European Union Exports – US/EU Equivalence Arrangement
Operations located in the United States and certified to the National Organic Program (NOP) can ship to any EU member state through the US/EU Equivalence Arrangement. The arrangement recognizes the NOP standards and the EU organic standards as equivalent, with minor critical variances. The USDA NOP and the European Commission signed the historic organic standards equivalence arrangement on February 15, 2012.
Achieve compliance verification to the US/EU Equivalence Arrangement by enrolling in the Global Market Access (GMA) program for the EU. Send a completed GMA application to email@example.com to enroll in the program!
You need to enroll in the GMA program for the EU if you:
- 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
- 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
Terms of the US/EU Equivalence Arrangement
- Product from the United States certified to NOP standards may be shipped to any European Union member state and use the EU Organic logo as long as the critical variances and the arrangement terms are met.
- Product from the EU that is certified to EU organic standards may be shipped to the United States and use the USDA NOP logo as long as the critical variances and the arrangement terms are met.
- Products must be either produced within the United States or an EU member state, or have final processing or packaging occur within the United States or an EU member state.
- Both the USDA organic seal and the EU organic logo may be used on certified products from either location, in addition to the certifier’s logo.
- Product labels must comply with destination market labeling regulations. Visit our Labeling and Logos page for guidance.
- Exported product from either location must be accompanied by an export certificate.
Critical Variances for Product Entering the EU
- 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. You will need to complete the EU Wine Approval Application in addition to the GMA application.
Critical Variances for Product Entering the United States
- 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.
Exclusions to the US/EU Equivalence Arrangement
- Organic aquatic animals (fish, shellfish) may not be exported from the EU to the United States under this arrangement.
Additional Equivalence Arrangement Resources
EU Labeling Requirements and Use of the EU Logo
CCOF has developed a helpful International Market Labeling Guide to explain labeling requirements for organic products sold in the EU and Switzerland. All products shipped to the EU and Switzerland 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 and learn more about international labeling requirements by visiting CCOF's labeling and logos 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 EU Organic Regulations and Logo use documents.
Exporting from Outside the United States and/or to Switzerland
If you are located outside the United States and plan to ship products directly to the EU, or if you plan to ship directly to Switzerland from any location, you must enroll in CCOF’s International Standard program. All suppliers must also be certified to a program recognized as equivalent or compliant to the EU standards.
See the CCOF International Standard Program Manual and Grower or Handler International Standard Program applications for program requirements and additional details. The manual outlines CCOF's International Standard program and practices, and compliance requirements. The CCOF International Standard Program is a private standard equivalent to EU standards, that focuses on the critical differences in practices, materials, and standards between the USDA National Organic Program and the EU Organic standards.
See the list of operators certified by CCOF to the CCOF International Standard for export to the EU or for export to Switzerland. This list is updated on a monthly basis. You can also find CCOF clients enrolled in the International Standard program in real time by accessing our online directory.
History and Background of the EU Organic Standards
EU Standards and Additional Information
Overview of the EU Standards
This information was compiled by the IFOAM EU Group. All regulation texts are available in their official form and in all European languages. A chronological list of the organic regulation revisions can also be found in the IFOAM EU Group information.
- Commission Regulation 207/93
29 January 1993 - defined the additives, processing aids, and non-organic agricultural ingredients allowed in processed organic foods.
- Commission Regulation 1804/1999
19 July 1999 - set requirements for organic animal production, defining common rules for organic livestock husbandry for the first time.
- Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91
24 June 1991 - on organic production of agricultural products and indications referring thereto on agricultural products and foodstuffs. Official Journal of the European Communities, L198 (22.7.1991), and subsequent amendments.
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 882/2004
29 April 2004 - on official food and feed controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health, and welfare rules. Also referred to as the OFC regulation (Official Food and Feed Control).
- Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007
28 June 2007 - on organic production and labeling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC ) No 2092/91. Official Journal of the European Communities, L189/1 (20.7.2007), 1-23.
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 404/2008
6 May 2008 - amending Annex II to Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 on organic production of agricultural products as concerns the authorization of spinosad, potassium bicarbonate and copper octanoate, and the use of ethylene. Official Journal of the European Communities, L120/8 (7.5.2008), 8-10.
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008
5 September 2008 - laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labeling of organic products with regard to organic production, labeling, and control. Official Journal of the European Communities, L250/1 (18.9.2008), 1-84. Regulation 889/2008 is often referred to as "NIROF" (New Implementing Rules for Organic Farming). On 1 January 2009, Regulation 834/2007 came into force, together with the implementing rules, regulations 889/2008 and 1235/2009.
- Council Regulation 967/2008
29 September 2008 - amending Regulation 834/2007 to delay the introduction of the EU logo.
- Commission Regulation 1235/2008
8 December 2008 - establishing under Regulation 834/2007 the implementing rules for imports from third countries.
- Commission Regulation 1254/2008
15 December 2008 - the first amendment to Regulation 889/2008 allowing use of 100% own-farm conversion feed and festive coloring of eggs, and adding standards for yeast.