The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin its BioPreferred Program audit activities in May 2018. The USDA will email all participants to request that they complete an online Audit Declaration of Conformance. Participants are given 30 days to respond to the audit request. The USDA expects the auditing process to be completed by October 2018.
The USDA BioPreferred Program recognizes about 15,000 products through its two initiatives – the voluntary labeling program and the mandatory federal purchasing. To maintain the credibility of the BioPreferred program, products are routinely audited to check that they are still eligible for the initiatives and the contact and product information of about 3,000 companies in the BioPreferred Catalog are kept updated.
There are currently three groups of biobased products under the BioPreferred Program:
Only the manufacturers of Certified-only and Qualified/Certified biobased products can use the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label on their packaging and marketing materials. The biobased content of a product appears on the USDA label.
The USDA requests all BioPreferred participants to update their company and contact information, confirm if their product is still being manufactured, provide necessary updates, verify that the formulation and manufacturing process of their products have not changed since certification, and disclose any complaints received regarding their certified products’ biobased content claims.
While the program expects the auditing process to run until October, participants only have 30 days to respond to the audit request. The products of participants who fail to respond to the audit request will be removed from the BioPreferred Program database and online catalog.
The USDA will send a Notice of Removal from the database on June 15, 2018, to non-responding participants with qualified-only products.
Participants with certified-only and qualified/certified products who fail to respond would receive a Preliminary Notice of Violation on May 28, 2018. If they remain unresponsive to the USDA’s communications, they will receive a Formal Notice of Violation on June 28, 2018; a Notice of Suspension on September 28, 2018; and final Notice of Revocation on October 28, 2018.
Beta Analytic is not affiliated with the USDA BioPreferred Program. However, the ISO 17025-accredited lab welcomes inquiries on how to submit samples for testing as part of the BioPreferred Voluntary Labeling Program. Please contact the lab for turnaround time or price inquiries.