OMRI Applauds Port Organic Products Indictment
(March 11, 2011) OMRI (the Organic Materials Review Institute) today applauded the indictment of Kenneth Nelson, Jr., president of Port Organic Products, Ltd. Nelson was indicted on 28 counts of mail fraud for selling fertilizer products that were marketed as approved for use in organic production, when they in fact contained synthetic ingredients not allowed under the USDA National Organic Program standards.
"Mr. Nelson defrauded all of us - the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), OMRI, certifiers, retailers, farmers, and consumers - by selling synthetic fertilizers to innocent organic farmers and retailers. This situation created a shockwave through the organic community and diminished consumer confidence in organic products," said Peggy Miars, Executive Director/CEO of OMRI. "I believe this indictment proves that cheaters will be caught and that consumers can trust the organic label."
The organic industry is still feeling the impact of this fraud. As a result of this incident, California implemented a new law - AB 856 - requiring registration, inspection, and review of all fertilizing products marketed in the state for use in organic agriculture. OMRI participated in the development of the regulations to implement AB 856, and the organization looks forward to collaborating with CDFA on inspections and reviews of fertilizing materials.
Founded in 1997, the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) provides organic certifiers, growers, manufacturers, and suppliers an independent review of products intended for use in certified organic production, handling, and processing. OMRI is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. When companies apply, OMRI reviews their products against the National Organic Standards. Acceptable products are OMRI Listed® and appear on the OMRI Products List. OMRI also provides subscribers and certifiers guidance on the acceptability of various material inputs in general under the National Organic Program.