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Labeling Requirements | Export Documents | Critical Variance Verification
You need to enroll in the Global Market Access (GMA) program for Canada if you:
- Export NOP organic products to Canada from the United States or Mexico.
- Export COR organic products to the United States from Canada.
- Design labels for NOP products that will be sold in Canada.
- Design labels for COR products that will be sold in the United States.
- Sell CCOF certified organic products to any buyer who requires international verification certification.
To enroll send a completed GMA application to email@example.com.
Read the complete GMA Manual
US-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement
Operations certified to the National Organic Program (NOP) can ship to Canada and operations certified to the Canadian Organic Regime (COR) can ship to the U.S. through the U.S.-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement (USCOEA). The arrangement recognizes the NOP standards and the COR standards as equivalent, with minor critical variances.
The CCOF GMA program does not include the Canada Mexico Organic Equivalency Arrangement (CMOEA) at this time. If your operation is located in Mexico and you export to Canada, CCOF will review your products to the U.S./Canada equivalence arrangement under the GMA program. If you are located in Canada and are interested in exporting products to Mexico, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requirements for Exports to Canada
- Product from anywhere in the world certified to NOP standards may be shipped to Canada and use the Canadian Organic Logo as long as the critical variances and the arrangement terms are met. See the Critical Variance Verification section below for details on demonstrating compliance to these critical variances.
- Products must be produced without the use of sodium nitrate (Chilean nitrate).
- Products must not be produced using hydroponic or aeroponic methods.
- Livestock products (other than from ruminants) must be from animal systems that meet the stocking rates as set forth in the Canadian Standard (CAN/CGSB 32.310-2006)
- Products outside the scope of the Canadian Organic Regime, such as pet food, personal care products, and natural health products may not be exported to Canada under this equivalence arrangement. More information regarding natural health products can be found here.
- NOP certified products outside the scope of COR may be sold in Canada as NOP certified without additional verification. In these cases, reference to COR is prohibited.
Requirements for Imports into the United States
- Product from anywhere in the world certified to the Canada Organic Regime (COR) standards may be shipped to the United States and use the USDA NOP logo as long as the critical variance and the arrangement terms are met.
- Livestock products must be from animals not treated with antibiotics as attested by supplier certifiers.
Additional Equivalence Arrangement Resources
CCOF has developed a helpful International Market Labeling Guide to explain labeling requirements for organic products sold in Canada. All products shipped to Canada must meet the COR labeling requirements. Use of the COR logo is optional for imported products. If the COR logo is used, additional requirements apply.
Send all labels to CCOF for pre-approval prior to printing.
Download the COR logo and learn more about international labeling requirements by visiting CCOF's Labeling and Logos page and the CFIA Food Labeling for Industry Requirements.
All certified product entering the United States or Canada through the US-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement must be accompanied by an attestation statement issued by the certifying agent confirming compliance with the terms of the arrangement, including meeting the critical variances of the destination country.
CCOF certified operations can obtain the required attestation statement by enrolling in the GMA Program. After CCOF staff verify your product(s) meet the terms of the equivalence arrangement you will be issued a GMA certificate, with the required attestation statement: “Certified in accordance with the terms of the U.S.-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement”.
Provide your GMA certificate and CCOF Organic Certificate with all shipment documentation.
Critical Variance Verification of products entering Canada
All exporters must enroll in the GMA program. However, not every ingredient supplier in the supply chain is required to have COR equivalence listed on their certificate. This section outlines information required to verify critical variances for ingredient suppliers who do not have COR equivalence listed on their certificate.
Ingredients must be produced without the use of sodium nitrate (Chilean nitrate), must not be produced using hydroponic or aeroponic methods, and non-ruminant livestock ingredients must be from animal systems that meet the stocking rates as set forth in the Canadian Standard (CAN/CGSB 32.310). Many crops are not at risk of being grown using one of the production techniques outlined as a critical variance. To ensure the Equivalence Arrangement verification process is as simple and efficient as possible, CCOF has created a list of crops that are at high risk of being grown using one of the prohibited production techniques.
Suppliers of high risk crops: CCOF will accept a supplier self-attestation or certifier verification that the crops were grown without the use of sodium nitrate and/or hydroponic or aeroponic production.
Suppliers of crops not identified as high risk: CCOF will not seek additional documentation that the crops meet the critical variances, a USDA NOP organic certificate is sufficient.
Suppliers of non-ruminant livestock products: All livestock products from non-ruminants, such as eggs from poultry, must be verified as having met the stocking density critical variance. CCOF will accept a supplier self-attestation or certifier verification of this requirement.
Suppliers of ruminant livestock products: CCOF will not seek additional documentation, a USDA NOP organic certificate is sufficient.
High Risk Crops for use of Sodium Nitrate:
- The following cole crops: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi
- Fresh tomatoes
- The following leafy greens: lettuces, escarole, endive, spring mix, spinach, cabbage, kale, arugula, and chard
- Grains grown for livestock feed in the Midwest United States
- Citrus from the Southeast United States
High Risk Crops for Hydroponic or Aeroponic Production:
- Container grown annual crops (excluding annual seedlings)
- Container grown strawberries