The scheme owner is the European Commission, where the administration of the EU Organic Regulation is assigned to the Organic Unit of the Directorate General Agriculture (DG AGRI), working with the European Parliament and Member State authorities. Regulation (EU) No 2018/848 and its secondary acts, as amended by the EU Commission from time to time, provide the framework of rules for production, processing and marketing of organic products in the EU including imports.
Regulation EU 2018/848 repeals Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and its implementing rules as defined in Council Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 as amended from time to time.
Starting on January 1, 2022, all control bodies with activities outside the EU (whether based there or in the EU) operating certification systems for products destined for EU markets must demonstrate that they implement a control system which has been assessed as compliant with Regulation EU 2018/848 and its secondary acts. Furthermore, these certification systems and the control bodies have to be recognised by the EU Commission. The recognition is for specific scope and countries where the control bodies operate their EU – recognised system.
Certification bodies currently recognised by the EU Commission for equivalence may retain this recognition until complete transition to compliance with Regulation EU 2018/848, or at the very latest by December 31, 2024.
IOAS continues supervision of the currently recognised certification bodies operating outside of the European Union as per Council Regulation (EC) 834/2007, (EC) 889/2008 and (EC) 1235/2008 for the purpose of equivalence assessment until their full transition to compliance.
IOAS offers assessment of the compliance of the certification systems of control bodies against the EU framework, concluding with recommendation whether such system may be recognised.
The European Commission is the ultimate decision maker on whether the control bodies can be recognised.
Detailed information on the EU organic regulations can be found on the EU Commission website.
Control bodies must have valid accreditation to ISO/IEC 17065 for the scope of their EU- certification system and are assessed against the production, control and trade requirements set down in Regulation (EU) No 2018/848 and its secondary acts, as amended by the EU Commission from time to time.
On completion of the assessment, IOAS prepares an assessment report as defined in Regulation EU 2021/1698 Article 1. (2)(i), giving a full description of the control body and its implementation of its certification scheme. This report represents an essential part of the application for recognition, which the control body has to submit to the Organic Unit of DG AGRI of the European Commission and the basis for the decision on recognition of compliance.
Upon recognition of the system of a control body the EU Commission includes the control body in an official list of recognized control bodies, available in Regulation (EU) 2021/2325. This listing states the categories of activity included in the recognition and the countries for which the control body is qualified.
The scope of the European Recognition Programme includes the following categories of activities:
- Unprocessed plants and plant products, including seeds and other plant reproductive material;
- Livestock and unprocessed livestock products;
- Algae and unprocessed aquaculture products;
- Processed agricultural products, including aquaculture products, for use as food;
- Other products listed in Annex I to Regulation EU 848/2018 or not covered by the previous categories.
First steps in accreditation are as follows:
- Complete the standard IOAS application form
The IOAS European Recognition Programme Operating Manual provides full guidance on implementation of this scheme.