USDA Deputy Secretary signs, finalizes equivalency agreement between U.S. and Canada

June 17, 2009

USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that an equivalency agreement has been reached between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The announcement was made at the Organic Trade Association All Things Organic Conference and Trade Show being held in Chicago.

This  equivalency agreement will allow the continued smooth flow of certified organic products between the two countries and support the continued growth of this rapidly expanding market in North America. It is the first such equivalency agreement worldwide for the organic industry.

The official signing will take place at Organic Trade Association (OTA)'s All Things Organic Conference and Trade Show at Lakeview Center, McCormick Place on the afternoon of June 17 during the State of the Organic Industry in North America session. The agreement, signed by the two government agencies, takes effect on June 30.

As a result of the historic equivalency agreement, certified organic products as of July 1 can continue to move freely across the U.S. and Canadian border provided they use the new Canada Organic Biologique label or the USDA Organic seal.

Under equivalency, producers certified to NOP regulations by a USDA accredited certifying agent do not have to double-certify to the Canadian organic standards in order to meet Canadian labeling requirements when exporting to the Canadian market. Similarly, Canadian producers certified to Canadian organic standards by a CFIA accredited certifying body will be deemed equivalent to the NOP to meet the labeling requirements of the U.S. market when selling to the U.S.

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