BOISE – The Idaho State Department of Agriculture is defending its organic program in the wake of a high-profile federal fraud case involving a farmer who passed off conventional seed as organic.
The Capital Press reports that Bliss Seeds LLC owner Bernard Saul pleaded guilty on Tuesday to wire fraud for intentionally misrepresenting alfalfa seed as organic to several Midwestern buyers. His wife pleaded guilty to delivery of a misbranded food product.
Saul will have to pay more than $1.9 million in restitution.
ISDA officials say such abuses of the system are rare and that there are rigorous safeguards in place to prevent such fraud.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Patricco says in his five years in his position, the state hasn't prosecuted any other cases involving misrepresentation of products as organic.
Source: Associated Press