Alliance for Organic Integrity – Strengthening organic assurance globally

The Alliance was founded in 2019 by IOAS to improve organic integrity.

 Our mission, is to be the global multistakeholder Alliance that delivers the education, tools and resources needed to lift quality in organic control; maintaining the integrity of organic certification and consumer confidence in the organic label.

We aim to

Collaborate with Stakeholders

Collaborate with stakeholders from industry, control bodies, government agencies and non-profits to share knowledge, innovations, resources and solutions for organic integrity.

Lift Quality

Lift quality in organic inspection, certification and accreditation through education and training in best practice.

Deliver Tools

Deliver tools that help prevent fraudulent products entering organic supply chains.

Promote Harmonization

Promote the harmonization of organic requirements to enable more efficient and consistent application.

The Alliance for Organic Integrity launched The Organic Integrity Mapping Project at Biofach 2024. This research project has now taken place and we are in the process of consolidating the results. The Alliance has initiated this research project in order to develop a thorough understanding of the global organic integrity landscape: the organisations and initiatives currently working to improve the integrity of the organic control system or address deficiencies within it. As well as sharing findings as a resource for the organic control community via the website and The Organic Standard publication, The Alliance will identify the gaps that need to be filled and identify initiatives to support as well as organisations to bring into The Alliance as Partners. Many thanks to the 87 global experts and stakeholders who took the time to complete this survey!  We thank all contributors in advance for sharing their knowledge and insights. 

Subscribe to The Organic Standard

In 2023 The Alliance partnered with Biocertification SL to re-launch the much respected The Organic Standard online journal.

 

The Alliance and BSL recognised the gap for an information resource that reports on timely issues affecting organic integrity and the organic control community: The Organic Standard aims to fill this gap, providing the organic community with much needed news, analysis, insight and guidance on global organic regulatory, standards and control issues.

 

The journal has a growing number of subscribers representing certification bodies, standard setters, sector bodies, governments, consultancies and industry. It has become widely recognised as the credible source of international news and analysis for organic standards setting, certification, regulation and accreditation. The journal has different sections such as Certification & Accreditation, Standards & Regulation, Updates and Opinion, and Country Focus Reports. 

 

Help us strengthen organic assurance, globally! Subscribe and join the international family of TOS’ readers.

 

 

 

 

Recent and Upcoming Events

Biofach Congress 14th Feb 2024

 

On the 14th February 2024, the Alliance presented the topic: Combatting fraud in the new EU and US regulations – insights, impacts, reactions at the Biofach Congress to a standing room, a testament to both the importance of the subject matter, and also the calibre of the speakers: NOP’s Robert Yang, DG Agri Deputy Head of Unit Organics Henri Delanghe, AOEL’s Alex Beck, and our very own, Bo van ElzakkerThe speakers discussed the key aspects of their recent legislations that are intended to address integrity and combat fraud in the organic supply chain. They  shared their thoughts on how they are (or are expecting them to) make an impact. This was followed by insight and analysis from those working in the organic market ‘on the receiving end’ of these measures.

 

Biofach Nuremberg 13-16th Feb 2024

On February 13-16, 2024, the Alliance will be at the Biofach, Nuremberg, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food.  You will find us at Hall 3A, Stand 318 with the IOAS.  Our team is excited to meet with you, answer questions and discuss how we can, together, lift quality in organic control, maintain the integrity of organic certification, and increase consumer confidence in the organic label.  You can also book an appointment with us by emailing info@alliancefororganicintegrity.bio or just drop by our stand.  See you there!  

 

Accredited Certifiers Association, Inc. (ACA) Annual Meeting

31st January to 1st of February 2024

The ACA held its annual meeting from the 31st of January to the 1st of February 2024.  The Alliance was represented by Bo Elzakker.  Much of the discussions concentrated on the imminent implementation of the the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) Rule. There was a lot of attention on the topic of “Fraud prevention plans” which each NOP operator is required to have beginning March 2024, as it overlaps with the EU requirement for EU operators to have “precautionary measures” in place.

