WASHINGTON, July 21, 2011- Suspension of Promiseland Livestock's organic certification will become effective on July 28, 2011, representing a victory for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to protect the integrity of the USDA organic label.
"We are pleased about the outcome, not only on behalf of the agency but for organic consumers as well," said AMS Acting Administrator David Shipman. "We've remained committed to the principle of organic integrity so that consumers can continue to trust the USDA organic label, and our diligence in this long battle has paid off. The organic standards are rigorous; all certified operations are expected to adhere to them."
USDA originally issued its decision to suspend Promiseland's organic certification last year, citing the company's repeated withholding of records from authorized agents that would have allowed them to conduct audits of the company's facilities.
On Oct. 25, 2010, the USDA announced a judicial officer ruling to uphold the suspension of Promiseland's organic certification. The decision by the judicial officer followed a series of hearings between Promiseland and the Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDA, during which the Nebraska-based company appealed their suspension and eventually filed a federal lawsuit to halt the suspension of its organic certification. On Dec. 2, 2010, Promiseland filed a motion requesting a stay of the decision and order on the grounds that the company was preparing an appeal of the decision in U.S. District Court.
The company eventually withdrew the motion late last month. Concurrently, last week's unopposed motion to lift the stay effectuates the suspension of Promiseland's organic certification for violating the Organic Foods Production Act and the governing organic regulations. During the five-year suspension, Promiseland Livestock is prohibited from representing their products as organic.
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