An equivalency agreement has been reached between the U.S. Department
of Agriculture (USDA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
that will allow the continued smooth flow of certified organic products
between the two countries and support the continued growth of this rapidly expanding
market in North America. It is the first such equivalency agreement worldwide
for the organic industry.
The official signing will take place at Organic Trade Association
(OTA)'s All Things Organic(TM) Conference and Trade Show at Lakeview
Center, McCormick Place this afternoon during the State of the Organic
Industry in North America session. The agreement, signed by the two
government agencies, takes effect on June 30.
"This is the first step toward global harmonization of organic
standards, and marks an historic moment for the organic community,"
Merrigan told a standing-room-only audience at All Things Organic(TM).
As a result of the historic equivalency agreement, certified organic
products as of July 1 can continue to move freely across the U.S. and
Canadian border provided they use the new Canada Organic Biologique
label or the USDA Organic seal.
"Consumers will benefit from equivalency, as they have access to a more
affordable range of organic products, increased product diversity, and
a reliable supply chain. As a result, consumers will continue to have
confidence in the organic integrity and government oversight of the
products they buy," said Christine Bushway, OTA's Executive Director.
Under equivalency, producers certified to NOP regulations by a USDA
accredited certifying agent do not have to double-certify to the
Canadian organic standards in order to meet Canadian labeling
requirements when exporting to the Canadian market. Similarly, Canadian
producers certified to Canadian organic standards by a CFIA accredited
certifying body will be deemed equivalent to the NOP to meet the
labeling requirements of the U.S. market when selling to the U.S.