The agreement will allow access to each other's markets provided (1) antibiotics were not administered to animals for products entering the United States, and (2) antibiotics were not used to control fire blight in apples and pears for products entering the European Union.

To facilitate trade, the EU and United States have agreed to work together to promote electronic certification of import transaction certificates.

The arrangement is limited to organic products of U.S. or EU origin produced, processed or packaged within these jurisdictions.

Additionally, both programs have agreed to exchange information on animal welfare issues, and on methods to avoid contamination of organic products from genetically modified organisms. General country labeling requirements must still be met.

"On behalf of the U.S. organic industry, OTA extends its sincere appreciation to the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), National Organic Program, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and OTA's U.S.-EU Equivalency Task Force for all their efforts in maintaining and expanding foreign export markets for USDA certified organic products globally.

The results are mutually beneficial arrangements with our major trading partners that uphold the integrity of food grown and labeled as organic," Bushway said.

OTA convened its U.S.-EU Equivalency Task Force in May 2010 to monitor, analyze and discuss emerging issues from organic equivalency discussions between the United States and EU, and directly advised FAS and USTR on the industry's perspective on these negotiations and market potential.

This task force is made up of 34 industry volunteers from across the supply chain, from produce and grain companies to dairy producers and certification agencies.

It is led by OTA's Executive Vice-President Laura Batcha and Jake Lewin of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) as co-chairs, with Bob Anderson (Sustainable Strategies — Advisors in Food & Agriculture) serving as ex officio.

For more information, see OTA's EU-U.S. equivalence Web page ( or USDA's website (