Next week will see the launch of a new system of electronic certificates of inspection for EU imports of organic products from the US and other third countries.
And US certifiers have six months to adapt to the digital system before e-certification becomes compulsory.
On April 19 organic certification will be incorporated into the Trade Control & Expert System (TRACES), the European Union’s existing electronic system for tracking movements of foods products across member states.
Before becoming compulsory on October 19, users can begin to use TRACES, an online management tool facilitating the exchange of information between control authorities, including the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program, and EU trading partners.
The National Organic Program (NOP) is part of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service responsible for developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products, ensuring they meet consistent uniform standards.
“What will happen is that TRACES will become compulsory from October 19, 2017 and the European Commission is working on the full digitalisation of the certificate (certification will be allowed but it will not be exclusive),” a European Commission health and food safety spokesperson tells PBUK.
Currently US exporters must ship organic products and produce with an organic certificate of inspection from a USDA-accredited certifier, but the new update to TRACES will digitalise this process, making it easier for organics to be imported to the EU.
From mid April to the October deadline paper and electronic certificates of inspection will coexist before moving over to complete e-certification.