IFOAM is just starting to develop and promote recommendations for governments on how they can use the IFOAM Family of Standards as a basis to facilitate recognition of equivalent standards in their approach to regulate imports of organic products. Australia and Saudi Arabia have already shown ways in which this can be done, IFOAM reports. In the case of Australia, Standards Australia has published a document entitled “Procedures for certification of organic and biodynamic products (reference MP 100-2009, Incorporating Amendment No. 1)”. Appendix C of this document details the requirements to determine the acceptability of other conformity assessment systems for imported organic and biodynamic products. The approach taken with regards to imports is the one of ‘equal reliability’. Appendix C contains a link to the table of already approved Acceptable Conformity Assessment Systems, Competent Authorities and Accreditation Bodies that is located atwww.jas-anz.org/MP100. In that table, “International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) approved standards” are acceptable, and this should be interpreted as “all standards approved in the IFOAM Family of Standards”.
In the case of Saudi Arabia, the organic regulation also bases its import rules on the concept of equivalence. Its article 32 (Import of Products with Equivalent Guarantees), paragraph 1a states: “A product imported from outside Saudi Arabia may be placed on the national market as organic product provided that: a. the product has been produced in accordance with production rules equivalent to those of this regulation;…”. The Ministry of Agriculture clarified in a letter to IFOAM that the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture recognizes the IFOAM Family of Standards as a basis for the approval of equivalent standards and regulations. This, his technical advisers clarified, means that products certified according to any standard or regulation approved in the IFOAM Family of Standards automatically satisfy Article 32, point 1 a, of the Saudi Organic Regulation, meaning that these standards are recognized as equivalent to the Saudi organic regulation production rules without the need of further assessment or listing from the side of the Saudi competent authority.
Source: Organic Market Info