Media Contacts: Steve Lyle, CDFA Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462,
SACRAMENTO, July 9, 2010— The California Department of Food and Agriculture has imposed penalties on a Santa Rosa grower as a result of violations pertaining to the National Organic Program. Valley End Farm sold produce mislabeled as organic to consumers and did not maintain adequate records to substantiate the sale and production of organic products. Findings by the organic certifier for the operation, California Certified Organic Farmers Certification Services, LLC (CCOF), triggered the investigation and enforcement actions by CDFA.
“California’s organic oversight system is the leader in protecting consumers from fraud,” said Rick Jensen, CDFA’s Inspection and Compliance Branch Chief. “The State Organic Program, third party certifiers, and California’s farmers and ranchers ensure that organic products meet the legal requirements under USDA’s National Organic Program.”
The enforcement action was based on the following violations:
• Valley End Farm sold non-organic produce labeled as organic to community supported agriculture members
• Valley End Farm labeled non-organic produce as “transitional organic”
• Valley End Farm did not provide adequate records to substantiate sale and production of organic products
Violations occurred in 2008 and 2009. Following a formal investigation and appeals process that took place over the course of 18 months, Valley End Farm has agreed to a stipulated settlement and disciplinary order. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the department has revoked Valley End Farm’s organic certification, which was stayed pursuant to the order. If Valley End Farm fails to comply with the terms of the agreement, the department may proceed to dissolve the stay and finalize the revocation. Valley End Farm remains on probation until September 30, 2013. In addition, Valley End Farm is fined $15,000 for violation of federal and state organic standards. Other settlement agreement terms include additional farm inspections and continuing education on organic standards.
The National Organic Program regulates the standards for the production and handling of organic products within the United States. The California Department of Food and Agriculture, as a state organic program, is responsible for the enforcement of federal and state organic standards as required by the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and the California Organic Products Act of 2003. Organic certifiers, operating under the authority of the National Organic Program, provide organic certification to farms, livestock operations, production facilities and processors.