Those misusing the Connecticut Grown label, logo, and slogan could soon be facing penalties as a result of an enhanced effort by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.
Connecticut’s Agriculture Commissioner Steven Reviczky announced Tuesday that the state will begin to enforce already established fines and other penalties towards those who misuse the Connecticut Grown brand.
According to Connecticut General Statues Section 22-38, those found in violation of the brand–that is, any person or corporation falsely advertising products as ‘Native,’ ‘Native-Grown,’ ‘Local,’ or ‘Connecticut-Grown’–could face implications.
Violators would have ten days to produce written proof that the products were grown in Connecticut or within a ten-mile radius the place of sale, if requested to do so by the Commissioner of Agriculture. Violators could also face fines of up to $25 per product label in violation.
Renewed commitment to the law comes after past incidents involving label misuse were uncovered. In a 2005 case, one company was fined for over $70,000 after falsely using the Connecticut Grown logo on their egg cartons.
The state hopes that by enforcing these fines, they will be able to strengthen the integrity of the brand and preserve consumer trust.
The Department of Agriculture says that those who violate the law are not only betraying consumers, but they are also betraying the many honest hard-working farm families who produce locally-grown products.
Over the summer, the Department of Agriculture will be conducting unannounced inspections of farmers markets and other venues. They will also look into specific reported claims alleging label misuse.
At this time, the Deparment of Agriculture is asking anyone with information about suspected misuse of the Connecticut Grown label to file a complaint with the department by calling 860-713-2508.