MOSA provides our clients with much more than just certification.

Joe Pedretti

MOSA Client Services Director

Understanding the Benefits of Increased Enforcement

Understanding the Benefits of Increased Enforcement

Kristen Adams, Certification Services Director

We are all feeling the weight of increased organic enforcement and new regulations. The recent Origin of Livestock and following Strengthening Organic Enforcement rules impact the entire organic supply chain and regulatory system - producers, buyers, sellers, importers, brand owners and certification agencies like MOSA. If you have already completed your 2023 Annual Inspection you most likely experienced a longer inspection with more detailed questions and a deeper review of your records. In order to accept the changes that increase enforcement brings we need to understand the root of the problem.

According to the Organic Trade Association, total organic sales - including organic non-food products - were a record $67.6 billion in 2022. This growth reflects consumer’s commitment to supporting organic production systems, but as demand grows, so does the complexity of the system.

The Executive Summary of the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) rule reminds us of changes that have occurred since the original organic regulations were published in 2000. At that point in time, supply chains were typically shorter and less complex. Here at MOSA we see more organic products handled by brokers, cattle traders and importers who, before the Strengthening Organic Enforcement amendments to the National Organic Standards, were not part of this regulated system. These gaps in oversight increase the potential for fraud. Fraud devalues the hard work that you do to maintain organic integrity.

Increased enforcement of the National Organic Program through MOSA’s oversight brings several benefits:

  1. Consumer Confidence: Strong enforcement of the NOP enhances consumer confidence in organic products. Consumers trust that the organic label accurately represents the production methods used, including avoiding synthetic pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and other prohibited substances. Increased enforcement helps prevent fraud and mislabeling, ensuring that consumers get what they expect when purchasing organic products.

  2. Maintaining Organic Standards: Rigorous enforcement of the NOP safeguards the integrity and consistency of organic standards. It prevents unscrupulous producers from exploiting loopholes or engaging in deceptive practices that undermine the organic label's meaning. This ensures a level playing field for all organic farmers and businesses, preserving the integrity of the organic industry.

  3. Fair Competition for Organic Farmers: Strong enforcement of the NOP prevents fraud and misrepresentation by unscrupulous producers who may undercut the prices of genuinely organic farmers. By ensuring that organic products meet the required standards, enforcement helps maintain fair competition in the market and supports the livelihoods of organic farmers.

  4. Protecting Public Health and the Environment: Organic agriculture aims to minimize negative impacts on the environment and human health by promoting sustainable practices. Increased enforcement of the NOP helps prevent the use of synthetic pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and other potentially harmful chemicals, reducing pesticide residues in food, protecting farmworkers, and minimizing environmental contamination

  5. International Trade and Harmonization: Increased enforcement of the NOP improves the credibility of U.S. organic products in the international market. It encourages trade partners to recognize and accept U.S. organic standards, facilitating exports and promoting harmonization of organic regulations globally. This benefits organic producers seeking to expand their markets abroad.

  6. Innovation and Research: Enforcement of the NOP encourages innovation in organic farming practices. By supporting research and development of organic methods, increased enforcement contributes to the advancement of sustainable agricultural techniques. This can lead to improved organic farming practices, increased productivity, and the development of new organic products.

MOSA’s staff includes current and former farmers, food and agriculture professionals, organic consumers, and lifelong advocates for a healthy agricultural system. We understand the challenges many of you face because of climate change, inflation, changing markets, and increased oversight. We remain committed to preventing fraud that erodes your market, and we continue our commitment to upholding organic integrity through practical oversight of the National Organic Standards.