European Union Exports and Imports
If you would like to export organic products to any EU member state, CCOF can help. On February 15, 2012, the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) and the European Commission signed a historic organic standards equivalency arrangement.
Under the terms of this agreement:
- Product from the United States that is certified to NOP standards may be shipped to European Union member states and use the European Organic logo if the critical variance is met and product is shipped along with a Certificate of Inspection.
- Product from the EU that is certified to EU organic standards may be shipped to the United States and use the USDA NOP logo if the final processing occurred in the EU, the critical variance is met, and product is shipped along with a Certificate of Inspection.
- Any products that are certified to the NOP standards and have final packaging or processing in the United States are not required to become certified to European standards. Likewise, organic products from Europe certified to European standards may be recognized as organic in the U.S. and bear the USDA organic seal.
- Both the USDA organic seal and the EU organic logo may be used on certified products from both countries, in addition to the certifier’s logo.
You need to enroll in the Global Market Access (GMA) program for the EU if you do any of the following:
- Want to maximize market opportunities and ensure your products will be accepted by most foreign markets and buyers.
- Export CCOF certified organic products to the EU from the United States.
- Grow apples or pears, or make products containing apples or pears, that are exported to the EU or used in products exported to the EU.
- Produce wine that may be exported to the EU.
- Design labels for products that will be sold in the EU.
- Sell CCOF certified organic products to any buyer who requires international verification certification.
Learn more about the CCOF Global Market Access program.
Additional Equivalency Arrangement Information:
EU Labeling Requirements and Use of the EU Logo (back to top)
CCOF has developed a helpful EU Labeling Guide to explain labeling requirements for organic products sold in the EU. All products shipped to the EU under the U.S.-EU Organic Equivalency Arrangement must meet the EU labeling requirements. Send all labels to CCOF for approval prior to printing. To learn more, read the EU Commission's Organic logo and labeling information.
Download the EU logo by visiting CCOF's logo download page. Use of the EU logo is optional for imported products. If the EU logo is used, additional requirements apply.
Operations utilizing the EU logo are strongly encouraged to review the following:
Would you like to import EU organic products or ingredients? EU organic products sold in the United States must meet the following requirements:
- Wine must meet USDA NOP production and labeling requirements, as verified by the supplier’s certifier.
- Livestock products must be produced without antibiotics, as verified by the supplier’s certifier.
- Products must travel with an import certificate that has been completed by an EU-accredited certifying agent.
- Products must be either produced within an EU member state or have had final processing or packaging occur within the EU.
- Products must meet USDA NOP labeling requirements.
Information for U.S. Operations Shipping Products to the European Union (back to top)
Export Requirements & Critical Variances (back to top)
Any NOP-certified product sold as organic in European Union member states must meet the following:
- Apples and pears must be produced without antibiotics.
- Wine may not contain any non-organic grapes and must be produced using only the winemaking practices and substances detailed in the EU Organic regulations EEC 203/2012.
- Products must travel with an EU Certificate of Inspection completed by a USDA-accredited certifying agent.
- Products must be either produced within the United States or have had final processing or packaging occur within the United States.
- Products must meet European labeling requirements.
Verifying Compliance with U.S.-EU Organic Equivalency Arrangement (back to top)
Additional verification is ONLY required for wine, apples, and pears, or products using apple or pears as ingredients.
- CCOF-certified operations must be enrolled in the CCOF GMA program if their apples or pears, or products produced from apples or pears, are to be directly exported to the EU, or sold to a buyer that may export them to the EU.
- If apples or pears are exported or used as ingredients, CCOF-certified operations must maintain documentation from the supplier’s certifier that antibiotics were not used in production of that product.
- If wine is to be directly exported or sold to a buyer that may export them to the EU, CCOF-certified operations must be enrolled in the CCOF GMA program.
- If wine is brokered and exported, CCOF-certified operations must maintain documentation from the winery’s certifier that the wine meets EU winemaking requirements.
Organic aquatic animals (fish, shellfish) may not be exported from the EU to the United States under this arrangement.
You must enroll in CCOF’s GMA program to ensure appropriate label review and product verification if you would like to export to the EU. CCOF will issue export documents for products that meet the terms of the U.S.-EU Equivalency Arrangement without the need for import licenses. For additional information on exporting, check out our exporter guidance information.
Information for Operations Located Outside the United States and/or selling to Switzerland (back to top)
Any operation or portion of an operation that is located outside the United States AND ships products directly to the EU must enroll in CCOF’s International Standard program. Additionally, because Switzerland is not an EU member state, operations that wish to export directly to Switzerland must enroll in the International Standard program. All suppliers must be certified to a program recognized as equivalent by CCOF. We will issue export documents for products that are in compliance with the International Standard program, without the need for import licenses.
See the CCOF International Standard Program Manual and information on international programs. The manual details CCOF's International Standard program and the practices and procedures that must be met by CCOF operators in order to ship directly to the EU from outside the United States, or to ship directly to Switzerland. CCOF has compared EU and Swiss standards to the USDA National Organic Program. CCOF has included details on critical differences in practices, materials, or standards in our International Standard program applications, manual, and inspection reports.
See the list of operators certified by CCOF to the CCOF International Standard for export to the EU. This list is updated on a monthly basis. Or find CCOF clients who are enrolled in the International Standard program in real time by accessing our online directory and using the advanced search to find clients in the “International Standard” program.