Published: February 8, 2021

Category: Organic News

Indian organic exporters to the U.S. must now be USDA-NOP certified

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) recently ended its Organic Recognition Agreement with India due to concerns over the organic integrity of Indian products coming to the United States.

In announcing the change on its website, NOP said: “Currently, USDA does not have direct visibility or enforcement authority over many organic certifiers and operations in India that sell into the U.S. market. USDA has determined that we need a more active oversight presence in India to more directly protect organic integrity.”

The NOP’s Organic Recognition Agreement with India, which was established in 2006, recognized organic certifiers accredited with India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

With the change, Indian organic exporters that want to sell to the U.S. must now apply for certification with a USDA-accredited certifier. This certification must be completed by July 12, 2022.

Last October, an investigation by the Global Organic Textile Standard identified 20,000 metric tons of cotton from India that was fraudulently certified as organic.

In a statement, the Organic Trade Association praised the NOP’s decision. “The Organic Trade Association supports USDA’s decision to end its Organic Recognition Agreement with India and transition to a more active oversight approach. It is critical in international trade agreements that foreign governments have sufficient oversight, accreditation, compliance and enforcement control in place to ensure that their organic requirements are applied and enforced. Integrity in organic is our highest priority, and ensuring that all equivalency and recognition agreements are based on systems of comparable rigor and standards is key to maintaining that integrity.”

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Organic & Non-GMO Insights February 2021