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Issues with Indian exports

EU proposal to remove five Indian certification bodies

The European Commission, (EC), propose to remove five Indian certification bodies from their list of recognised certification bodies under the control of the Indian competent authority (APEDA).

This is in response to a large number of contaminations of sesame seeds with ethylene oxide, (a substance not permitted for use in organic products) and what the EC view as a failure of the control systems of the certification bodies and the Indian competent authority.

If the EC proposal is approved the following certification bodies would be removed from annex iii:  CU Inspections India Pvt Ltd; Ecocert India Pvt Ltd; Indian Organic Certification Agency (Indocert); Lacon Quality Certifications Pvt Ltd and OneCert International Private Limited. The product categories covered would be unprocessed plant products and vegetative propagating material and seeds for cultivation.

We do not have access to all the information, but if approved it is likely to be published in December and apply from 1 January 2022. It would apply to imports from that date from India to the EU, (including Northern Ireland). You can view the draft of the regulation here.

We have asked Defra if a similar action will be taken by GB and they have informed us that they are aware of the issue and are looking into it. We have not been made aware of any specific actions or implications for product moving from India to GB at this time. However, GB organic regulations do not automatically change in line with the EU, so if Defra wish to take similar action and amend GB regulations it is unlikely to occur before the end of the year. We will inform you if Defra confirm they are intending to make changes.

In addition to the above we understand the Indian competent authority (APEDA), has suspended OneCert for 1 year. This will affect supplies from India if certified by OneCert. There is currently limited information available, but it appears APEDA are allowing some exports of already planned shipments during November. If you are affected by this and are concerned about upcoming shipments we recommend you contact your supplier.

We will update on these issues when we have further information.