The U.S. and Canada signed an agreement yesterday recognizing each country's organic standards as "equivalent." Although differences do exist (notably the allowed use of sodium nitrate in greater amounts in Canada) many feel this is a step in the right direction—toward shared global organic standards. It's likely both countries will benefit from expanded market opportunities. According to the Organic Consumers Association:
Under equivalency, producers certified to NOP regulations by a USDA accredited certifying agent do not have to double-certify to the Canadian organic standards in order to meet Canadian labeling requirements when exporting to the Canadian market. Similarly, Canadian producers certified to Canadian organic standards by a CFIA accredited certifying body will be deemed equivalent to the NOP to meet the labeling requirements of the U.S. market when selling to the U.S.
Earlier this year, the Organic Trade Association spoke out in favor of a U.S.-Canada organic equivalency. "Canadian consumers will definitely benefit from this, and will continue to enjoy quality year-round organic products from the United States," said Matthew Holmes, managing director, OTA in Canada. "At the same time, Canadian farmers and manufacturers will be able to certify to our organic standards without having to take on additional, redundant certifications to sell into the United States-so everybody wins."