European Union – European Commission Recognition
NARDAP now includes a European Union (EU) Recognition Sub- Program (EU Recognition Sub-program) that is aiming at acceptance of organic products exported to the European Union according to requirements specified in the Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007.
What need does address this sub-program?
In order to certify organic products both originating from countries not on the list of EU-Recognized Third Countries and destined to be sold in any EU country, certification bodies (CB) need to apply to European Commission for recognition in order to be included on the List of recognized control bodies and control authorities for the purpose of equivalence or the List of recognized control bodies and control authorities for the purpose of compliance.
Which organizations can apply?
This EU Recognition Sub-program is offered by the CAEQ to any organic certification bodies operating in geographic areas not belonging to EU-Recognized Third Countries (1), whether or not they are EU based.
In order to appear on either list, certification bodies must demonstrate that they operate an equivalent or compliant control system to that required within Europe, through reports supplied by either competent authorities, a national accreditation body with competence in organic agriculture or an international supervisory or accreditation body that is specialized in organic agriculture.
In accordance with Section 5, of the “Guidelines on Imports of Organic Products into European Union”, the CAEQ has the status of an international accreditation body specialized in organic agriculture. It is therefore deemed admissible by the European Commission to provide each applicant CB with all the requested reports intended to support recognition application to the European Commission.
In addition of being compliant with ISO 17011 requirements, the CAEQ has been involved in accreditation of organic CBs for the last ten years and has clients in several countries including EU countries.
What are the actions of CAEQ?
In order to enable the certification body to demonstrate compliance of its certification system with ISO Guide 65 / EN 45011 as well as IROCB (2) requirements, the CAEQ offers formal accreditation with the scope of either compliance with the EU Regulation (Plan A) or equivalence to the EU Regulation (Plan B). In the course of the accreditation process, the certification body is provided with the assessment reports prepared by the CAEQ on the document review as well as on the regular on-the-spot evaluation, surveillance and multiannual re-assessment of its activities that are required to maintain recognition.
With regards to standards, the CAEQ has created a database that includes the main national standards allowing performing gap analysis between most of them so as to identify complementary or additional requirements when compared with each other. Consequently, if a certification body is already certifying products to a specific standard and wishes to offer a EU organic certification program to its clients, it will be able to instruct inspectors to verify any complementary or additional requirements to the national standard it uses in order to certify the products against EU standards. It will then be deemed compliant.
If a certification body uses a private standard as the normative base for certifying organic products, the CAEQ can provide on request a report on the results of an equivalence assessment between this standard and the EU standards. Depending on the results of the gap analysis, the certification body could be deemed equivalent.
How does CAEQ facilitate your task of requesting recognition?
Since CAEQ specializes in accreditation services for organizations carrying out certification of agricultural and food products, the CAEQ uses only one accreditation reference manual for assessing certification bodies. This accreditation manual contains criteria that correspond to both ISO Guide 65 as well as IROCB (2) requirements. In accordance with EU regulation and guidelines published by the European Commission, any certification body seeking recognition from the EU must meet these requirements.
Besides its accreditation services, the CAEQ offer additional services such as Certified Products Database management, Standards comparisons for the purpose of equivalence determination, etc.
Contact without delay Vincent Vilela who will present to you the procedure to follow and will guide you in doing your application to the European Commission.
(1) Non-EU countries are referred to as ‘Third Countries’. Some Third Countries have been approved by the EU commission as having organic production standards and operating procedures equivalent to those in force in the EU. These are called ‘Approved Third Countries’ and are listed below:
- Costa Rica
- New Zealand
- United States
(2) IROCB stands for International Requirement for organic Certification Bodies.