Baltimore, MD—Products certified organic in the United States will now be accepted as such in Japan, and vice versa, per an agreement between the countries. The new organic equivalency agreement was announced at a ceremony at the All Things Organic conference, during Natural Products Expo East.
As of January 1, 2014, certified organic products will be able to be traded freely between the United States and Japan. The agreement includes a recognition of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) as equivalent to the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS) and the Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF) Organic Program. This is the first organic equivalency arrangement without any exceptions based on one country’s own organic standards (some additional requirements are imposed on U.S. organic products entering Canada, for instance). Both nations will require the accredited organic certifier to be identified on product labels.
Officials have similar hopes to those held at the outset of other organic equivalency agreements with Canada and the European Union. They believe the arrangement will open up the Japanese consumer market to U.S. organic producers as well as create jobs and opportunities for farmers.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2013 (online 10/2/13)