ARCHIVED - Recognition of Equivalency with Costa Rica

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March 28, 2013

Ing. Magda González Arroyo
Directora Ejecutiva
Servicio Fytosanitario del Estado
Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería

San Jose, Costa Rica

Dear Ms Gonzalez Arroyo,

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reviewed the Costa Rica organic certification program as set out in the Costa Rican Organic Agriculture Regulation- Decree No. 29782 from Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

Pursuant to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act and the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the CFIA has determined that agricultural products of plant origin which are produced and processed in Costa Rica and which are also in conformity with the Costa Rican Organic Agriculture Regulation- Decree No. 29782, are produced and processed under an organic certification program that provides safeguards and guidelines governing the production and processing of such products, and are deemed equivalent to such products that have been produced and processed in accordance with the Canadian Organic Products Regulations, 2009 (OPR 2009); and subject to Appendix 1, may be sold, labelled or represented in Canada as organic, including by display of the Canadian organic logo as well as Costa Rica's organic seal.

Should the CFIA decide to change its criteria for determining equivalency, it will notify Costa Rica Servicio Fytosanitario del Estado for Organic Agriculture in writing in advance.

This recognition will be effective as of the date of this letter.

The CFIA's Canada Organic Office (COO), which administers the OPR 2009, is committed to working with the Costa Rica Servicio Fytosanitario del Estado Office for Organic Agriculture to carry out what is envisioned in this letter.

Sincerely,

Daniel Miller
Executive Director
Food Labelling and Claims Directorate
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Appendix 1

The equivalency decision of CFIA is subject to the following:

1. The Costa Rica Servicio Fytosanitario del Estado for Organic Agriculture will notify the CFIA in a timely manner of any:

  1. changes with respect to the Costa Rica Servicio Fytosanitario del Estado for Organic Agriculture competent authority and certifying agents;
  2. proposed rulemaking and/or enacted legislation that would modify the Costa Rica Organic Agriculture Regulation - Decree No. 29782;
  3. instances of any significant non-compliance with the Costa Rican organic certification program. For purposes of this equivalency determination, "significant" means any non-conformity that materially affects the integrity of the organic products subject to this recognition.

2. Following advance notice from the CFIA, the Costa Rica Servicio Fytosanitario del Estado for Organic Agriculture will permit the CFIA to conduct evaluations (document review and/or on-site visits) to verify how the Costa Rican certifying agents are carrying out the requirements of Costa Rica's organic certification program. The Costa Rica Servicio Fytosanitario del Estado for Organic Agriculture will cooperate and assist the CFIA, to the extent permitted under its domestic law, in carrying out such evaluations.

3. Should there be any issue raised regarding the application of or the activities covered under this letter, the CFIA and the Costa Rica Servicio Fytosanitario del Estado for Organic Agriculture will participate in discussions or use other means they deem appropriate to resolve the issue.

Letter from Costa Rica Servicio Fytosanitario del Estado for Organic Agriculture

San José, 15 March 2013

Mr. Daniel Miller
Executive Director
Food Labelling and Claims Directorate
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Subject: Recognition of Equivalency with Canada

Dear Mr. Miller:

The National Phytosanitary Service (SFE) of Costa Rica has reviewed the Canadian organic certification program as set out in the Canadian Organic Products Regulations, 2009 (OPR 2009)

Based on that review the SFE has determined that agricultural products produced and certified in Canada in accordance with the OPR 2009, are produced and certified under an organic certification program that provides safeguards and guidelines that are equivalent to those required by Costa Rica's National law governing the organic agriculture regime.

Accordingly, subject to the limitations proposed in the Appendix 1, SFE will consider agricultural products produced and certified in Canada in conformity with the OPR 2009 to have been produced and certified in accordance with Costa Rica's requirements and will allow them to be sold, labelled and/ or represented in Costa Rica as organically produced, including both by display of the Canadian organic logo and the Costa Rican organic seal.

SFE confirms that Canadian organic certified agricultural products will be accepted and sold as organic in the Costa Rica national market; as long as they are certified by a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) accredited Certification Body that certified the products as organic and/or the Canada Organic Logo.

Should the SFE decide to change its criteria for determining equivalency, it will notify Canadian Food Inspection Agency in writing in advance.

This recognition will be effective as of the date of this letter.

SFE which administers the Decree No. 29782, is committed to working with the CFIA's Canada Organic Office (CFIA's COO) to carry out what is envisioned in this letter.

Sincerely,
Magda González
Director

Appendix No. 1

Costa Rica grants this equivalency determination under the following conditions:

1. The CFIA will notify the SFE in a timely manner of any:

  1. changes with respect to the CFIA's competent authority and accredited Certification Bodies.
  2. Proposed legislation or rulemaking that would modify any of Canada's laws or regulations that may impact the Canadian organic certification program.
  3. Instances of significant non-compliance with the Canadian organic certification program. For purposes of this equivalency determination, "significant" means any non-conformity that materially affects the integrity of the agricultural product.

2. Following advance notice from the SFE, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will permit SFE to conduct evaluations (document review and/or on-site visits) to verify how the Canadian certifying agents are carrying out the requirements of Canadian organic certification program. The CFIA will cooperate and assist the SFE, to the extent permitted under its domestic law, in carrying out such evaluations.

3. Should there be any issue raised regarding the application of or the activities covered under this letter, the SFE and the CFIA will participate in discussions or use other means they deem appropriate to resolve the issue.