Canada-European Union Organic Equivalency Arrangement - Overview

Requirements for Canadian organic agricultural products for export to EU covered under the Canada-European Union Organic Equivalency Arrangement

Canada has been added to the list of recognised third countries in Annex III of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 590/2011 of 20 June 2011 amending Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1235/2008, as published in the Official Journal of the European Union L 161 of 21.6.2011 - PDF (726 kb).

According to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 590/2011 the following products certified according to the Canada Organic Regime by one of the certifiers listed are accepted as organic in the EU:

  1. live or unprocessed agricultural products and vegetative propagating material and seeds for cultivation;
  2. processed agricultural products for use as food;
  3. feed.

The products of category (a) and the ingredients of the products of categories (b) and (c) must have been grown in Canada. With regards to the reference to feed (c), on July 20 2011 EU indicated that it was an oversight not to include it in the present EU regulations and this will be rectified in the next publication of the regulations.

Canadian organic products exported to EU under the Canada-European Union Organic Equivalency Arrangement must be accompanied by a "Certificate of Inspection for Import of products from Organic product into the European Community" (the "Certificate of Inspection') as per Article 13 and Annex V of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 - PDF (306 kb).

The certification body operating in Canada has to prepare, sign and stamp this "Certificate of Inspection". In Box # 2 the certification body operating in Canada must mark the box associated with "Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, Article 33(2).

Organic products exported from Canada for import to the EU under this Arrangement may bear the EU logo, under the conditions spelled out in article 24 of Regulation 834/2007, in particular the last paragraph of paragraph 1 of article 24. The logo can be downloaded from http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/eu-policy/logo_en.

Requirements for Canadian organic agricultural products for export to EU outside the scope of the Canada-European Union Organic Equivalency Arrangement

Products that are outside the scope of the Canada-European Union Organic Equivalency Arrangement can continue to be exported to EU under Article 19 of the Commission regulation (EC) No 1235/2008. EU Member States can grant such import authorisations to importers who introduce a request to a Member State Competent Authority. (Status Quo to pre-arrangement requirements for all organic products) Examples of products outside the scope of this Arrangement are: multi-ingredient products with ingredients not grown in Canada, pet food, aquaculture, cosmetics, textiles and furniture.

EU Labelling Requirements

All organic products imported into the EU must meet EU labelling requirements.

Requirements for EU organic products exported to Canada

In the Arrangement letter from Canada to the EU, Canada has accepted that, pursuant to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act and the Canada Agricultural Products Act, agricultural products produced and processed in accordance with the European Organic System, are produced and processed under an organic certification system that provides safeguards and guidelines governing the production and processing of such products that are equivalent to the requirements of the Canadian Organic Products Regulations, 2009.

The EC has indicated to Canada that EC will oversee the organic certification only in EU. Organic agricultural products produced and processed in EU and certified to the European Organic System are accepted as organic in Canada without additional certification.

Ingredients of processed products must be produced in the EU or imported into the EU in accordance with Article 33 of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 - PDF (191 kb).

Organic products must be accompanied by an organic certificate issued by an EU Control body listed in the List of Control Authorities in Charge of Controls in the Organic Sector provided for in Article 35(b) of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 - PDF (117 kb).

Organic products certified in accordance with the European Organic System and exported to Canada may bear the Canada Organic Logo. A copy of the logo must be requested from the Control bodies responsible for the certification.

Organic products imported into Canada must meet Canadian labelling requirements.

With regards to wine, the claim "wine made with organic grapes' is not permitted as organic under the Canadian Organic Products Regulation. While this specific claim is not permitted in the Canadian market, EU wines which meet Canada's organic requirements can be marketed as organic wines in Canada. The EC will make its producers of organic wines aware that, under these conditions, they can label their products for export to Canada as "organic wine."