U.S. import documentation and policies

#Importing into the U.S.

There may be times while sourcing organic ingredients, feed, or products when you need to look to international suppliers. It is critical to understand the regulatory requirements for all imports of certified organic ingredients and feed to comply with international organic trade requirements.

Imports from abroad to the U.S.

Learn more about imports to the U.S. from the following countries/regions: Canada, Mexico, EU, Japan, and Korea.

Tip

#OTCO import policy for high-risk organic products

In 2017, the USDA National Organic Program and several organic certifiers identified instances of fraud, sourcing issues, and/or production issues with imports of organic products — in particular, but not limited to, grains such as corn, soy, and wheat. In response, OTCO has identified and implemented increased scrutiny of products deemed to be at increased risk of misrepresentation as organic.

OTCO intends to prioritize and increase oversight of at-risk products through the following:

  • All OTCO-certified operations importing at-risk products — currently identified as corn, soy and wheat — are subject to OTCO review and approval of the initial three shipments (at minimum) of each supplier prior to the product’s release for sale as organic.
  • OTCO requires acceptable documentation tracing each product import shipment back to the last certified handler prior to approval for sale as organic. Records must assure compliance with USDA NOP regulations and demonstrate a clear chain of custody of the product.

  • OTCO requires the chain of custody records satisfy a complete audit trail back to the certified handler of the product, transaction and/or import certificates, and phytosanitary certificates.

  • OTCO inspectors will ensure this policy is followed during their inspections of an OTCO-certified operation.

#Import certificates

Alert

USDA National Organic Program (NOP) Import Certificates are required to be issued for shipment of products into the U.S. from: the European Union, Japan, Korea, and Switzerland. In addition shipments from India require a transaction certificate issued from TraceNet.

The U.S. established trade partnerships with several countries to facilitate the exchange of organic products internationally. Equivalency agreements between other countries give U.S. organic producers opportunities to access new markets.

#International trade guide for US-based companies

Verification of imports and exports has become increasingly complex as trade in organic products has expanded in the global marketplace. Our quick resource guide provides an overview of the international equivalencies and arrangements in place with the USDA NOP and provides a quick review of the necessary requirements when verifying imports of ingredients or export of finished products certified by OTCO. Additional information can be found on the USDA NOP website.

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