Jun 28, 2023
Organic standards experts fight fraud, advocate for industry
Respected organic industry advisors and specialists Gwendolyn Wyard and Kim Dietz have launched Strengthening Organic Systems LLC.
The advisory firm is focused entirely on organic fraud prevention, supply chain investigations and compliance with the USDA’s organic anti-fraud regulations.
Strengthening Organic Systems (SOS) was founded to strengthen the resilience and overall integrity of global organic supply chains by advising businesses in developing effective organic fraud prevention plans and compliance practices. Its immediate area of concentration is to support the implementation of USDA’s
Strengthening Organic Enforcement Rule (SOE). A sweeping and historic update to U.S. organic regulations, the SOE was established this year to close gaps in current regulations to build consistent certification practices to deter and detect organic fraud.
“The importance of the SOE regulation for the organic sector cannot be emphasized enough, and now is the time to get it right,” Wyard said in a news release. “Our company was formed to guide organic businesses through the SOE implementation process, and to assure not only the adoption of robust organic fraud prevention plans but to assist in the identification of high-risk ingredients and other supply-chain vulnerabilities that expose organic businesses to potential fraud and threaten organic integrity.”
Founding partners Wyard and Dietz have more than 65 years of combined experience in organic policy, certification and leadership.
“As long-time leaders and regulatory experts in the organic space, we are excited to help organic businesses implement measures to ensure the authenticity of the organic ingredients and products they are buying and selling,” Dietz said. “SOS will use its expertise to support the new requirements of the federal organic standards and help set certifying agencies and companies up for success.”
They have worked on numerous organic projects and task forces together since 2005 starting with the formation of the Materials Working Group that assisted the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) in the development of guidance on determining National List material classifications.
Wyard has been actively working in the organic industry for more than 28 years. Most recently she was the vice president of regulatory and technical affairs for the Organic Trade Association (OTA) for more than 12 years. While at the association, Wyard was the lead developer and author of its Organic Fraud Prevention Guide, now the industry standard reference for excellence in achieving integrity across complex organic global supply chains.
Prior to OTA, Wyard was Oregon Tilth’s technical specialist in organic policy and technical review of materials for use in organic products. She has an advanced degree in food science and has inspected a diverse range of operations throughout the U.S. She served on the Organic Materials Review Institute board of directors for 12 years and was the North American representative on the Global Organic Textile Standard Advisory Board.
Dietz has a master’s degree in global food law and throughout her career has specialized in organic standards and policy. She spearheaded the development of the first organic flavors and has continued to work to support the growth of the organic flavor industry. She has directly overseen 13 organic handling operations, including the management of the successful certification of the first certified organic handling facility in the U.S.
Dietz has tirelessly advocated for the organic sector, and led numerous task forces, committees and coalitions, including president of the OTA board for seven years, a member of the NOSB, founding member of the OMRI and member of the California Organic Food Advisory Committee.
Strengthening Organic Systems has been recently named a Trusted Advisor for the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions. Trusted Advisors are experts in organic compliance and Vulnerability Assessment Critical Control Points and can go in-depth with enrolled participants to carry out a vulnerability assessment and develop an Organic Fraud Prevention Plan, a requirement of the new SOE rule.
SOS is positioned to serve the organic food, non-food and retail sectors. For more information, contact Gwendolyn Wyard at 503-798-3294 or e-mail gwenwyard@organicSOS.com.