The U.S. and Canada have agreed on a “common set of organic principles” and have reached the first-of-its-kind equivalency agreement between the two countries.


Organic food that meets the USDA organic standard can be sold as organic in Canada, and organic food that meets Canada’s national organic regulations that take effect June 30t will be able to sold in the U.S.


Products traded under the agreement may carry both the USDA Organic seal and the Canada Organic Biologique logo.


Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the agreement last week at the All Things Organic Trade Show and Conference in Chicago.

"The production of organic foods is a vibrant growth opportunity for American agriculture, and by agreeing on a common set of organic principles with Canada, we are expanding market opportunities for our producers to sell their products abroad," said Merrigan. "Today's agreement between the world's two largest organic trading partners is an important first step towards global harmonization of organic standards."
The USDA press release about the agreement offers some facts about organic trade between the U.S. and Canada:
  • Canada is the largest estimated export market for U.S. organic products.
  • It’s estimated that more than 80 percent of Canada’s organics come from imports and 75 percent of those imports come from the U.S.
  • The majority of organic goods exported from the U.S. to Canada are produce and processed foods.
  • The total market for organics is Canada is estimated to be between $2.1 and $2.6 billion.
This trade agreement must come as good news to the many U.S. organic farmers who are struggling, along with everyone else, in this weakened economy.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

First step towards global harmonization of organic standards
The U.S. and Canada have reached a first-of-its-kind agreement that allows trade of organic food between the two countries.