US and EU reach organic trade agreement

An agreement has been reached between the U.S. and the European Union that would recognize their organic programs as essentially equivalent. The partnership will allow access to each other’s markets and simplify paperwork for organic producers.

The agreement goes into effect June 1st of this year. Currently, organic growers and companies that wanted to trade products in both the US and Europe were required to obtain separate certifications to the two standards – which doubled fees, inspections and paperwork.

The agreement is equivalent with the exception of prohibiting the use of antibiotics. The USDA bans the use of antibiotics except for controlling invasive bacterial infections (fire blight) in organic apple and pear orchards. EU organic rules only allow antibiotics to treat infected animals. Therefore, all products traded under the new partnership must be certified that no antibiotics were used for any reason.

USDA news release

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