Canada-Switzerland Organic Equivalency Recognition – Guidance Document for Canadian Importers and Exporters

Requirements for Canadian organic agricultural products for export to Switzerland

As of December 18, 2012, Canada has been added to the list of recognised third countries in Annex 4 of Ordonnance du DFE sur l'agriculture biologique – PDF (292 kb) (Swiss unofficial English: Ordinance on Organic Farming and the Labelling of Organically Produced Products and Foodstuffs (Organic Farming Ordinance)).

According to Swiss Organic Farming Ordinance, the following products certified according to the Canada Organic Regime by a CFIA accredited Certification Bodies are accepted as organic in Switzerland:

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

The products of category (a) must be grown in, and the ingredients of the products of category (b), must originate from, Canada, Switzerland or the European Union (EU).

Canadian organic products exported to Switzerland under the Canada-Switzerland Organic Equivalency Arrangement must be accompanied by a Certificate of Inspection – (Word format) according to Article 24 (a) of the Swiss Organic Farming Ordinance – PDF (311 kb).

The certificate of inspection must be drawn up by a CFIA accredited certification body. The Certificate of Inspection has to accompany the goods. Guidance on how to complete the certificate of inspection, is available at: www.blw.admin.ch/themen/00013/00085/00092/index.html?lang=en.

Organic products exported from Canada for import to the Swiss under this Recognition may bear the Canada organic logo and/or any logo recognized by the Swiss Federal Office, under the conditions spelled out in the letter of equivalence recognition (click here) and according to the labelling requirements of Chapter 1, Article 2 and Chapter 3, Articles 17-21, of the Swiss Organic Farming Ordinance – PDF (311 kb).

In order to guarantee a simplified flow of goods of organic products between the EU and Switzerland, the same labelling requirements as in the EU apply for the indication of the code numbers of the certification bodies.

Products that are outside the scope of the Equivalency recognition (wine or multi-ingredients products with ingredients not originating from Canada, Switzerland or the EU) can continue to be exported to Switzerland under Article 24 of the Organic Farming Ordinance. Swiss Competent Authority can grant an Import Permit (Individual authorization) to importers upon a request.

Alternatively, products outside the scope of the recognition can be inspected and certified by recognized certification body. The Federal Office keeps a list of recognized bodies – PDF (141 kb) and updates it every year.

Examples of products outside the scope of this Arrangement are: multi-ingredient products with ingredients not grown in Canada, Switzerland or the EU, pet food, aquaculture, cosmetics, textiles and furniture.

Further information relating to Swiss import requirements of organic products can be found at: Imports of Organic Products Guidance – PDF (260 kb).

All organic products imported into Switzerland must meet Swiss labelling requirements.

Requirements for Swiss organic agricultural products imported to Canada

Pursuant to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act and the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the CFIA has determined that agricultural products of plant and/or animal origin which are:

  1. produced and processed in Switzerland, and/or;
  2. processed in Switzerland and contain ingredients originating from EU member states certified to the European Union's Commission Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and/or;
  3. processed in Switzerland and containing ingredients originating from Canada certified to the Canadian Organic Products Regulations (OPR 2009),

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 OPR 2009.

Ingredients of processed products must originate from Canada, Switzerland or the EU.

Organic products must be accompanied by an organic certificate issued by a Swiss Certification/ Inspection Body.

For Swiss products outside the scope of the recognition (wine or multi-ingredients products with ingredients not originating from Canada, Switzerland or EU), these products can be imported to Canada as long as they are certified in accordance with the OPR 2009.

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

Organic products imported into Canada must meet Canadian labelling requirements.