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Directive 09-01: Certification of organic products to the requirements of the Canada/US import-export agreement

Requirements for the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements may apply in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

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Effective date: June 30, 2009
1st Revision

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Canada Organic Regime
1400 Merivale Road
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0Y9

1.0 Purpose and scope

This directive outlines the requirements for the CFIA accredited certification bodies on how to certify to the terms of the Canada/US import export agreement.

2.0 Authority

The Directive was developed respecting the regulatory requirements as per the Organic Products Regulations Section 27(1) (b) and (2). The agreement stipulates that the CFIA-accredited certification bodies shall certify products to the Canadian Organic Standard (CAN/CGSB-32.310-2006, amended October 2008) with one 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 certification bodies certifying to the terms of the Canada/US import export agreement.

4.0 Background

The CAN/CGSB-32.310-2006 (amended October 2008) Section 6.7.6 e) states:

"Antibiotic treatment of dairy animals is permitted in emergencies under the following conditions:

  1. the operator shall have written instructions from a veterinarian indicating the product and the treatment method used
  2. Such treatment shall result in a milk withdrawal time of at least 30 days or two times the specific medication's withdrawal period, whichever is longer"

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

The National Organic Program 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 certification bodies 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 Canada/US import-export agreement. CFIA designated CVBs will be responsible for monitoring the accreditation which includes the certification activities of the accredited CBs.

6.0 Activities

The CFIA-accredited certification bodies 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 Canada/US Agreement (as per 2.0).

7.0 Inquiries

Inquiries concerning this directive should be addressed to the Canada Organic Regime.

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