< Back to H.R. 5962 (112th Congress, 2011–2013)

Text of the Organic Standards Protection Act

This bill was introduced on June 19, 2012, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 19, 2012 (Introduced).

Download PDF

Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5962

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 19, 2012

(for herself, Mr. Hanna, Mr. Farr, and Mr. DeFazio) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture

A BILL

To amend the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 to require recordkeeping and authorize investigations and enforcement actions for violations of such Act, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Organic Standards Protection Act.

2.

Recordkeeping, investigations, and enforcement

The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 is amended by inserting after section 2120 (7 U.S.C. 6519) the following:

2120A.

Recordkeeping, investigations, and enforcement

(a)

Recordkeeping

(1)

In general

Except as otherwise provided in this title, all persons, including producers, handlers, and certifying agents, required to report information to the Secretary under this title shall maintain, and make available to the Secretary on the request of the Secretary, all contracts, agreements, receipts, and other records associated with the organic certification program established by the Secretary under this title.

(2)

Duration of recordkeeping requirement

A record covered by paragraph (1) shall be maintained—

(A)

by a person covered by this title, except for a certifying agent, for a period of 5 years beginning on the date of the creation of the record; and

(B)

by a certifying agent, for a period of 10 years beginning on the date of the creation of the record.

(b)

Confidentiality

(1)

In general

Subject to paragraph (2), and except as otherwise directed by the Secretary or the Attorney General for enforcement purposes, no officer, employee, or agent of the United States shall make available to the public information, statistics, or documents obtained from or made available by any person under this title, other than in a manner that ensures that confidentiality is preserved regarding the identity of persons, including parties to a contract, and proprietary business information.

(2)

Alleged violators and nature of actions

The Secretary may release the name of the alleged violator and the nature of the actions triggering an order or revocation under subsection (e).

(c)

Investigation

(1)

In general

The Secretary may take such investigative actions as the Secretary considers to be necessary to carry out this title—

(A)

to verify the accuracy of any information reported or made available under this title; and

(B)

to determine, with regard to actions, practices, or information required under this title, whether a person covered by this title has committed, or will commit, a violation of any provision of this title.

(2)

Investigative powers

The Secretary may administer oaths and affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel attendance of witnesses, take evidence, and require the production of any books, papers, and documents that are relevant to the investigation.

(d)

Unlawful Act

It shall be unlawful and a violation of this title for any person covered by this title—

(1)

to fail or refuse to provide, or delay the timely provision of, accurate information required by the Secretary under this section;

(2)

to violate—

(A)

an order of the Secretary;

(B)

a revocation of the organic certification of a producer or handler; or

(C)

a revocation of the accreditation of a certifying agent; or

(3)

to sell, or attempt to sell, a product that is represented as being organically produced in accordance with this title if in fact the product has not been produced or handled in accordance with this title.

(e)

Enforcement

(1)

Order

The Secretary may issue an order to stop the sale of an agricultural product that is labeled or otherwise represented as being organically produced—

(A)

only upon the reasonable belief by the Secretary, supported by substantial evidence, that such agricultural product does not meet the national and State standards for organic production and handling provided in sections 2105 through 2114 and section 2118, until the product can be verified—

(i)

as meeting the national and State standards for organic production and handling as provided in sections 2105 through 2114;

(ii)

as having been produced or handled without the use of a prohibited substance listed under section 2118; and

(iii)

as being produced and handled by a certified organic operation; and

(B)

if a person has committed an unlawful act with respect to the product under subsection (d).

(2)

Revocation of certification or accreditation

After notice and opportunity for an administrative appeal under section 2121, if the Secretary determines a producer, a handler, or a certifying agent committed a violation of this title that is an unlawful act under subsection (d), the Secretary may revoke the organic certification of such producer or such handler, or the accreditation of such certifying agent.

(3)

Violation of order or revocation

A person who violates an order to stop the sale of a product as an organically produced product under paragraph (1), or a revocation of certification or accreditation under paragraph (2), shall be subject to 1 or more of the penalties provided in subsections (a) and (b) of section 2120.

(f)

Appeal

(1)

In general

An order under subsection (e)(1), or a revocation of certification or accreditation under subsection (e)(2)(B), shall be final and conclusive unless the affected person files an appeal of the order—

(A)

first, to the administrative appeals process established under section 2121(a); and

(B)

after a final decision of the Secretary under the process referred to in subparagraph (A), if the affected person so elects, to a United States district court as provided in section 2121(b) not later than 30 days after the date of the final decision.

(2)

Standard

An order under subsection (e)(1), or a revocation of certification or accreditation under subsection (e)(2)(B), shall be set aside only if the order, or the revocation of certification or accreditation, is not supported by substantial evidence.

(g)

Noncompliance

(1)

In general

If a person covered by this title fails to obey an order, or a revocation of certification or accreditation, described in subsection (f)(2) after the order or revocation has become final and conclusive or after the appropriate United States district court has entered a final judgment in favor of the Secretary, the United States may apply to the appropriate United States district court for enforcement of the order, or the revocation of certification or accreditation.

(2)

Enforcement

If the court determines that the order or revocation was lawfully made and duly served and that the person violated the order or revocation, the court shall enforce the order or revocation.

(3)

Civil penalty

If the court finds that the person violated the order or revocation, the person shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each offense.

.