EU Certification Program FAQs
Frequently Asked questions regarding the EU Certification Program
Q: Why does OTCO use a Private Standard rather than certifying directly to the EU regulation?
A: On 1 January 2009 the previous EU Council regulation 2092/91 was replaced with two regulations; EC 834/2007 which provides the rules and standards and EC 889/2008 which goes into more detailed practice standards and which contains the Permitted Substances Lists. Article 33 of 834/2007 is new, it provides for certification bodies operating outside of the EU to be directly evaluated for equivalency. In October 2009 OTCO applied for Equivalency. During that process the EU Commission made it clear that since EC 834 and 889 contain extensive regulatory language applying to EU Member States they were not well suited to operators outside the EU, therefore, certifiers applying for equivalency must evaluate their clients to the standards outlined in 834 and 889 but not to the actual regulations. The ACB EU Equivalency Standard is the combined effort of a number of non-EU Accredited Certification Bodies (ACABs). It retains the pertinent standards language from both regulations and removes the superfluous regulatory language resulting in a more comprehendible document. The requirements of the ACB EU Equivalency Standard have been taken directly from EC 834/2007 and 889/2008. Further explanation can be found in the Introduction (p3) of the ACB EU Equivalency Standard.
Q: What is the advantage of having organic products evaluated for equivalence with the European Organic Standards?
A: The biggest advantage is access to broader markets, domestic as well as international. As the organic community continues to grow, organic producers and manufacturers are accessing new markets in foreign countries. In order to access these buyers you need to be prepared to confirm that your products meet European Organic Standards.
Q: If I sell product only in the US, should my operation still be evaluated for EU equivalence?
Q: What are the main differences between USDA NOP and the EU organic standards?
Q: Will I need an additional inspection to establish EU compliance?
Q: Is equivalence assessment a one-time event?
Q: Does it cost anything to be assessed by OTCO for equivalence with EU organic standards?
Q: Is IFOAM accreditation the same as compliance with the EU organic Standard?
Q: What are the additional advantages of having OTCO issue a Declaration of Compliance with EU organic standards for my operation?
- When marketing, the Declaration can demonstrate your product is ready to satisfy EU markets.
- The Declaration can facilitate the import authorization process with European Customs officials.
- The Declaration will expedite OTCO’s ability to issue Certificates of Inspection for shipments to the EU.
Q: Why does OTCO require all products to be NOP certified in addition to EU equivalent?