IOWA CITY, Iowa — The National Cooperative Grocers Association, Hanover Co-op Food Stores, PCC Natural Markets and Unified Grocers have announced a joint program designed to detect and prevent fraudulent organic suppliers. A pilot study to commence shortly will be administered by the International Organic Accreditation Service to determine appropriate methods retailers can undertake to limit the incidence of fraudulently traded organic products and to increase the chances of early detection when it takes place within the retail supply chain. IOAS will conduct testing measures with NCGA grocers and suppliers over the coming months. Based on the pilot's findings, NCGA and IOAS plan to develop a recommended retailer-based fraud prevention program, offering it to not only NCGA members but all organic retailers as early as mid-2008. Elements of the program could include unannounced visits to supplier facilities and residue testing, among other steps. “Our program will not change how organic products are certified. Rather, we're seeking to add a very critical safety checkpoint in the supply chain,” said Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer for the NCGA.
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