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European Union - Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement (EUCOEA) overview

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements may apply in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

The European Union (EU) and Canada recognize each others' organic production rules and control systems as equivalent under their respective rules. This type of recognition is also referred to as an "equivalence arrangement".

This equivalence arrangement took effect in June 2011 and covers organic agricultural products of EU or Canadian origin.

This equivalence arrangement means that organic products certified to the Canadian or EU organic standards may be sold and labelled as organic in both Canada and the EU.

As long as the product is certified by a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) accredited certification body (CB) in Canada or by an EU Member State recognized control body or control authority in the EU, this recognition eliminates the need for EU organic products to have a separate certification to the Canadian standards, and vice versa.

1.EU import requirements

1.1 Canadian organic products covered under EUCOEA

As per the Regulation (EU) 1235/2008, the following products certified to the Canada Organic Regime in accordance with the SFCR Part 13 (Organic Products) by one of the CFIA accredited certification bodies are accepted as organic in the EU:

Processed agricultural products for use as food and processed agricultural products for use as feed have to be processed in Canada with organic ingredients grown in Canada or imported into Canada in accordance with the SFCR Part 13 (Organic Products).

Currently, aquaculture organic products, with the exception of seaweed products, are excluded from the scope of the EUCOEA arrangement.

1.2 EU's labelling requirements

As a result of this equivalency arrangement, both the EU organic logo and the Canada organic logo may be used on products traded under the arrangement. When using the other country's logos, the exported products must meet all labelling requirements applicable in the importing country.

For processed products, any product containing above 95% organic ingredients may be labelled with the claim "organic" and the organic logo may be used. For products containing less than 95% organic ingredients, the reference to organic may only appear in the list of ingredients and the logo may not be used.

The product may bear the EU organic logo in accordance with EU regulations. It is also permitted to display both the Canada organic logo as well as the EU organic logo as set out in the Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008. The logo can be downloaded from the European Commission's website.

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

1.3 Documentation required for Canadian organic products exported to the EU

Canadian organic products exported to EU under the EUCOEA must be accompanied by a "Certificate of Inspection for Import of products from Organic production into the European Community" (the "Certificate of Inspection") as per Article 13 and Annex V of Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1235/2008.

Organic products must be certified to the Canadian organic standards by a certification body (CB) accredited by the CFIA, and accompanied by the certificate of inspection issued by a CFIA accredited CB.

The CBs operating in Canada have 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)".

The certificates of inspection are utilized by EU port of entry officials, control bodies and control authorities to verify compliance with the applicable legislation.

2. Canada's import requirements

2.1 EU organic products covered under EUCOEA

Agricultural products, including wine, are eligible to be imported to Canada as organic if produced and processed in the European Union and certified in conformity with Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 by an EU control authority or control body approved in accordance with Article 27 of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007; and accompanied by the certificate of operator.

This recognition is limited to organic products that have been either:

  1. produced within the EU; or,
  2. products whose final processing occurs within the EU.

CBs based in the EU that have clients outside the EU and wish to certify them to the Canadian Organic Standards must maintain their accreditation with the CFIA.

Organic products that are grown, produced or packaged outside of the EU are not within the scope of the recognition, even if they are certified to EU standards.

Currently, aquaculture organic products, with the exception of seaweed products, are excluded from the scope of the EUCOEA arrangement.

2.2 Canada's labelling requirements

EU operators can use the Canada organic logo in accordance with the Part 13 of the SFCR. It is also permitted to display both the Canada organic logo as well as the EU organic logo as set out in the Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008.

Products must meet all Canadian organic labeling requirements (including compliant use of the Canada organic logo).

A copy of the logo must be requested from the Control bodies responsible for the certification.

2.3 Documentation required for EU organic products exported to Canada

For EU organic products intended to be imported to Canada, first, the products should meet the requirements specified in the EU legislation and in particular Regulation (EU) No 1235/2008.

All products traded under the EUCOEA must be accompanied by an operator certificate issued by an EU accredited certification body (control body) recognized under the organic equivalency agreement between Canada and the EU and 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.

All relevant Canadian legislation would also continue to apply for the imported product.

Under the SFCR, certain food businesses (such as many importers) will require a licence to conduct one or more activities.

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