Recognition of Equivalency with Japan

September 16, 2014

Hiroyuki Kobayashi
Director General
Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Tokyo, Japan

Dear Mr. Kobayashi,

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reviewed the Japan organic certification program as set out in the Japan Agricultural Standard (JAS).

Pursuant to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act and the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the CFIA has determined that agricultural products of plant origin, including fungi and processed foods of plant origin, which are produced in Japan or whose final processing or packaging occurs within Japan and are:

  • certified by a Japanese Registered Certifying Body in conformity with the Japan Agricultural Standard;
  • produced and processed under an organic certification program that provides safeguards and guidelines governing the production and processing of such products;
  • accompanied by the certificate which is issued by a Registered Certifying Body;

are deemed equivalent to those products that have been produced and processed in accordance with the Canadian Organic Products Regulations, 2009 (OPR 2009); and may be sold, labelled and represented in Canada as organic, including by display of the Canadian organic logo as well as the Japanese organic seal. This recognition will be effective as of January 1st 2015 under the conditions set forth in Appendix 1.

The requirements outlined in Appendix 2 apply to imported organic products.

The CFIA's Canada Organic Office, which administers the OPR 2009, is committed to working with Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to carry out what is envisioned in this letter.

Sincerely,

Daniel Miller
Executive Director
Food Import Export and Consumer Protection Directorate
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

1400 Merivale Road
Tower 2, 6th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0Y9
Telephone: 613-773-5442
Fax: 613-773-5961

Appendix 1 - Conditions for Granting Equivalency

The equivalency decision of CFIA is subject to the following:

1. The Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) will notify the CFIA in a timely manner of any:

  1. changes with respect to the Japan's competent authority and registered certifying bodies;
  2. proposed legislation or rulemaking in Japan that would modify the Japan Agricultural Standard (JAS);
  3. instances of significant non-compliance with MAFF organic certification program. For purposes of this equivalency determination, "significant" means any non-conformity that materially affects the integrity of the organic product subject to this recognition.

2. Following advance notice from the CFIA, MAFF will permit the CFIA to conduct evaluations (document review or on-site visits) to verify how the JAS accredited certification bodies carry out the requirements of Japan's organic certification program. MAFF will cooperate and assist the CFIA, to the extent permitted under domestic law, in carrying out such evaluations.

3. MAFF is expected to submit an annual report to the CFIA that will cover the organic activities for the previous year by March 31 or the current year.

4. Canada and Japan will participate in discussions or other means they deem appropriate to resolve any issue raised regarding the application of or the activities covered under the arrangemente.g. establishing Technical Working Group to address and resolve implementation and other issues with the arrangement.

5. Should the CFIA decide to change its criteria for determining equivalency, it will notify MAFF in writing in advance.

Appendix 2 - Import Provision

The following transitional provisions apply:

1. JAS non-regulated Japanese organic products (e.g. meat, dairy, honey) can be imported and sold in Canada as organic as long as they are certified to the Canadian Organic Standard by a CFIA accredited Certification body. These imported organic products must be accompanied by a valid organic certificate issued by a CFIA accredited Certification body.

Letter from Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

PDF (84kb)

September 16, 2014

Mr. Daniel Miller
Executive Director
Food Import Export and Consumer Protection Directorate
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

Dear Mr. Miller,

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Japan (MAFF) has reviewed the Canadian organic certification program.

Based on the review, MAFF recognizes that the organic certification system in Canada stipulated the Organic Products Regulations, 2009 (OPR 2009) is equivalent to the organic certification system under the Law concerning Standardization and Proper Labeling of Agricultural and Forestry Prod (the JAS Law) under the conditions set forth in Appendix 1.

Accordingly, agricultural products of plant origin, including fungi and processed foods of plant or which are processed in Canada or whose final processing or packaging occurs within Canada and

  • certified by a CFIA accredited certification body in conformity with the Organic Products Regulations, 2009; and,
  • accompanied by a certificate issued by a CFIA accredited certification body;

May be sold, labeled and represented in Japan as organic, including by display of the Organic JAS logo as well as the Canadian organic logo. This recognition will commence on January 1st, 2015.

The requirements for other imported organic products are outlined in Appendix 2.

MAFF is committed to working with the CFIA to carry out the terms of the determination as stipulated in this letter.

Sincerely,
Hiroyuki Kobayashi
Director General

Appendix 1 - Conditions for granting equivalency

The equivalency decision of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is subject to the following:

  1. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will notify the MAFF in a timely manner of any:
    1. changes with respect to the Canada's competent authority and accredited certification bodies;
    2. proposed legislation or rulemaking in Canada that would modify the Organic Products Regulations, 2009 (OPR 2009);
    3. instances of significant non-compliance withCFIA organic certification program. For purposes of this equivalency determination, "significant" means any non-conformity that materially affects the integrity of the organic product subject to this recognition.
  2. Following advance notice from the MAFF, CFIA will permit the MAFF to conduct evaluations (document reviews or on-site visits) to verify how the CFIA accredited certification bodies carry out the requirements of Canada's organic certification program. CFIA will cooperate and assist the MAFF, to the extent permitted under domestic law, in carrying out such evaluations.
  3. CFIA is expected to submit an annual report to the MAFF that contains information regarding the types and quantities of Canadian organic products exported under this recognition for the previous year by March 31 of the current year.
  4. MAFF and CFIA will participate in discussions or other means they deem appropriate to resolve any issue raised regarding the application of or the activities covered under this recognitione.g. establishing Technical Working Group to address and resolve implementation and other issues.
  5. Should the MAFF decide to change its criteria for determining equivalency, it will notify CFIA in writing in advance.

Appendix 2 - Import of other organic products

The following import items apply:

  1. JAS non-regulated Canadian organic products (e.g., meat, dairy, honey) can be imported and sold in Japan as organic as long they are certified to the Canadian Organic Standard by a CFIA-accredited Certification Body and comply with the Organic Products Regulations, including labelling requirements for the use of the Canada Organic logo.
  2. If the alcoholic beverage is labelled with the word "organic" in the Japanese language, then a certificate that includes the name of the certified alcoholic beverage, the name and the address of the certified farm or brewery, the number and date of certification, the address and name of the operator, the country of origin, and the address and name of the certifying body is required to accompany export. The certificate must be issued by a CFIA accredited certification body
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