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USDA/AMS RIN: 0581-AD09 Publication ID: Fall 2018 
Title: NOP; Strengthening Organic Enforcement  
Abstract:

The rule supports a broader strategy to strengthen oversight of organic imports and the organic supply chain. AMS intends this rule to deter fraud, enhance enforcement and protect organic integrity.

 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Regulatory 
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 205   
Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 6501   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

The March 2010 Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit of the National Organic Program (NOP) raised issues related to the program's progress for imposing enforcement actions. One concern was that organic producers and handlers facing revocation or suspension of their certification are able to market their products as organic during what can be a lengthy appeals process. As a result, AMS expects to publish a proposed rule to revise language in section 205.681 of the NOP regulations, which pertains to adverse action appeals. It is expected that this rule will streamline the NOP appeals process such that appeals are reviewed and responded to in a more timely manner.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), 7 U.S.C. section 6501 et seq., requires that the Secretary establish an expedited administrative appeals procedure for appealing an action of the Secretary or certifying agent (section 6520). The NOP regulations describe how appeals of proposed adverse action concerning certification and accreditation are initiated and further contested (sections 205.680, 205.681).

Alternatives:

The program considered maintaining the status quo and hiring additional support for the NOP appeals team. This rulemaking was determined to be preferable because it will reduce redundancy in the appeals process, where an appellant can more quickly appeal the administrator's decision to an administrative law judge.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

This action will affect certified operations and accredited certifying agents. The primary impact is expected to be expedited enforcement action, which may benefit the organic community through deterrence and increased consumer confidence in the organic label. It is not expected to have a significant cost burden upon affected entities beyond any monetary penalty or suspension or revocation of certification or accreditation, to which these entities are already subject to under current regulations.

Risks:

No risks have been identified.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  03/00/2019 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Jennifer Tucker
Deputy Administrator, USDA National Organic Program
Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Marketing Service
1400 Independence Avenue SW,
Washington, DC 20250
Phone:202 260-8077