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Requirements for the documentation accompanying organic products imported to Canada under the US Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement (USCOEA) as per Part 13 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

To: USDA National Organic Program (NOP) and the NOP accredited Certifying Agents recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) under the USCOEA.

Date: April 30, 2020

This notice provides clarification on the implementation of the current USCOEA which was signed in June 2009 and amended in January 2012.

All products certified organic in accordance with the USDA NOP imported into Canada under the USCOEA must meet the following requirements:

  1. Agricultural products shall be produced without the use of sodium nitrate.
  2. Agricultural products shall not be produced by hydroponic or aeroponic production methods.
  3. Agricultural products derived from animals must be produced according to livestock stocking rates as set out in the most recent version of CAN/CGSB-32.310.

As per clause 357(1) of Part 13 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), U.S. organic products imported to Canada must be accompanied by an organic certificate issued by a U.S. accredited Certifying Agent recognized under the USCOEA.

The organic certificate issued by the Certifying Agent must include the following statement: "Certified in accordance with the terms of the US-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement”. This statement is required to confirm that the imported organic products have been verified as meeting the terms of the USCOEA by the Certifying Agents issuing the organic certificate.

Starting April 2020, the admissibility requirement for the import of organic products will be included in the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) in accordance with clause 357(3) of Part 13 of the SFCR. Importers of organic products will be required to submit a copy of the organic certificate (electronic copy) when declaring import of organic products in the Integrated Import Declaration (IID) database.

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