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Organic Certification Goes Global

Europe and U.S. Agree on Global Organic Certifications

By Brianna Panzica   

For organic farmers shipping between Europe and the United States, sales have always required a double approval process for organic certification.

Formally, the standards for organic approval in the United States didn’t quite match those of Europe.

But officials have since realized that this process of getting approved in both regions did little more than cost time and money.

So on June 1, an agreement will take effect between the United States and the European Union that requires just one approval process for organic foods.

The two regions found that there were only slight variations in standards for each approval process, but they were essentially the same.  So foods approved as organic in the U.S. could be sold as organic in the E.U., and vice versa.

And the agreement, which will be signed at the annual BioFach World Organic Trade Fair in Nuremberg, Germany, will make it official

The one exception will be with the use of antibiotics in animals.  E.U. organic approval says it’s okay to use them on sick animals, while the U.S. bans them altogether.  Organic meat from the E.U. with antibiotics will not be approved in the U.S.

But otherwise, the seal of organic approval will be valid internationally.

Organic farmers are happy about what this means for their sales.

Jake Lewin of the California Certified Organic Farmers told The Bellingham Herald:

“Access to the European market has been complicated.  The whole process of getting approved was a huge problem, and now it won’t be.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, most of the nation’s organic products come from California, which has over 14,500 organic farms.  The states of Wisconsin, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania are also high up on the list.

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