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Organic Trade Association’s online fraud-fighting training course goes live

Course designed specifically for organic operations enrolled in Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions

Maggie McNeil
(202) 403-8514
(202) 615-7997
Washington , DC
May 28, 2020
) — 

Taking the first step to fight organic fraud is just a click away. Organic businesses wanting to protect against organic fraud in their operations can now connect into an online training course that is a key component of the Organic Trade Association’s groundbreaking industry-wide Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions, a voluntary program that organic businesses can enroll in to help minimize and eliminate organic fraud.

The association’s fraud prevention program, designed specifically to meet the unique needs of the organic supply chain, is based on buyer responsibility and supplier verification, and provides companies with a risk-based process for developing organic fraud mitigation measures.

The training course for the program, “Developing and Implementing an Organic Fraud Prevention Plan,” provides detailed background and instruction on how to carry out an organic fraud vulnerability assessment, and how to implement an effective organic fraud prevention plan. Developed in partnership with Michigan State University, the 4-hour course is offered through the Food Fraud Prevention Academy and its Massive Open On-line Courses for Food Fraud (MOOC). The Food Fraud Prevention concepts are based on the research by Dr. John Spink of Michigan State University and the recommendations of the Food Fraud Think Tank* as adopted by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).


“This relevant course will help organic businesses put systems and measures in place that support the promise of providing organic food that people can trust,” said Gwendolyn Wyard, Vice President of Regulatory & Technical Affairs for the Organic Trade Association and staff coordinator for the Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program. “The Organic Trade Association and our members are prioritizing significant time and resources into organic fraud prevention action inside and outside of the United States. Fraud anywhere in the organic supply chain is not acceptable.”


Two other online courses, designed for inspectors and certifiers, will be offered later this year through USDA’s Organic Integrity Learning Center. All of the courses are free, and are online on-demand self-directed courses for self-paced learning. The courses are based on content in the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Fraud Prevention Guide and the food fraud prevention model developed by MSU’s Food Fraud Initiative, which is an interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach organization that focuses on types of food fraud that can weaken and threaten our public health and economy. 


How to enroll in Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions

Already, 55 organic businesses have enrolled in the Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions, and have been using the association’s Organic Fraud Prevention Guide to prepare for the training and help detect and deter fraud. A Participant Handbook developed for interested and enrolled companies provides an overview of the program, and the steps required to enroll and succeed.

Organic companies wanting to protect against fraud in the organic supply chain can sign up now for the program, and be a part of this far-reaching effort to maintain integrity in organic.  

Signing up for the program confirms enrollment eligibility and the opportunity to take the on-line training course designed for organic operations. Once a company completes a nine-step enrollment process, they will receive a certificate of completion, be publicly recognized and considered “Organic Fraud Prevention Enrolled.” Confirmation from the company’s organic certifier that their Organic System Plan is updated with an Organic Fraud Prevention Plan is the final step to enrollment completion. The process is maintained annually.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 9,500 organic businesses across 50 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect ORGANIC with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace. The Organic Trade Association does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, national origin or ancestry, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, political affiliation or military status. Persons with disabilities who require alternate means for communication of program information can contact us at

* The Food Fraud Prevention Think Tank is an interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach organization. It focuses on all types of fraud that can contribute to public health and economic vulnerabilities and threats. These include adulteration, misbranding, tampering, overruns or licensee fraud, theft, diversion, simulation, and counterfeiting. Its work is accomplished through a collaboration between stakeholders from across industry, agencies, associations and other academics. Through the support of public-private partnerships, its mission is to reduce the extremely interdisciplinary and complex food supply chain fraud vulnerability. For more, see