The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducts independent audits and investigations of the Department's programs and operations.
Today, the OIG published findings from its audit on "National Organic Program International Trade Arrangements and Agreements." OIG began its review of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) in early 2016.
The audit evaluated NOP’s internal controls for approving and overseeing international trade arrangements and agreements that allow organic imports into the United States.
OIG Audit Report Findings
OIG recommended that the NOP strengthen oversight controls and offered nine recommendations to build on existing NOP policies and procedures. These recommendations focus primarily on the process used to determine:
- whether a countries’ organic standards are equivalent to USDA’s organic standards, and
- if organic imports comply with USDA’s organic standards.
Protecting the integrity of organic products in the United States and throughout the world is the NOP’s core mission. In its response to the OIG audit report, NOP:
- accepts the OIG’s findings,
- outlines several projects already underway by NOP staff to improve oversight, and
- references related actions OIG recommends be taken by other agencies.
View the Report
NOP continues to increase communications and training opportunities designed to strengthen the integrity of organic imports. Here are links to some key resources:
- Oversight of Organic Imports: Summary of AMS Actions
- Enforcement Actions and Quarterly Reporting
- Webinar Slides: Organic Integrity in the Supply Chain (pdf)
- Short Video (11 min) on Protecting Organic Supply Chain Integrity
- Training for Handlers: Organic Integrity in the Supply Chain (30 min video)
- Resource List for Organic Handlers: Videos, Fact Sheets, and Guides (pdf)
Organic Integrity from Farm to Table, Consumers Trust the Organic Label