Although there’s no evidence that certain extracts falsely labeled as organic were sold in the U.S., the Department of Agriculture is nonetheless warning organic distributors and processors to be aware of a fraudulent organic certificate being circulated by an uncertified operation in China.
The certificate falsely represents hibiscus, jasmine and beet root extract powders as being organic under National Organic Program (NOP) regulations, the USDA said in a news release Wednesday.
That constitutes a violation of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, the regulator said. Any use of the organic certificate or other fraudulent documents to market, label, or sell non-organic agricultural products as organic may result in a civil penalty of up to $11,000 per violation.
The NOP said it was alerted to the fraud by the accredited organic certifier whose name is falsely attributed as the issuer.
“It’s important the organic industry is aware of these sorts of attempts to deceive the organic system,” said Ruihong Guo, associate deputy administrator of the National Organic Program. “We’re continuing to remain vigilant to these attempts so organic standards are protected.”
The fraudulent certificate contains the following identifying information:
-Operation name and location: Xi’an Bosheng Biological Technology Co., Ltd., Room 1104, 11F, Dongxing Building, Jiangong Road, Xi’an, China
-Certificate number: 6199ONDDDDz2ec(US)
-Products listed as certified:
Organic Hibiscus Extract Powder
Organic Jasmine Extract Powder
Organic Beet Root Extract Powder
-USDA Accredited Certifying Agent and location: Ecocert SA, L’Isle Jourdain, France (Note: Ecocert SA brought the fraudulent certificate to the attention of the NOP and is not responsible for its production)
-Certificate issue location and date: Northeim, Germany, Jan. 26, 2012 [sic]