European Union

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The EU Standard

Since 1991, there has been an organic standard in force in the European Union. On January 1, 2009, the original legislation, EEC 2092/91 was repealed and replaced by EC 834/2007, which works in conjunction with EC 889/2008, also known as the "implementation rules." The EU organic regulations are effective in the twenty-eight member nations of the EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom. Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have systems that are comparable to the EU system.

The QAI EU program includes Producer, Processor, Distributor, Trader, and Warehouse. We do not currently have an EU Livestock or an EU Dairy Program for operations based outside of the US or Canada. For clients based in the US and Canada exporting livestock or dairy programs, please consult the section on Standards and Equivalency Agreements, which may be applicable to your operation types.

Standard and Equivalency Agreements

US/EU Equivalency

Effective June 1, 2012, US based NOP clients benefit from the US/EU Equivalency Arrangement. For US NOP certified operators, they may export product to the EU, provided that exported products were not produced using antibiotics. (The NOP regulation currently allows for the use of antibiotics used to control blight in apple and pear orchards.) EU organic products may enter the US, provided that it is confirmed that the EU product was not produced using antibiotics. (The EU regulations currently allow for the use of antibiotics in the treatment of livestock.) Labeling of the destination market must be met – noting that the EU does not have a 70-95% category. Product traveling in either direction needs to be accompanied by an import certificate that is signed by the certifier of the exporter. Import authorizations will no longer be required effective June 1, 2012. For more information on the US/EU Equivalency Arrangement, please access the USDA website.

Access the February 2012 National Organic Program presentation on the US/EU Equivalency Arrangement.

CANADA/EU Equivalency

Canadian based COR certified clients currently benefit from an equivalency arrangement that allows their organic products to enter the EU market, provided that all of the ingredients were grown in Canada. For Canadian operations that do not meet the exclusions of the Canada/EU equivalency arrangement, your QAI EU verification is covered under the Equivalent European Union Organic Production & Processing Standard for Third Countries (2009). This standard is also used to verify EU compliance for operations outside of the US and Canada. For more information on the Canada/EU Equivalency Arrangement, please see the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website.

QAI uses the Equivalent European Union Organic Production & Processing Standard for Third Countries (2009) to evaluate conformance to the EU. As a third country outside of the EU, we are not allowed to certify to EC 834/2007 and EC 889/2008, as these documents have certain controls that are written in that are European-based, and are not applicable for organic systems outside of the EU. The Third Country standard accounts for these differences by a modification in some of the language; the requirements in this standard are the same as those of EC 834/2007 and EC 889/2008.

QAI has also created two convenient tables - Table 1 for Producers and Table 2 for Handlers, which lists the substances that are permitted for use in EU organic products.

Amendments to EC 834/2007

While the two principle regulations do not change, the EU can and does issue amendments to the regulations. QAI will alert clients to any significant changes. Amendments may be found by accessing Eur-Lex

Labeling to the Standard

Retail products entering the EU that are not using the EU logo, but are compliant to either the NOP, COR or CARTV labeling will be compliant for the EU, however the code number of the certifier will need to be listed on the product packaging prior to January 2012. If the logo is being used, there are some additional labeling requirements.

Operators based outside of the EU may use the EU logo on products, but are not required to do so. If you choose to use the EU logo, it must be placed on the product, with the certifier code number in the same visual field as the logo. Below the certifier code, the origin of the raw ingredients must be indicated. This may be done by indicating "EU Agriculture" if the raw agricultural ingredients are from an EU country; "Non EU Agriculture" if the ingredients are not from an EU country; "EU/Non EU Agriculture" if the ingredients are a combination of raw ingredients grown in both EU countries and non EU countries; or the actual country or countries of origin of the agricultural products may be used.

Currently QAI has a code from the EU Commission that confirms our present status as a third country certifier operating under the system of import authorizations. As outlined in EC 271/2010, the "AB" in the code is to be replaced by ISO code for the country in which the client is based - e.g. "US" for the United States, "CA" for Canada, "MX" for Mexico.

For example, if a client based in Canada and certified by QAI is marketing retail maple syrup in the EU, using the EU logo, it should appear like this:

EU Logo
CA-BIO-[code number]
Non-EU Agriculture (or Country of Origin Canada)

Please note that the EU assigned differs, based on whether product being exported is covered under the US/EU Equivalency Arrangement (effective June 1, 2012 for US NOP product), the Canada/EU Equivalency Arrangement, or under QAI's status as an equivalent third country certifier (effective July 1, 2012).

For the most current information on EU codes, please visit the EU Inspection and Certification page.

For the list of ISO country codes please visit the ISO website

For more information on using the EU logo, please see EC 271/2010.

Additional Resources - Exporting to the EU

A European transport document, Certificate of Inspection for Import of Products from Organic Production, is required for each shipment of product to Europe. Switzerland has its own "Certificate of Inspection" document. The Certificate of Inspection for Import of Products from Organic Production must be accompanied by the QAI Transaction/Export Certificate Cover Sheet, as well as a bill of lading or invoice that corroborates the information on the Certificate of Inspection document. Below are the forms that you will need to ship product to Europe, as well as some additional instructions and documents to guide you through the process.

For more information about upcoming changes to import rules in Europe, please see:

For more information, contact Kasey Moctezuma at 858-200-9720 or kasey@qai-inc.com.

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