Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA) and Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY) have introduced the Organic Standards Protection Act (HR 5962), to ensure that products bearing the USDA organic seal comply with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.

The bill grants USDA new investigatory and “stop-sale” authority for products fraudulently labeled and sold as certified organic while protecting the rights of producers and handlers during an appeal process. The bill increases recordkeeping requirements by requiring all organic producers to retain records for 5-years and certifiers to retain records for 10-years.

Producers and certifiers must provide records upon demand to USDA investigators and enforcement officers. The bill further grants USDA the authority to enforce its “stop-sale” actions through the Federal Courts and for administrative revocation of certification. The bill also provides for civil penalties of $10,000 per violation for violators of USDA revocation of certification orders.

Criminal penalties are, of course, also available to Federal prosecutors under 18 USC Sec. 1001 (Fraud and False Statements to Federal Officers).

A copy of HR 5962 is posted below: