Exporting your organic products to the European market

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Are you a producer, processor or exporter of organic products outside Europe? Do you want to market your organic products on the European market in with complete confidence? CERTISYS assists you in this process.

What is your organic activity?

Your farm or business is located outside the European Union (EU). You produce organic plant products or buy organic agricultural raw materials and process them. You wish to have your organic products certified according to the rules applied in the EU in order to export them to the European market.

What information is essential for exporting your organic products to the European market?

The European Commission has established a list of organic audit bodies that it recognises as applying production and audit rules equivalent to those applied in the European Union. This list specifies for which countries and for which product categories these audit bodies are recognised. It is published in Regulation (EU) 1235/2008 Annex IV and is regularly updated.

We are recognised for certification, and support you in the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, RD Congo, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Uganda, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Togo for all unprocessed and processed organic plant products for human consumption.

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1. Find out more

The first step in the certification process is to gather together the necessary information. In our CERTISYS guides and standards (RX2053 and RX2059), you will find the production rules, labelling provisions and control measures for non-EU operators who intend to export to one of the European Union (EU) Member States.

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Chips de mangue

2. Send us the necessary documents to open your file

Send us your activity notification with the description of your project. (OR3347) We will study your application and decide on its admissibility.

A personalised quote will be sent to you according to the applicable tariff and the scale relating to the description of your project. Quotes are based on the estimated time required for auditing and certifying your project.

They systematically include: taking at least one sample and analysing it in an accredited laboratory, the auditor’s accommodation and logistic costs, the costs of certification including its follow-up and the costs of drawing up the certificates.

Once you have approved the quote, send us the signed CERTISYS service contract. An auditor will then contact you to arrange a visit to the various production and processing sites and storage facilities prior to export.

3. Complete your Organic System Plan (OSP)

Prepare your OSP by describing your production system and the measures in place to ensure the proper management of organic production by completing the Organic System Plan document. This is a management plan between you and CERTISYS® that includes descriptions of all aspects of the agricultural production or organic processing. This plan should be established, amended and validated by means of a dialogue between you and us and should be adapted to the particularities of each project.

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4. CERTISYS® carries out an audit of your organic activities

At the end of the visit, the CERTISYS auditor will draw up the audit report and discuss with you the requests for improvement and any shortcomings for which you undertake to take corrective measures within a defined period. You receive a copy of the report after signature by both parties.

5. CERTISYS® certifies your organic project

Following an in-depth study of your file by our certification department, if the outcome is positive, your project is certified. We will issue a certificate with details of your certified organic production. Your certificate will also be immediately available on our website www.certisys.eu.

Each export of certified products to the EU must be accompanied by a batch certificate, which you must apply for via TRACES before the goods leave.

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6. Carry out an annual follow-up of your project

Each year you will be asked to update your ‘Notification‘ and ‘Organic System Plan‘ by informing us of any changes in your project management during the year. You will receive a suitable quotation to continue the audits of your project.

In order to reduce auditing costs, you can operate using an internal audit system set up by a group of producers. In this case, CERTISYS® inspects the internal audit procedures that are in place. The internal audit consists of technical guidance to producers on organic farming (extension system), identification of producers, plots and verification of compliance with organic farming requirements. You can find more information on certification of groups of producers here.

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Organic products imported into the European market must always be accompanied by a batch certificate. You can consult the Regulations in force on this subject (Annex V).  CERTISYS® is also recognised by the Swiss Authorities for the audit of exporters of organic products to Switzerland from the same 12 countries.

It is possible to market wild plants, for example shea, growing spontaneously in natural areas, forests and agricultural areas as organic, provided that:

  • These areas have not been treated for a period of at least three years prior to harvest with products other than those authorised for use in organic production
  • Harvesting does not affect the stability of the natural habitat or the conservation of species in the area concerned
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On the label

The code of the audit body must be mentioned on the label, provided that CERTISYS® is officially recognised as an equivalent body.

The format of the CERTISYS code is as follows: AB-BIO-128

AB should be replaced by the ISO code of the country concerned such as:

  • For Burkina Faso: BF-BIO-128
  • For Senegal: SN-BIO-128
  • For Ghana: GH-BIO-128
  • For Mali: ML-BIO-128

Use of the European logo is optional.

The indication of the agricultural origin of the ingredients is linked to the use of the logo. If the logo is used, the words ‘Non-EU agriculture’ must appear below the reference to the audit body in the same visual field as the logo. On commercial documents

The following information is mandatory:

  • The category of ‘organic’ products
  • The reference to the audit body. E.g.: CERTISYS-BF-BIO-128.
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We treat each case individually. Each one is subject to a personalised quotation. The quote is based on our International tariffs

What is the procedure for your organic audit?

The checks carried out by a CERTISYS auditor include the following:

  • The conformity of the description of the project during the visit to the different production sites, both in terms of the areas cultivated, the origin of the seeds and seedlings, the technical itinerary and the administrative records and traceability of the crops
  • The certificate and the origin of the basic raw materials
  • Storage locations
  • Measures to separate conventional and organic products
  • Recipes and processing procedures
  • Labelling
  • Packaging materials (for Biosuisse only)
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Samples can be taken at any point in the manufacturing process (from soil to the finished product and all intermediate stages) as a matter of routine or if there is any doubt about the conformity of the production method. The analyses are carried out by an independent accredited laboratory. 

At the end of the visit, the CERTISYS® auditor will draw up the audit report and discuss with you the requests for improvement and any shortcomings for which you undertake to take corrective measures within a defined period.

You receive a copy of the report after signature by both parties. The auditor then presents the report to the certification team for a decision and certification.

Each export of certified products to the European Union must be accompanied by a batch certificate. You must submit the request via TRACES before the goods leave.

There are several types of audits:

  • Annual audit: the activity must be audited at least once a year
  • An additional audit may be carried out if your project undergoes significant changes during the year or if we need to obtain additional information. For this purpose, an additional quotation is provided.
  • Unannounced audits based on risk analysis
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What other documents are useful for exporting your organic products to the European market?

Would you like more information?

Contact us