European Recognition Programme

Certification organisations or control bodies operating outside of the EU member states are now required (from January 1, 2009) to demonstrate that they operate a compliant or equivalent control system to that required within Europe.

Such recognition may be achieved on a country basis in which nominated certification organisations are recognised or has to achieved by individual bodies. The IOAS can assist with the latter.

The IOAS now offers three options to comply with the regulation EC 834/2007of June 2007 as follows:

  1. Accreditation against ISO65 and full compliance with regulation 2092/91 (Article 32 of 834/2007)

  2. Accreditation against ISO65 with a separate equivalence assessment of standards (Article 33 of 834/2007)

  3. Assessment of equivalence against both ISO65 and standards (Article 33 of 834/2007)

Option 1 can be considered under IOAS accreditation against ISO/IEC 65. EU Commission officials have cautioned that this option is unlikely to be accepted for control bodies operating outside of the EU member states. This includes EU-based control bodies with activity outside of EU member states.

Option 2 requires entry into two IOAS programmes; a formal accreditation against ISO/IEC Guide 65 and the separate EU equivalence assessment programme. The reason for this is explained here.

Option 3 requires entry solely in to the EU equivalence assessment programme.

All options are implemented in a similar manner and cost much the same, the important difference being whether the certification body must be compliant (fully in option 1) or equivalent (option 3). Option 2 requires compliance against ISO65 but equivalence against the requirements of the regulation. Options 1 and 2 result in formal accreditations and a certificate. Option 3 is not a formal accreditation and no claims of accreditation can be made. Options 2 and 3 result in an expert report to the certification organisation which can be used as the basis for the application to the Commission to enter on a list of equivalent control bodies.

The European Recogntion Programme of IOAS is operated in the same way as a formal accreditation but equivalence judgements are made using the Codex Guidelines for the Production, Processing, Labelling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods (CAC/GL 32)?

The detailed rule on imports from third countries into the EU was published as (EC) 1235/2008 on December 8, 2008 and makes clear that? continuing recognition status will require full surveillance as for accreditation. A guidance document '

Guidelines on imports of organic products into the European Union' were published by the Commission in December 2008 and contain important information on.

  • Application for recognition as a complaint or equivalent control body

  • Indication of bodies recognised for writing assessment reports (including 'an international supervisory or accreditation body that is specialised in organic agriculture')

  • Annual reporting

  • Group certification

  • Operator lists and communication

  • Management of irregularities and infringements

For the most up to date understanding of the new system, go to our questions and answer page.

Any questions, please contact David Crucefix, IOAS Assistant Executive Director.