U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Oct 01, 2022

§ 3202.8 - Violations.

This section identifies the types of actions that USDA considers violations under this part and the penalties (e.g., the suspension or revocation of certification) associated with such violations.

(a) General. Violations under this section occur on a per product basis and the penalties are to be applied on a per product basis. Entities cited for a violation under this section may appeal using the provisions in § 3202.6. If certification for a product is revoked, the manufacturer or vendor whose certification has been revoked may seek re-certification for the product using the procedures specified under the provisions in § 3202.5.

(b) Types of violations. Actions that will be considered violations of this part include, but are not limited to, the following specific examples:

(1) Biobased content violations. The Program Manager will utilize occasional random testing of certified biobased products to compare the biobased content of the tested product with the product's applicable minimum biobased content and the biobased content reported by the manufacturer or vendor in its approved application. Such testing will be conducted using ASTM Method D6866. USDA will provide a copy of the results of its testing to the applicable manufacturer or vendor.

(i) If USDA testing shows that the biobased content of a certified biobased product is less than its applicable minimum biobased content, then a violation of this part will have occurred.

(ii) If USDA testing shows that the biobased content is less than that reported by the manufacturer or vendor in its approved application, but is still equal to or greater than its applicable minimum biobased content(s), USDA will provide written notification to the manufacturer or vendor. The manufacturer or vendor must submit, within 90 days from receipt of USDA written notification, a new application for the lower biobased content. Failure to submit a new application within 90 days will be considered a violation of this part.

(A) The manufacturer or vendor can submit in the new application the biobased content reported to it by USDA in the written notification.

(B) Alternatively, the manufacturer or vendor may elect to retest the product in question and submit the results of the retest in the new application. If the manufacturer or vendor elects to retest the product, it must test a sample of the current product.

(2) Certification mark violations. (i) Any usage or display of the certification mark that does not conform to the requirements specified in § 3202.7.

(ii) Affixing the certification mark to any product prior to issuance of a notice of certification from USDA.

(iii) Affixing the certification mark to a certified biobased product during periods when certification has been suspended or revoked.

(3) Application violations. Knowingly providing false or misleading information in any application for certification of a biobased product constitutes a violation of this part.

(4) USDA BioPreferred Program Web site violations. Failure to provide to USDA updated information when the information for a certified biobased product becomes outdated or when new information for a certified biobased product becomes available constitutes a violation of this part.

(c) Notice of violations and associated actions. USDA will provide the applicable manufacturer or vendor or their designated representatives and any involved other entity known to USDA written notification of any violations identified by USDA. USDA will first issue a preliminary notice that apparent violations have been identified. If satisfactory resolution of the apparent violation is not reached within 30 days from receipt of the preliminary notice, USDA will issue a notice of violation. Entities who receive a notice of violation for a biobased content violation must correct the violation(s) within 90 days from receipt of the notice of violation. Entities who receive a notice of violation for other types of violations also must correct the violation(s) within 90 days from receipt of the notice of violation. If the entity receiving a notice of violation is a manufacturer, a vendor, or a designated representative of a manufacturer or vendor, USDA will pursue notices of suspensions and revocation, as discussed in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of this section. USDA reserves the right to further pursue action against these entities as provided for in paragraph (c)(3) of this section. If the entity receiving a notice of violation is an “other entity” (i.e., not a manufacturer, vendor, or designated representative), then USDA will pursue action according to paragraph (c)(3) of this section. Entities that receive notices of suspension or revocation may appeal such notices using the procedures specified in § 3202.6.

(1) Suspension. (i) If a violation is applicable to a manufacturer, vendor, or designated representative and the applicable entity fails to make the required corrections within 90 days of receipt of a notice of violation, USDA will notify the manufacturer or vendor, as appropriate, of the continuing violation, and the USDA certification for that product will be suspended. As of the date that the manufacturer or vendor receives a notice of suspension, the manufacturer or vendor and their designated representatives must not affix the certification mark to any of that product, or associated packaging, not already labeled and must not distribute any additional products bearing the certification mark. USDA will both remove the product information from the USDA BioPreferred Program Web site and actively communicate the product suspension to buyers in a timely and overt manner.

(ii) If, within 30 days from receipt of the notice of suspension, the manufacturer or vendor whose USDA product certification has been suspended makes the required corrections and notifies USDA that the corrections have been made, the manufacturer or vendor and their designated representatives may, upon receipt of USDA approval of the corrections, resume use of the certification mark. USDA will also restore the product information to the USDA BioPreferred Program Web site.

(2) Revocation. (i) If a manufacturer or vendor whose USDA product certification has been suspended fails to make the required corrections and notify USDA of the corrections within 30 days of the date of the suspension, USDA will notify the manufacturer or vendor that the certification for that product is revoked.

(ii) As of the date that the manufacturer or vendor receives the notice revoking USDA certification, the manufacturer or vendor and their designated representatives must not affix the certification mark to any of that product not already labeled. In addition, the manufacturer or vendor and their designated representatives are prohibited from further sales of product to which the certification mark is affixed.

(iii) If a manufacturer or vendor whose product certification has been revoked wishes to use the certification mark, the manufacturer or vendor must follow the procedures required for original certification.

(3) Other remedies. In addition to the suspension or revocation of the certification to use the label, depending on the nature of the violation, USDA may pursue suspension or debarment of the entities involved in accordance with 2 CFR part 417 and 48 CFR subpart 9.4. USDA further reserves the right to pursue any other remedies available by law, including any civil or criminal remedies, against any entity that violates the provisions of this part.

[76 FR 3806, Jan. 20, 2011. Redesignated and amended at 76 FR 53632, Aug. 29, 2011; 80 FR 34039, June 15, 2015]