US-EU Organic Trade Agreement

Good news for organic food producers!  Organic food trade between the United States and the European Union will be getting easier this summer.  The two countries have signed an agreement allowing products meeting the organic standards in one country to be sold in the other.  This mutually beneficial arrangement broadens the organic market without imposing further burdens on manufacturers creating products sold in either the U.S. or E.U.  The arrangement begins June 1, 2012.[1]

The agreement pertains only to products exported from and certified organic in the United States[2] or the European Union.[3]  Few restrictions and exceptions apply.  Most notably:

  • Products produced using antibiotics are excluded (e.g. apples and pears). 
  • Aquatic animals (e.g. fish, shellfish) produced in the  E.U. may not be exported to the U.S.
  • Products must be either produced within the U.S. or have had final processing or packaging occur within the U.S. 

Label requirements kust also meet the labeling requirements in the destination country.[4][5] The U.S.D.A. Organic seal or the E.U. organic logo may be used on the label.[6] 

Documentation requirements appear to be light requiring only that products have proper import certificates.  E.U. accredited certifying agent must complete a U.S. import certificate for all E.U. organic products brought into the U.S. [7] A U.S.D.A. accredited certifying agent must complete an E.U. import certificate for all U.S.D.A. organic products traded in the E.U.



[1]http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOPTradeEuropeanUnion

[2] U.S. Organic Standards can be found at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateN&navID=OrganicStandardsLinkNOPNationalList&rightNav1=OrganicStandardsLinkNOPNationalList&topNav=&leftNav=&page=NOPOrganicStandards&resultType=&acct=nopgeninfo

[3] E.U. Organic Standards can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/eu-policy/legislation_en

[4] E.U. Labeling Requirements can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/eu-policy/logo_en

[5] U.S. National Organic Program requirements, 7 U.S.C. §205 et seq. or on the web at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop

[6] Official U.S.D.A. Organic seal art work available at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?&template=TemplateC&navID=NationalOrganicProgram&leftNav=NationalOrganicProgram&page=NOPOrganicSeal&description=The%20Organic%20Seal&acct=nopgeninfo

[7] E.U. Import Certificate and Instruction materials can be found at:  http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:334:0025:0052:EN:pdf


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