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Directive 09-01: Certification of organic products to the requirements of the US – Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement (USCOEA)

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Effective date: June 30, 2009
1st Revision: June 1, 2022

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

1.0 Purpose and scope

This Directive outlines the requirements for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) accredited Certification Bodies (CBs) on how to certify to the terms of the US – Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement (USCOEA).

2.0 Authority

The Directive was developed respecting the regulatory requirements as per Part 13 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR).

The agreement stipulates that the CFIA accredited CBs shall certify products to the Canadian Organic Standard (CAN/CGSB-32.310) with 1 exception – agricultural product derived from animals treated with antibiotics shall not be marketed as organic in the United States.

3.0 Application

This directive applies to all CFIA accredited CBs certifying to the terms of the USCOEA.

4.0 Background

The CAN/CGSB-32.310 Section 6.6.10 f) states that in emergencies, antibiotic treatment of dairy animals is permitted under specific conditions.

In the US National Organic Program (NOP), the use or application of antibiotics as medication or growth promoters in dairy animals, whose milk or milk products are intended to be labelled or sold as organically produced, is restricted.

The NOP Section 205.238 c) states:

"The producer of an organic livestock operation must not:

  1. sell, label, or represent as organic any animal or edible product derived from any animal treated with antibiotics"

5.0 Roles and responsibilities

CFIA accredited CBs will be responsible for the application and the administration of this directive. They are responsible for ensuring that products intended for the US market are certified in accordance with the terms of the USCOEA.

CFIA designated Conformity Verification Bodies (CVBs) will be responsible for monitoring the accreditation which includes the certification activities of the accredited CBs.

6.0 Activities

The CFIA accredited CBs are expected to conduct regular on-site inspection using the existing documentation (checklist, etc.) however a new section must be added to the existing checklist to demonstrate accordance with the terms and conditions of the USCOEA (as per 2.0).

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