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On the 19th of July, 2017, Milk Specialties Global learned through Sustainable Food News that the Organic Certification for their Mountain Lake facility had been ‘suspended’ by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The agency’s Organic Integrity Database shows the certification was suspended on 13 July 2017. The facility was first certified in May 2014.

Rob Caruson, Sr. Director of Quality & Regulatory at Milk Specialties Global, contacted the organic certifying body Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) to understand why the certification had been suspended and not cancelled as had been agreed upon. Several months ago a former employee of Milk Specialties initiated the process with OCIA on cancelling the Organic Certification for their Mountain Lake facility. The business decision to cancel the certification was made since no organic products were being produced or shipped at the facility. OCIA states that they had tried several times to contact the individual who has now left Milk Specialties, and eventually contacted another staff member with no knowledge of the facility’s organic certification cancellation process. Due to a misunderstanding of the process, the OCIA decided to ‘suspend’ versus ‘cancel’ the facility’s certification.

It is unfortunate that an administrative issue between OCIA and Milk Specialties has led to a ‘suspension’ classification after Milk Specialties initiated the certification cancellation process. Regrettably, Sustainable Food News made no attempt to contact Milk Specialties to clarify or confirm the accuracy of the story.

Milk Specialties Global is still in full compliance with the requirements of the USDA’s National Organic Program, and is in good standing with the USDA’s Organic Certification program across their other facilities in Norfolk, Neb., Visalia, Calif., Wautoma, Wis., Boscobel, Wis., and New Holstein, Wis.

Milk Specialties Global assures they are taking all the necessary measures to prevent an incident of this nature again. If there are any questions that need to be addressed, please don’t hesitate to contact them at www.milkspecialties.com/contact.