Canada and the European Union have reached an agreement on equivalency of organic products, in a move expected to significantly boost organic food trade between the two markets.
Canada introduced its Canada Organic Biologique logo just two years ago, bringing together the previous hotchpotch of voluntary and mandatory organic certification in different provinces across the country. Its Organic Products Regulations now require all Canadian organic products to be endorsed by a certification body accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
The Canadian and EU decisions on organic equivalency follow discussion between the European Commission and CFIA, reviews of the two markets’ respective organic rules, and spot checks of control measures in both regions.
“The review of each other's rules for organic production and control systems have led to the conclusion that in the EU and Canada the rules governing production and controls of organic agricultural products are equivalent to those laid down in each other's legislation,” the European Commission (EC) said in a statement on Friday.
The EU and Canada both confirmed in writing this week the decision to consider organic products in each other’s markets as equivalent.
“The equivalency reached will facilitate and hence boost trade in agricultural organic products between the EU and Canada,” the EC said.
The respective organic logos are now authorized for use across both markets.
Canada also came to an agreement with the United States on organic equivalency in June 2009, despite concerns about differences between Canada’s organic certification standards and American organic regulation. One of the major issues had been that some US organic farms allow the use of sodium nitrate in soil, while it is not permitted on Canadian organic farms.
The two countries came to a compromise, allowing products that had been certified as organic under US rules to stay on the market but prohibiting further crops from fields treated with sodium nitrate from being shipped as organic to Canada. The agreement also scrapped the need for a three-year transition period from sodium nitrate use.