Last week, a deal was agreed between the US and Europe to share organic certification. It marks a very positive development in expanding organic agriculture.
From June 1, goods certified as organic by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) or by European Union’s Agriculture and Regional Development department, can be sold in either region. The deal should open up a number of opportunities for farmers and businesses.
Dacian Cioloş, the EU’s agriculture commissioner, and Kathleen A. Merrigan, deputy secretary at the USDA, wrote about the agreement in the Guardian.They said the partnership “establishes a strong foundation from which we will promote organic agriculture and benefits to the organic industry on a global scale.”
They explained that, currently, additional certification is needed for goods branded as organic in the US to be sold in the EU, and vice versa. They said the partnership “recognises that the EU and the US have credible organic certification systems and that we share common perspectives about what constitutes the production of organic products.”
The Soil Association awards organic certification to farms and businesses in the UK and welcomes the partnership. Because of reduced restrictions, Amie Johns, the Soil Association’s certification quality manager, expects “an increase in trade of organic ingredients and products”.
Christine Bushway, executive director and CEO of the US based Organic Trade Association (OTA), said, “This monumental agreement will further create jobs in the already growing and healthy US organic sector, spark additional market growth, and be mutually beneficial to farmers both in the United States and European Union as well as to consumers who choose organic products”.
In the US, the sale of organic produce is predicted to continue increasing. But in the UK, the sale of organic food and drink has slumped, with consumers shifting their focus to ethical food and products, which have seen increased sales, according to the Co-operative.
If you are interested in becoming more ethical about what you buy, we recommend using the Ethical Superstore, which makes it that bit easier to source products that are good for producers and better for the environment.