USDA BioPreferred® Program 2018 Product Audit Overview

What Is the Audit Process?

The BioPreferred Program routinely audits the biobased products that our Program qualifies (for mandatory Federal purchasing, no label) and certifies (through the voluntary labeling initiative with third-party biobased content testing). There are approximately 15,000 total products the BioPreferred Program recognizes through these two initiatives, or parts, of the Program. Keeping the company, contact, and product information current for approximately 3,000 companies is important for the participants, USDA, and to maintain the credibility of the BioPreferred Program.

Who Needs to Participate?

All Program participants, including manufacturers and distributors of biobased materials, biochemicals, and finished biobased products.

Some companies manufacture an upstream biobased material or chemical or a finished product that does not fit into one of the 97 product categories qualified for mandatory Federal purchasing. These products are certified-only – they have gone through the BioPreferred Program's certification process, including third-party biobased content testing and validation, to earn the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label. The tested biobased contents of these products appear on their certification labels.

(Note, upstream biobased materials and chemicals have not yet been qualified by being added to categories eligible for preferred Federal procurement/purchasing. This is coming! Click here for more details.)

Some companies manufacture a finished product in one of the 97 product categories qualified for mandatory Federal purchasing. These products are called qualified-only because they fall within a mandatory Federal purchasing category, but the products have not gone through the BioPreferred Program's certification process, including third-party biobased content testing and validation. These manufacturers are not eligible to use a certification label.

Want to change your qualified-only product to a qualified/certified product? Complete this year's audit process, then follow this procedure to initiate an application for certification!

Some companies manufacture a finished product in one of the 97 product categories qualified for mandatory Federal purchasing AND have gone through the BioPreferred Program's certification process, including third-party biobased content testing and validation, to earn the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label. The tested biobased contents of these products appear on their certification labels.

BioPreferred Program sample certification label.

The Program's audit process applies to all manufacturers and vendors the Program recognizes -- all companies that are BioPreferred Program participants.

How Will the Audit Be Completed?

The Program's 2018 product audit activity begins in May 2018. This year's audit involves contacting all participants via email and requesting that they complete an online Audit Declaration of Conformance. Program participants will be requested to:

  1. Update their company and contact information;
  2. Confirm that their biobased product is still being manufactured, provide any necessary updates, and verify that the formulation/manufacturing process has not changed since the product was originally certified;
  3. Advise if any complaints have been received regarding the claim of their biobased content.

Participants must respond to each item before moving to the next step.

checkbox icon The email will direct participants to log in to the audit section of their company account.

checkbox icon Participants will be able to update company and contact details

checkbox icon Participant will be prompted to complete the automated Audit Declaration of Conformance to review company-specific product information (product information will be auto filled for participant review)

checkbox icon Participants will be asked if product(s) are still being manufactured

No = the product(s) will be identified for removal from the USDA BioPreferred Program database and online catalog
Yes = the participant will be directed make any necessary updates to the product information.

When Will the Audit Take Place?

This year's auditing process will begin in May and the Program expects that it will be completed by October 2018. Participants have 30 days to respond to the audit request.

What Happens if Participants Don't Respond?

All BioPreferred Program participants are subjected to oversight and monitoring and required to keep their information current per the Program guidelines. Participants that do not respond to the audit will have their products removed from the BioPreferred Program's database and online catalog. 

Qualified-only Products
  • Participants who have not responded to audit communications will receive a Notice of Removal from the database on June 15, 2018.
Certified-only and Qualified/Certified Products
  • Participants who do not respond to audit communications will receive a Preliminary Notice of Violation on May 28, 2018;
  • A Formal Notice of Violation will be sent out on June 28, 2018 to these participants who have not responded to previous communication attempts;
  • A Notice of Suspension will be sent on September 28, 2018 to these participants who have not responded to the previous communications;
  • A final Notice of Revocation will be delivered to non-responding participants on October 28, 2018.