CCOF Approval Requirements for Imported Grain Shipments

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Date Published: 
May 15, 2017

Updated July 17, 2017

On May 11, 2017, CCOF Certification Services notified handlers, importers, and others of new requirements for seeking approval for imported grain shipments. Our goal is to help ensure the integrity of organic trade, which is also shared below.

Additionally, the NOP has recently provided a training and resource list regarding organic integrity in the supply chain.

Notice Regarding Approval Requirements for Imported Grain Shipments

CCOF Certification Services lacks confidence in the organic status of foreign grain, including, but not limited to, organic corn, wheat, and soy from eastern Europe and non-EU member states. Current concerns include volumes, sourcing and potential for noncompliant treatments. To increase our confidence in imported grains received by CCOF operations we are implementing additional oversight.

As a result, we strongly encourage importers and receivers of foreign grain to implement thorough and effective due diligence and verification of suppliers. Effective immediately, notification of incoming shipments is required for grain received directly by CCOF Certified operations. Operations are required to maintain complete audit trail records, including shipping documents, bills of lading, phytosanitary certificates and other documents. All product must be identified as organic in documentation and mass balance audits will be performed at inspections.

CCOF will review this information and work with USDA NOP, other agencies and certifiers as necessary to ensure that volumes are legitimate, product is not treated with prohibited materials in the supply chain, and product meets organic standards. We encourage other certifiers and actors in the supply chain to adopt similar processes.

Operations that receive imported grain shipments are strongly advised to consider their suppliers very closely and review, test and/or visit the production locations to verify the legitimacy of products. Operations with grain that is found to not meet organic standards will be notified that that product is not compliant. If an operation knowingly sells noncompliant product as organic it may lead to suspension of organic certification and potential civil penalties. We expect verification of organic status for imported grain to be challenging and complicated to achieve.

We appreciate the dedication of CCOF operations and others. It is important that we work together to defend organic standards and ensure the integrity of organic products and continued consumer confidence by applying additional due diligence.

Read the original notice and formal policy.