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Changes to US regulations will affect organic exports to the US

Changes to US regulations will affect organic exports to the US

The Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) final rule is a new piece of US regulation and represents the biggest change to US organic regulations since the creation of USDA’s National Organic Program.

Updated 30/01/2024

The rule closes gaps in current organic regulations and builds consistent certification practices to prevent fraud and improve the transparency and traceability of organic products. The SOE means additional responsibilities for operators on both sides of the Atlantic from March 2024. 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has implemented a new digital platform for certifying bodies issuing National Organic Programme import certificates (NOPs). The platform is called the Global Organic Integrity database (GLOBAL). We are aware that consignments of organic agricultural and food and drink products destined for the US will need to be recorded and approved on the new database by 19 March 2024 at the latest.

Please note that all NOP Certificates for consignments must be endorsed prior to the goods leaving the UK. There is scope for your certifier to make edits once goods have departed GB, however, to avoid any issues at the US border we advise ensuring all details are correct before departure. All NOP Certificates may now only have a single line item per certificate. You can still send us a Certificate for approval with multiple line items, however, we will be obligated to generate a certificate for each individual line item.

Soil Association Certification are in the process of registering all licensees who export organic products to US on the GLOBAL database. We will continue to provide our licensees with a PDF version of the NOP certificate.

The GLOBAL Trade Partner Module is an important step in implementing the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) final rule requirements. When fully deployed, both USDA-accredited certifiers and certifiers working with other government organic standards that have been determined to be substantively similar will be able to generate electronic import certificates in GLOBAL. Organic Certification Bodies (CBs) are solely responsible for maintaining entities within the database. If you are a Soil Association Certification licensee who already exports to US , you will have been  have contacted and asked to provide contacts details and a full list of products you wish to export to the United States. As GLOBAL is a public database you may also wish to list products you are not currently exporting but would meet the terms laid out in the equivalency agreement.

You can find out more about the Global Organic Integrity Database from the USDA.

You can read more about the new SoE and requirements for exporters and importers in the OTA guidance.

If you have any questions or queries please get in touch with coi@soilassociation.org.