EU requirement for certification bodies in third countries

EU requirement for certification bodies in third countries

Under EC organic regulation 2018/848 certification bodies operating in third countries, (outside the EU/EEA), must apply to the EC for approval to certify to the EC organic regulation.

Under the previous EC organic regulation, 834/2007, certification bodies (CBs) certifying in third countries could certify to standards that the EC had deemed as ‘equivalent’ to the EU regulation, (comparable but not identical). The change in EC regulation under 2018/848 means these must now certify in ‘compliance’ to the regulation, (identical to the regulation).  

CBs were given a transition period in which to apply for approval and switch to compliance by end of 2024.

The above does not apply to countries covered by a trade/equivalence agreement. However, some countries’ trade agreements do not cover all product categories  In such cases, CBs must apply for compliance for the product categories not covered. For example, the trade agreement for India does not cover processed products, so CBs certifying processed product for export to the EU must apply to the EC for approval for certifying processed product.


Does this affect GB certification bodies and operators?

No this does not, because the requirements do not apply to countries covered by a trade/equivalence agreement. The UK has a trade agreement with the EU that covers all product categories so CBs in GB are not required to apply for recognition from the EC. Certification to GB regulation 834/2007 and 889/2008 will continue to be accepted.

If you have customers within the EU they may contact you to enquire if your CB has applied to the EC for recognition of compliance. Please refer them to this article for confirmation that it is not required for GB CBs.


How is this affecting organic certification around the world?

The EC have been working through the applications received from third country CBs. 47 certification bodies applied for compliance.

They will publish a first partial proposed list of CBs recognized for the purpose of compliance. Published lists can be viewed here by searching for ‘imports of organic’This must be ratified by EU member states at the ECs Committee for Organic Production, (COP), in early June 2024. The proposed list will be published before the COP meeting to meet the legislative requirements.

This is a first list and the EC have confirmed that the list will be continuously updated monthly until the end of the year. Further updates will be voted by COP Mid-July, September, October, November and so on, if needed. 

If a CB is not recognised in the first list, or recognised partially, this does not mean that they will not be recognised or fully recognised by end of 2024.

Please contact your certification officer if you need further information.