EU/USA recognition of equivalence of organic standards
06 June 2012
The recently announced mutual recognition of the US National Organic Program (NOP) standards and the EU organic regulation aims to lessen restrictions on trade, as organic producers and processors will no longer require additional certification in order to import or export their products between the EU and the USA.
Details of the agreement are still being sorted out, but it is already clear that exports of livestock products from the EU to the US must come from farms where antibiotics are not used to treat animals. This has always been a requirement under the NOP and EU producers will have to continue to comply with this if they wish to supply the US market.
The US organic market is growing rapidly, and the Soil Association does not expect any significant increase in exports to the UK in the near future. As there are significant differences between Soil Association and US organic standards, for example in respect of the processing aids that are allowed, and some important animal welfare standards, the Soil Association’s existing equivalence process, which ensures that any imported product meets the key elements of our standards if it is to be sold with our logo on it, will remain in place and will continue to cover any imports from the US.