 

Annual IOIA Advanced Inspector Training

2nd of February 2024

The Independent Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) conducted an Advanced Inspector Training in San Antonio, Texas on February 2, 2024.  The Alliance participated as trainor and provided its expertise in the topic of Fraud Detection and Prevention.  Mr. Bo van Elzakker discussed “Fraud Cases in International Supply Chains”.  Mr. Elzakker presented a 5-year old case on grains that happened in Eastern Europe to analyse how it was detected, how the CBs and the operators reacted, and utilised it to identify the weaknesses, symptoms, and indicators that CBs and their inspectors should be aware off when inspecting or certifying grains coming from Eastern Europe and Eurasia. The case was used to ask questions whether the new SOE Rule would better empower inspectors and certifiers to detect and address suspicious behaviour. The Alliance also sat in a Q&A panel discussion.

  

The Anti Fraud Initiative (AFI) Conference

25th-26th January 2024

The Alliance took part during AFI’s conference on: “Keys, handles and levers to use when investigating residue cases in organic production.” The Conference was held in Brussels on the 25th and 26th of January. The conference was a multi-stakeholder meeting of representatives of the organic trade, CBs, laboratories, sector organisations and representatives of the European Parliament, some member state COP members, the EU Commission. It was jointly organised by the “Anti-Fraud-Initiative” (AFI) and Office for Food Science and Quality GmbH (BLQ). 

 

News and Updates

The Alliance files Amicus Curae brief, in support of the United States Department of Agriculture in the case of Pratum Farm, LLC  vs. USDA
The Alliance, along with other organic companies, nonprofits, and farmer collectives, has filed an Amicus Curae brief to ask the court to uphold the Grower Group rule.  Stating that: “there is no place for fraud in the organic sector and that there are robust processes built into organic guarantee systems, as well as the oversight and legislative frameworks that sit behind them…” 
The Alliance raised deep concern about the potential adverse effects of Plaintiff’s lawsuit on organic operations, international organic trade, and the organic label. According to USDA’s estimates, there are over two and a half million small organic farmers that have substantial and settled reliance interests on the grower group system. “Many valuable U.S. imported organic commodities are primarily produced by smallholders and wouldn’t be available in organic quality without group certification.”  Millions of low-income farmers worldwide depend on grower group organic certification method for their livelihood. To undermine this vital portion of the U.S. organic program would cause a global economic crisis for the organic sector.
Additionally, the amicus states that cases of individual fraud should not be confused as a failure of the overall system of grower group certification. “…Amici are adamantly opposed to any and all fraud in organic certification, but the answer to that problem is enforcement of existing organic law, not prohibiting group certification.”
The Alliance Launches The Organic Integrity Mapping Project – 2024 Survey (Biofach)
The Alliance has initiated this research project in order to develop a thorough understanding of the global organic integrity landscape: the organisations and initiatives currently working to improve the integrity of the organic control system or address deficiencies within it.
The organic community has much to be proud of for collective efforts over the last 70 years to develop and grow the global organic assurance system. But as organic has become increasingly mainstream, the burgeoning certification industry faces increasing pressure, competition and scrutiny: poor quality auditing, inconsistencies and high-profile fraud cases continue to undermine consumer confidence in the organic label. If the organic market is to continue to grow and offer maximum environmental and social benefits, certification must be effective, rigorous, consistent across the globe, as well as continuously improving.
Approximately 30 global experts have been selected by The Alliance Board and will be approached to contribute their insights on the organic integrity work being undertaken (or not) in Harmonization, Forensic Tools, Building Competence, Tackling Fraud and Communication. A survey is also being made available to the whole organic community, to gather broader insights and ensure all in the community have the opportunity to contribute.
As well as sharing the findings as a resource for organic control community via the website and The Organic Standard publication, The Alliance will identify the gaps that need to be filled and identify initiatives to support as well as organisations to bring into The Alliance as Partners.
Contact: thomas@alliancefororganicintegrity.bio for more information 

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