Whether you’re a new seller or have been selling on Amazon for years, you know the only consistent detail about Amazon, is they can be inconsistent. Being able to stay ahead of the curve on Amazon’s ever-changing product compliance team can be a challenge as well.
Who Needs to Read This?
In May 2019, Amazon made a significant shift in their policies on Organic Products if you have any products in the grocery categories or other areas where organic is a term used read on.
If you sell a product that, like organic items, is regulated by a Government Agency or is close to the regulations, like supplements, or vitamins, you need to read this article.
Amazon’s Policy Change – Organic Classification, May 2019:
- “Important: If you supply products for sale on Amazon, you must comply with all federal, state, and local laws and Amazon policies applicable to those products and product listings.”
- NOTE: The above page links to “Restricted Products, for the Food and Beverage category. However, we would urge caution for any seller who is in a category where “Organic” is a term frequently searched for or it relates to a segment of the products in the space.
To be sold, labeled, or represented as “organic” in the United States, agricultural products — whether raw or processed — must be certified to either the USDA organic regulations or to an international standard that the USDA has named as equivalent. In either case, the products must:
- Be produced according to the USDA organic requirements;
- Comply with organic labeling requirements; and
- Identify the name of the product’s certified.
USDA’s organic regulations describe the specific standards required for you to use the word “organic” or the USDA organic seal on food, feed, or fiber products. For more information on the organic regulations and labeling requirements, please see the following websites. Amazon provides these resources for informational purposes only. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel if you have questions about the laws and regulations concerning your products.
What is Amazon Currently Doing?
Amazon is turning off, suppressing or restricting listings making the above claims without having an Organic Certificate on file. The time to get this issue corrected is currently over a week, 7 or more days due to the volume of listings being turned off and the impact this is having on the Product Compliance Teams at Amazon.
What to be cautious of:
- Using the term organic in any way in your backend search terms.
- Using the term or similar terms loosely in the title’s, bullets, images or A+/EBC areas.
How to Fix This Issue:
Two issues could cause Amazon to restrict or suppress your listings:
- You are and claim to be organic and do not have an organic certificate on file with Amazon.
- Your listing using the term organic in its details and Amazon is now classifying you as Organic incorrectly.
If your product(s) are Organic, contact Amazon, and submit your Organic Certificates immediately.
If Amazon has Incorrectly Classified your listings as Organic:
We have found that, currently, the quickest way to correct listings affected by this policy change is to do the following:
- Request a Category Listing File
- Make your adjustments, removing any reference to ‘Organic’ or ‘Organically Grown’ from any areas in the public or backend areas of the listings.
- Upload the file and contact Amazon immediately letting the team know of your corrective changes.
Here is a sample email from Amazon regarding this issue:
<begin email from Amazon>
Hello from Amazon,
We are writing to let you know that the following detail pages have been removed from our catalog:
ASIN: XXXXXXXXXXX, SKU: XXXXX-XXXX, Title: “YOUR PRODUCT TITLE HERE”
This product has been identified to include organic claims. Products that are sold, labeled or represented as “organic” in the United States must be certified to either the USDA organic regulations or to an international standard that the USDA has named as equivalent. It is against Amazon policy to sell products that make organic claims without proper certification. We believe that the required USDA organic certification is not in place for this product. To be considered for reinstatement, please provide a copy of the organic certificate for this product.
For more information, please see our Organic Products Seller Help Page:https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/WK5PALSS4EM4MCT?language=en-US&ref=efph_WK5PALSS4EM4MCT_cont_200164550 and the following resources:https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/organic-labeling-standards and
For more information on our policies, search for “Restricted Products” and “Listing Restrictions” in Seller Help.
*FBA Notice: If any of the above ASINs are Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) offers, please initiate a removal request for the ASIN(s) referenced above to have your inventory sent to a location of your choosing. If this inventory is not removed within 30 days of this notification (by 14 Jun 2019), we may dispose of it in accordance with FBA policies.
For more information on our policies, please search “FBA Policies and Requirements,” “FBA Product Restrictions” and “FBA Prohibited Products” in Seller Help.
**Action Required: Within 48 hours of this warning, please review your listings and close, delete, or archive any listings that do not comply with our policies.
Please note that moving a restricted product listing to Out of Stock (OOS) does not make the listing compliant. Failure to properly close or delete all restricted product listings from your inventory may result in the removal of your selling privileges and permanent withholding of funds. If you think your product was incorrectly identified as a restricted product on Amazon, close the listing immediately, to ensure compliance while you appeal the restriction with Seller Support.
Failure to comply may result in the removal of your selling privileges, and funds may be permanently held as a result of these violations.
We appreciate your cooperation and thank you for selling on Amazon.com.
Please note: This e-mail was sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. Please do not reply to this message.
<end email from Amazon>
Additional Useful Information
- USDA organic regulations, including the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances
- USDA National Organic Program, regulatory program responsible for overseeing organic agricultural products
- Organic labeling standards
- Organic labeling fact sheet
- Importing organic products to the U.S.
- The Organic INTEGRITY Database, listing all USDA certified organic operations worldwide
- USDA-accredited certifying agents
Have Questions about Amazon’s new policies?
Contact your Prime Guidance consultant today for clarification and what actions to take next.
About Prime Guidance:
Prime Guidance Advisors help sellers navigate the challenges of e-commerce on Amazon, including selecting the right strategy, optimizing content for faster growth, improving operations to meet Amazon requirements, and leveraging technologies to improve visibility and profitability.
About the Author –
Wes Beckwith is a Sr. Consultant at Prime Guidance with more than 15 years of experience in digital marketing, driving success through SEO, vertical marketing, and design. Wes has a diverse background from web advertising to Apple Engineering/Analysis, and Amazon Marketing giving him a broad perspective into Amazon’s algorithm.