USDA BioPreferred Program Audit Plan Summary

What is the USDA BioPreferred Program Audit?

The USDA BioPreferred Program sets in place audit procedures for both the mandatory Federal purchasing and the voluntary labeling sides of the program. The purpose of auditing is to monitor the validity of the participants' designated and certified biobased content claims and, for the Voluntary Labeling initiative, to monitor the proper usage of the label in the marketplace. The audit consists of three (3) stages: 1) Contact and participant response (2012); 2) Testing a random sample of participants' products (2014); and 3) Retesting of products that have participated in the program for five years (2016).

Why are audits necessary?

The audits ensure the integrity of the mandatory Federal purchasing and voluntary labelling initiatives. Audits provide oversight and monitoring of the products affiliated with the program to ensure the products' biobased content information is accurate and that the products meet the requirements of both initiatives.

What is the timing of the USDA BioPreferred product audits?

Stage 1 of the audit was conducted and completed in the first half of the year for both programs in 2012. Stage 2 auditing was conducted in 2014. Stage 3 auditing is only for the certified products, and the audit for this stage began in October 2016. Currently, each stage of the audit is scheduled to repeat every six years, so the cycle will begin again in 2018 with stage 1 of the audit.

How is Stage 3 Auditing being conducted?

This stage involves re-testing of products that have been certified for five years. Companies with products that were certified between February 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011 received an email with instructions on how to comply with the audit in October 2016. Participants must pay to have products retested at one of the accepted laboratories (a complete list of approved laboratories can be found here).

All appeals from participants/companies must be made in writing to USDA with supporting documentation for their appeal.

Which products need to be retested as part of the Stage 3 Audit?

For specific information on which individual products, product families, and self-declared products need to be tested, please contact the USDA BioPreferred Program support staff by email at or by phone at (202) 643-3287.

What is the cost to retest a product?

The fee for retesting is set and collected by the laboratory that performs the testing. Please contact the laboratories for more information about pricing.

What forms are required for having your product retested?

Participants need to fill out the Documentation of Sample Selection form for each product that they need to have retested. A copy of the Documentation of Sample Selection form should be sent to the BioPreferred Program ( for their records and included with the product sample sent to the laboratory.

Where can I get more information about the Audit?

If you are currently being audited and have specific questions related to the 2016 Stage 3 audit, you can contact the BioPreferred Program support team at (202) 643-3287, or email: