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Policy on the import for re-export of USDA NOP certified organic poultry products

To: All interested parties

Date: January 15, 2020


This policy outlines the specific requirements for import of USDA National Organic Program (NOP) certified organic poultry and poultry meat products that do not meet the terms of the United States-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement (USCOEA).

Regulatory background

According to section 19 (1) of the Safe Foods for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), a person may not import for re-export a food that does not meet the requirements of Part 13 (Organic products) of the SFCR. However, a person may import for re-export foods that do not meet other requirements of the Act or Regulations if certain conditions are met [section 19(1)(a)-(b), SFCR].

Section 357 of the SFCR states that an organic product that is imported into Canada must be certified organic under the Canadian Organic Standards or must be imported from a country with which the CFIA has an organic equivalency arrangement and the product is certified organic as per the arrangement.

In June 2009, CFIA and USDA NOP signed an organic equivalency arrangement. Accordingly, organic products imported from the US to Canada must be accompanied by an attestation confirming that the products are certified organic in accordance with the terms of the US-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement (USCOEA).

Under the terms of the USCOEA, agricultural products derived from animals (except ruminants) must be produced according to the livestock stocking rates specified in CAN/CGSB 32.210-2015 (amended March 2018) in order to be imported and marketed as organic in Canada.

Implementing the policy

  1. Organic poultry and poultry meat products certified only to the USDA NOP requirements cannot be imported as organic into Canada under the terms of the USCOEA and as per the requirements of the SFCR.
  2. In order for these products to enter Canada, they must be imported into Canada as conventional products and cannot be labelled as organic as they do not meet the Canadian livestock stocking rates.
  3. These imported products can only be further processed, treated, preserved, graded, packaged or labelled in Canada for the sole purpose of exporting to the US as USDA NOP certified organic products.
  4. If the establishment also processes organic products certified according to Canadian organic standards the products must be segregated from any other organic products. This segregation will be verified by a CFIA accredited Certification Body.
  5. The final organic product that does not meet the terms of the USCOEA must be certified by a US accredited certification body to the USDA NOP requirements and meet the US labelling requirements.
  6. The final product cannot be sold in Canada as organic or re-imported to Canada for sale as organic.

The timeline for implementing this policy is January 31, 2020.

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