The “organic” label often hikes prices consumers pay at grocery stores, and more and more farms are trying to become organic certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But the increase in popularity can mean the agency has to, in its words, protect the “integrity of the USDA organic seal.”

Since 2019, the USDA has received almost 1,000 complaints that operators selling organic products — i.e., not genetically modified or with the aid of pesticides — were not what they claimed. 

More than half of those complaint investigations resulted in compliance and a small amount resulted in civil penalties, according to recently released data.

The National Organic Program has released statistics on its enforcement for years, but, recently, more detailed case-level data was obtained by the Data Liberation Project, which aims to request and publicize datasets the government does not release.

This article first appeared on Investigate Midwest and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.