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Contamination Happens–What to Do Next

by Rachel Witte |

Operations are not always aware of their options and responsibilities when they suspect that contamination or commingling may have occurred at their operation. Prompt and thorough reporting can help your operation maintain compliance and ensure appropriate measures are taken.

If you are affected by drift, direct application of a prohibited material, or a commingling issue (including GMOs) that you believe resulted in the contamination of organic crops or products, remember to report the incident immediately to CCOF. Use the Procedures for Third Parties Reporting Contaminated Product to CCOF (excerpt below) to guide your report of the relevant details and your responsibilities. These procedures are available on our website at standards/contaminated-product.

Here is a list of information operations reporting contamination should provide along with their general report of the contamination event(s):

  • The type (including variety, if applicable) of contaminated product
  • The source of the product, including the certification agency of that source
  • The lot number or other identifying mark, if any, of the product 
  • The quantity of contaminated product, if known
  • The name of the prohibited contaminant, if known
  • The amount of the prohibited material, if known
  • The basis of knowledge of the contamination (food safety testing, observation, etc.)
  • If testing was performed, the test results themselves and any information about the sampling protocol and chain of custody
  • Any information about the likely source or reason for the contamination
  • Who the product has already been sold to (if applicable)
  • Any additional information relevant to the situation

Together we will investigate and ensure organic integrity is upheld. Thank you for joining us in protecting the organic seal.