Overview: Canada – South Korea Organic Equivalency Arrangement (CSKOEA)
On October 31, 2023, Canada and South Korea entered into an arrangement recognizing the national organic systems as equivalent. The arrangement applied to processed organic products whose final processing and handling occurs within South Korea or Canada.
1 South Korea's Import Requirements
1.1 Canadian organic products covered under CSKOEA
Canada has signed an organic equivalence arrangement with South Korea. This means that, as long as the terms of the arrangement are met, certified processed organic products in South Korea or in Canada may be sold as organic in either country. The CSKOEA scope covers only CAN/CGSB 32.310 and CAN/CGSB 32.311. Organic products certified under CAN/CGSB 32.312 are excluded from the scope of the CSKOEA.
Starting November 1, 2023, Canadian processed organic products meeting the definition of "processed food" as defined in the Korean Food Code, contain at least 95 percent organic content, and have their final processing and handling in Canada can to be sold in South Korea under the following conditions:
- will be a paraffin-free beekeeping product or a product that does not contain beekeeping products made with paraffin as an ingredient;
- do not contain ingredients derived from agricultural products produced using growth regulators;
- may be subject to the residue testing requirements, including testing for prohibited substances and methods (prohibited under CAN/CGSB 32.310 pesticides, irradiation and genetically modified organisms), and with subsequent regulatory actions, in accordance with Article 23-2 and Article 31 of the Korean Organic Food Act.
Korean Food Code definition of "Processed food":
"Processed food" means foods manufactured, processed and packaged by: adding food or food additives to food ingredients (agricultural, forest, livestock, or fishery products, etc.); transforming into unrecognizable forms (grinding or cutting, etc.); mixing such transformed ones; or adding food or food additives to such mixture. However, this excludes the agricultural/forest/animal/fishery products that are simply cut, peeled, salted, ripened, or heated (except for the purpose of pasteurization or where such treatment causes significant changes to the ingredients) without using food additives or other ingredients, to the extent that their original forms can still be recognized; provided that during such process, there are no concerns about sanitary risks and that the quality of food can be identified organoleptically."
Processed fruit/vegetable product refers to products made by manufacturing/processing fruits, vegetables or mushrooms as main ingredients; or adding food or food additives to such products and processing them.
Frozen fruits, such as blueberries, strawberries, etc. that have had their tops removed, washed and hermetically packaged for consumers' immediate consumption without a washing/heating/cooking process are classified as processed fruit/vegetable.
On a side note, fruits that have been washed, cut, dried and packaged for consumers' immediate consumption without a washing/heating/cooking process are also considered as processed fruit/vegetable.
Korea's Guidance for Classification of Processed Food Products
- Classification by addition of food or food additive: Products that have another food or additive added to them.
- Classification by processing: Products that have undergone a processing step as defined above.
- Classification by concern over possible hazards: Minimally processed products that can be consumed right away without cleansing, cooking, etc.
Canadian or imported organic ingredients can be used in processed products processed, packaged and labelled in Canada. Also, organic products which are imported into Canada from a third country with which Canada has an equivalency arrangement, and are then processed, packaged and labelled in Canada, can be exported under this recognition.
Canadian organic products exported to South Korea under the CSKOEA must be accompanied by
by a valid organic certificate issued by a CFIA accredited Certification body and a National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service (NAQS) Import Certificate of organic processed foods issued by a CFIA-accredited CB that attests to compliance with the terms of this arrangement.
The NAQS import certificate is in an electronic format. CFIA accredited certification bodies must register and create their own accounts in the eNAQS Import Certificate System to issue eNAQS import certificates.
Registered CBs can use their account to generate eNAQS import certificate to certified operations that will export organic products to South Korea.
1.2 Canadian organic processed products outside the scope of the CSKOEA
All certified products under the Canada Organic Regime that are not within the scope of this arrangement (for example, unprocessed organic products), can be imported and sold in South Korea as long as they are certified by a NAQS accredited Certification body under the Korean Organic Food Act.
1.3 South Korea's Labelling Requirements
All organic products covered in this arrangement and imported into South Korea must comply with the South Korea's labelling requirements and may display the Korea Organic Logo, or the Canada Organic Logo, or both.
All certified products under the Canada Organic Regime must comply with Part 13 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR).including labelling requirements for the use of the Canada Organic logo.
2 Canada's Import Requirements
2.1 South Korea organic products covered under CSKOEA
In the letter from Canada to South Korea, Canada has acknowledged that, pursuant to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act and the Safe Food For Canadians Act, processed organic products whose final processing and handling occurs within Korea are a deemed equivalent to those products that have been produced and handled in accordance with Part 13 of the SFCR.
These organic products can contain organic ingredients originating from South Korea or imported under an equivalency arrangement. Organic products which are imported under an equivalency arrangement and are then processed, packaged and labelled under South Koreas' Organic System can be exported under this recognition.
South Korean organic products exported to Canada under the CSKOEA must be accompanied by a valid organic certificate issued by a NAQS accredited Certification body and a CFIA Export Certificate for organic processed foods issued by a NAQS accredited Certification body that attests to compliance with the terms of this arrangement.
The CFIA Export Certificate template and the instructions for completing the certificate will be provided to the NAQS accredited Certification body by NAQS.
2.2 South Korean organic agricultural products outside the scope of the CSKOEA
All certified products under Korean Organic Food Act that are not covered by the CSKOEA (for example, unprocessed organic products) can be imported and sold in Canada as organic as long as they are certified to the Canadian Organic Standards by a CFIA accredited Certification Body.
2.3 Canada's Labelling Requirements
All South Korean organic products covered under this arrangement imported into Canada must meet Canadian labelling requirements and may bear the Canada Organic logo.
All foods imported to Canada must meet the regulatory requirements under the Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulationsand theFood and Drug ActandRegulations.
View Canadian labelling requirements.
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