Organic Trade Association Warns of Organic Fraud Alert of Some Certifiers from Eastern Europe and Turkey

Organic Trade Association
March 26th 2019
by Organic Trade Association


It has come to the attention of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) that the European Commission (EC) carried out an investigations of suspected irregularities in relation to several lots of products from Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates that had been certified as being organic by ‘Control Union Certifications.’ In response, the EC published its ruling today to withdraw its recognition (accreditation) of Control Union Turkey, Moldova, UAE, Russia, and Kazakhstan. The National Organic Program is aware of the investigation and we hope to see an action plan and response from them shortly.

HEIGHTENED VIGILANCE NEEDED The ruling on Control Union clearly calls into the question the organic status of products that are certified by the named certifiers and coming out of Eastern Europe and Turkey. It also flags the likely potential that product will be re-routed to other offices and/or destinations. The word on the street in Europe is that there is already a large volume of sunflower seed, flax and corn that has been and/or will soon be re-routed from destination EU to the United States.

NOW is the time for everyone to practice heightened vigilance and take extra steps to verify the authenticity of the organic products that are being imported from the identified region with a focus on edible dry beans, wheat, flax, corn, soy and sunflower meal.


1. Practice heightened vigilance and buyer responsibility. Are you receiving dry edible beans, wheat, flax, corn soy or sunflower meal from oversees? If so, know where it originated, know your supply chain and verify the organic authenticity of the ingredients/products you are buying. Ask questions, perform tracebacks, look beyond your supplier certificate and increase testing on high-risk ingredients. Think like a criminal.

Attached is a letter that USDA-NOP sent out to Accredited Certifiers on August 11, 2017. It points to the on-going problem in the Eastern Europe & Turkey region and contains helpful information.

2. Alert your suppliers and business partners of the situation.

3. Pre-enroll in the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions.  The program is designed to help organic businesses identify vulnerability to organic fraud (just as we are doing now) and design and implement organic fraud mitigation measures.


For questions, please contact Gwendolyn Wyard
Vice President, Regulatory & Technical Affairs
Phone: 503-798-3294