In a move that is expected to lead to a significant rise in organic food trade between the European Union and Canada, the European Commission announced on June 27 that the EU and Canada have reached agreement on an equivalency in organic products.
The European Commission said on June 24 that respective decisions on organic equivalency followed long and intensive discussions between the European Commission and Canadian authorities. The EC said: “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. Both sides furthermore carried out on the spot checks of the production rules and control measures applied in the EU and Canada.
“On the EU side, the regulation adding Canada on the list of recognised countries has been published on 21 June 2011 (Official Journal L 161). Canada, on its side, confirmed in writing on 23 June 2011 that it now recognises all EU organic products as equivalent to the Canadian Organic Products Regulation. The equivalency reached will facilitate and hence boost trade in agricultural organic products between the EU and Canada. Following this equivalency, the respective organic logos will be authorized to be used on each other’s market.”
Canada published its Organic Products Regulation, 2009 in June 2009, when the new organic logo Biologique Canada Organic was unveiled. Canada’s Organic Products Regulations now require all Canadian organic products to be endorsed by a certification body accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Also in June 2009, Canada made an agreement with the United States on organic equivalency, despite concerns about differences between Canada’s organic certification standards and American organic regulation. One major issue was that some US organic farms allow the use of sodium nitrate in soil, while it is not permitted on Canadian organic farms. However, 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.