Operators who want to export their organic products to the United States should comply with the requirements of the US National Organic Programme.
The US National Organic Program is managed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Bioagricert, a FoodChain ID company, certifies operations to USDA National Organic Program standards.
In 2012 the European Union and the United States Department of Agriculture signed an agreement that established the equivalence between the EU organic regulation and the US National Organic Program. The agreement includes some limitations which can be synthesised as follows:
- Animals must be bred without antibiotics; it will not be possible to export in USA animal origin products derived by animals treated with antibiotics and, in order to cover this aspect it’s been included, with the EU Reg. n. 126/2012, the introduction of a complementary purchase document to be released to the interested operators, in which is attested that those are “Animal products obtained without using antibiotics”. The presence of that document, or of a conformity certificate on which is indicated the same sentence, will have to be checked towards all the operators of the supply chain up to the end-product exported in the USA;
- The products need to be followed by the National Organic Program IMPORT CERTIFICATE issued by a EU authorised Control Body;
- The products can be produced inside or outside the EU, then imported in the EU in compliance with the regulations, with the aim of their subsequent transformation, package and sending in the USA.
Products of aquaculture are still excluded from the EU – USA agreement.
Operators who want to export their products to the U.S. can:
- apply for the National Organic Program certification.
- qualify for the label.
- export their products in equivalence with the import certificate.
Bioagricert is able to offer operators both possibilities under USDA accreditation.
Products can be exported to the U.S. in equivalence with just a certification document called NOP IMPORT CERTIFICATE. This document includes: indications on town and state of destination, name and address of the exporter and of the importer, name of the Certification Body that issues the certificate, net weight of the goods and the total number of containers, name of the product, information on the shipping method, identification of the “final handler” and of its certification body, when different from the exporter.
Labels should always comply with National Organic Program specific requirements and categories: “100% organic”, “Organic” and “Made with organic ingredients” (the category “Less than 70% organic products” is not included in the agreement).
Labels should always indicate “Certified organic by …” followed by the name of the EU authorised certification body as Bioagricert and the code of the EU certification body, which for Bioagricert is IT BIO 007. The products of the first two categories can also report USDA Organic and/or the Organic EU logo.
After the publication of the EU regulation 203/2012 the EU-USA working group is assessing how organic wine can enter in the equivalence agreement. In the transition period the conditions for exporting organic wine to the US are the same laid down in the US organic regulation: “Organic”, when no sulphur dioxide is added; “Made with organic grapes”, if sulphur dioxide is added, with a maximum level present in the finished product of 100 parts per million.
In both cases, the absence of substances forbidden by § 205.605 of the National Organic Program regulation should always be verified.