Overview: Japan – Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement (JCOEA)
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.
On September 16, 2014 Canada and Japan entered into an arrangement recognizing the national organic systems as equivalent. The arrangement applied to plants, including fungi, and processed foods of plant origin, such as organic vegetables and tea.
On July 16, 2020 the scope of the recognition arrangement was extended to include livestock products (limited to the JAS organic specified scope of livestock) and processed food products containing livestock ingredients (limited to the JAS organic specified scope of livestock).
1 Japan's import requirements
1.1 Canadian organic products covered under JCOEA
Canada has signed an organic equivalence arrangement with Japan. This means that, as long as the terms of the arrangement are met, certified organic products in Japan or in Canada may be sold as organic in either country. The JCOEA's scope covers only CAN/CGSB 32.310 and CAN/CGSB 32.311. Organic products certified under CAN/CGSB 32.312 are excluded from the scope of the JCOEA.
Starting July 16, 2020 the following Canadian organic products are covered under the JCOEA and must bear the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS) seal to be sold in Japan:
- Plants, including fungi
- Processed foods of plant origin
- Livestock products (limited to the JAS organic specified scope of livestock)
- Processed food products containing livestock ingredients (limited to the JAS organic specified scope of livestock)
These products may also use the Canada Organic logo in compliance with Part 13 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.
Canadian certified operators may apply the JAS logo to their plants, including fungi, plant-based processed products, livestock products and processed food products containing livestock ingredients in one of two ways:
- Canadian certified operators who have a contract with a JAS-certified importer may apply the JAS logo to their products directly for sale in Japan
- Canadian certified operators who do not have a contract with a JAS-certified importer may not apply the JAS logo to their products prior to export. A JAS-certified importer must import the product, and that importer must apply the JAS logo to the product prior to sale within Japan
Canadian organic products exported to Japan under the JCOEA must be accompanied by an export certificate including the relevant information from Article 35 of the Enforcement Regulations of the Act on Japanese Agricultural Standard.
The document has to be completed by the CFIA accredited Certification Body (CB) and has to accompany each shipment. A copy of the export certificate template will be shared with the CFIA accredited CBs certifying organic products in Canada.
Export certificate template
1. File number
Reference number assigned to this document (to be filled by the issuing certification body), each unique identification number may be used only once and must be maintained in a control log (paper-based or electronic) that records each Export Certificate (EC) that the certification body creates, including all those issued, voided, or destroyed.
2. Importing country
Country the indicated organic product is destined for.
3. Name of importer and address
Importer or buyer in Japan and its mailing address.
4. Name of exporter and address
Canadian exporter or seller and its mailing address.
5. Date of issue
Issuance date of this document (to be filled by the issuing certification body). Dating format is YYYY/MM/DD, for example June 9, 2020 will be written as 2020/06/09.
6. Exporting country
Country the indicated organic agricultural product is originated from.
7. Certificate number
Reference number of the organic certificate issued by the certification body for the indicated organic agricultural product.
8. Name of certification body and address
Name and address of the certification body that certifies the indicated organic agricultural product.
9. Name of certified operator and address
Operator who handled organic food products at the final step before exporting, as indicated on the organic certificate.
10. Name of product
Generic name used to refer to the indicated product.
11. Lot number
Lot number assigned to the indicated product.
12. Unit weight/package specification
Minimum unit (weight) in which the product is sold at market. For example; organic tomato juice in units of 0.75 liter/bottles.
Total units of the indicated product (100 units for example).
14. Total net weight
Total net weight (volume) of the indicated product, which will equate to Item 12 times Item 13. For example: 0.75 liter/bottle x 100 units (bottles) = 75L.
15. Additional remarks (if any)
Other comments related to the product, if any.
16. Name and signature of the CB authorized person
Require the signature or seal of the authorized individual from the certification body that issued this certificate. This individual is responsible for all aspects of the issuance of this certificate.
1.2 Canadian organic agricultural products outside the scope of the JCOEA
Canadian organic products that do not have a JAS organic standard and are also not within the scope of this arrangement (for example, honey, seaweed, alcoholic beverages) certified by a CFIA-accredited CB in Canada will continue to have access to the Japanese market but will not bear the JAS logo.
Canadian organic products that do have a JAS organic standard and are also not within the scope of this arrangement (for example, feed) certified by a CFIA-accredited CB in Canada will continue to have access to the Japanese market but will not bear the JAS logo.
All certified products under the Canada Organic Regime must comply with Part 13 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, including labelling requirements for the use of the Canada Organic logo.
According to the JAS organic livestock requirements for livestock products and feed, it is permitted to use imported organic feed from countries having organic equivalency with Japan for production of organic livestock or of organic feed, only if any suitable organic feed can not be secured in Japan.
When such organic feed is exported to Japan from Canada, an export certificate issued by a CFIA accredited CB will be required.
If the alcoholic beverage is labelled with the word "organic" in the Japanese language, then an organic 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.
1.3 Japan's labelling requirements
All organic products covered in this arrangement and imported into Japan must comply with the Japanese labelling requirements, the Food Labeling Act and other related registration.
2 Canada's import requirements
2.1 Japanese organic products covered under JCOEA
In the letter from Canada to Japan, Canada has acknowledged that, pursuant to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act and the Safe Food For Canadians Act, plants, including fungi, processed foods of plant origin, livestock products and processed food products containing are equivalent to the requirements of Part 13 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.
All JAS certified organic plants, including fungi, plant-based processed products, livestock products and processed food products containing livestock ingredients that have been produced in Japan or whose final processing or packaging occurs livestock ingredients produced and processed in accordance with the Japanese Organic System, within Japan and are certified by a Japanese Accredited Certification Body can be imported under this arrangement and are accepted as organic in Canada without additional certification.
Japanese organic products must be accompanied by an export certificate issued by a Japanese Registered Certification Body listed in the List of Accredited Certification Bodies – PDF (90 kb).
The JAS Accredited Certification Bodies have to complete the following export certificate.
2.2 Japanese organic agricultural products outside the scope of the JCOEA
Japanese organic products that are not covered by the JCOEA (for example, honey, aquaculture products, seaweed, alcoholic beverages) 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. The Japanese certification Bodies will continue to maintain their accreditation by the CFIA for these activities after the Arrangement is signed and implemented. Imported organic products must be accompanied by a valid organic certificate issued by a CFIA accredited Certification body.
2.3 Canada's labelling requirements
All Japanese organic products covered under this arrangement imported into Canada must meet Canadian labelling requirements and may bear the Canada Organic logo. A copy of the logo will have to be requested from the accredited Certification Body responsible for the certification.
All foods imported to Canada must meet the regulatory requirements under the Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations and the Food and Drug Act and Regulations.
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