional oversight when imported grains are received by MOSA-certified operations.
Effective immediately and until further notice, approval is required for all imported grain shipments received directly by MOSA certified operations. Any MOSA-certified operator that receives imported grain directly from a ship must demonstrate full traceability - back to growers - along with volumes, and must also demonstrate that no prohibited materials were used in shipping. Any shipments that MOSA does not specifically approve are considered to be noncompliant with requirements to provide information necessary to verify compliance. Applicable National Organic Program regulations include sections 205.2 "Audit Trail"; 205.103; and 205.201 (a)(6).
MOSA will review these required records and disclosures, and will work with other agencies and certifiers as necessary to ensure that volumes are legitimate, that products are not treated with prohibited materials in the supply chain, and that products meets organic standards.
Operations that receive imported grain shipments are strongly advised to consider their suppliers very closely and review, test and/or visit the production locations to verify the legitimacy of products. Operations with grain that is found to not meet organic standards will be notified that that product is not compliant. If an operation knowingly sells noncompliant product as organic it may lead to suspension of organic certification and potential civil penalties.
We recognize that verification of organic status for imported grain may be challenging and complicated to achieve. We also recognize that there may be challenges for US operations as international traders and certifiers adjust to additional documentation requirements. In advance, we’d like to express appreciation for the patience and dedication of MOSA-certified operations in responding to these additional requirements and helping us to maintain organic integrity. Working with us like this helps to defend organic standards and ensure continued consumer confidence in organic. Thanks for your help with the additional diligence needed at this time.
In addition to this policy specific to Eastern European imports, please note that MOSA will be increasing scrutiny in our organic system plan review and during annual inspections to ensure organic integrity in the supply chain in general, especially when parts of the supply chain are uncertified, or when organic commodities come from foreign sources. In 2017, MOSA will also be conducting extra unannounced surveillance inspections of some brokers, traders, and larger feed handlers who may source imported grains.
MOSA Imported Grain Policy
All MOSA certified operations who directly receive at-risk grain from inbound ships at ports or docks must meet additional compliance requirements. At-risk grain includes, but is not limited to, corn, wheat and soy that originates or is shipped from eastern Europe or non-EU Member states (Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Czech Republic, and Slovenia).
Operations must identify themselves to MOSA as receivers of at-risk grain.
Operations must provide information about each shipment of at-risk grain received since January 2016 including shipment numbers, all suppliers or brokers involved prior to receipt, and volumes received. If available, submit phytosanitary certificates, shipping manifests, certificates of origin, transaction certificates and other relevant documents. This information is helpful for understanding the trade and parties involved in shipments.
As of June 20, 2017, at least two weeks prior to receiving an inbound shipment of at-risk grain and/or sales of at-risk grain, operations must request MOSA approval for the shipment by providing additional documentation supporting the organic status of the shipment. Review will be performed at MOSA’s Administrative Fee rate of $90/hour, six hours minimum.
Shipping manifest, certificate of origin, and phytosanitary certificate for each vessel used to move the product in the supply chain.
All transaction certificates for the shipment and sales to intermediate handlers, including brokers, traders, wholesalers, and transporters.
All residue, GMO, quality, or other analytical testing performed in the supply chain.
Bill of Lading and invoice(s) from all vendor(s).
Full verification of the volumes and full traceability for all grain in the shipment back to the growers. This information must be confirmed as complete and accurate by the certifier of the shipment and provided to MOSA. Verification must include the following, at a minimum, and be in sufficient detail to be readily understood and audited:
Identify all growers and suppliers, their acreage, certifier, certificate, certificate number, NOP ID (if applicable), and expected production volume.
Volume of each grower’s grain represented in the shipment.
Identify each intermediate handler in the shipment’s supply chain, their certifier, certificate, certificate number, and NOP ID (if applicable). This includes all brokers, traders, wholesalers, and transporters.
Verification of mass balance for the shipment from the certifier of each intermediate handler.
- MOSA may provide tools for completing this information.
- MOSA will review documentation, determine if the shipment appears compliant with organic standards, and notify the operation. Additional inspections, pesticide residue or GMO testing, or documentation from the grower, supplier, intermediate handlers, and certifiers may be required at MOSA’s discretion. Sales of noncompliant product may lead to proposed adverse action and potential civil penalties if an operation knowingly sells noncompliant product as organic.