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U.S. and Canada Sign Organic Pact

Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency signed an agreement of organic equivalency at the All Things Organic Conference and Trade Show in Chicago in mid-June.

The agreement calls for each country to accept, in general, the other’s organic standards, meaning U.S. producers can sell U.S.-certified organic products as organic in Canada and vice-versa.

“Today’s agreement between the world’s two largest organic trading partners is an important first step toward global harmonization of organic standards,” said Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of agriculture for the U.S.

The U.S. organic-product market is estimated at $24.6 billion in 2008; the Canadian, about one-tenth of that at between $2.1 and $2.6 billion. The combined market grew about 17 percent in 2008 over 2007, according to the Organic Trade Association of Sackville, New Brunswick.

Neither nation’s standards address pet food specifically, but the U.S. National Organic Standards Board has recommended that the USDA’s National Organic Program formally write rules based on its pet food task force’s 2006 interim report.

The Canada Organic Product Regulation standards, which went into effect June 30, also agree generally with the U.S. task force’s recommendations. <HOME>

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