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Healthy Eating

Entries in organic labeling (1)

Friday
Jan032014

Organic Produce From The U.S and Japan Now Has Equal Status With New Trade Agreement

If your New Year’s resolution was to start eating healthier, then a new agreement between the United States and Japan has just helped broaden your healthy eating options.

Image courtesy of mnn.com.

The trade agreement, which went into effect on the first of the year, gives equal exchange status for organic produce between both countries.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that the new agreement will streamline the trade process, reduce bureaucracy, and increase year-round access to more diverse organic produce for consumers in both countries.

The USDA said that prior to the equivalency agreement, organic farmers and businesses that wanted to sell products in either country had to obtain separate certifications to meet each country’s organic standards.

This typically meant two sets of fees, inspections, and paperwork. The new trade agreement reduces costs, providing more access for producers and more buying options for consumers.

The new equivalency agreement specifically relates to plant and fungi-based products. This agreement is only for products that were either produced within the U.S. or Japan, or products whose final processing or packaging occurred within either country.

For U.S. organic imports, the produce will be required to meet Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS) for organic certification and meet all USDA organic labeling requirements (including compliant use of the USDA organic seal). Organic produce will also need to travel with a U.S. import certificate signed by a certified agent accredited by the USDA or Japanese government.

Likewise, for Japanese organic imports, the produce will need to be USDA organic certified and meet all Japanese organic labeling requirements (including compliant use of the JAS organic seal).

There are though some differences in this agreement. Non-JAS eligible products, such as meat, dairy, and alcoholic beverages that are certified organic by the USDA can still continue to enter the Japanese market as organic, but can’t use the JAS seal.

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