Canada, Japan expand organic equivalency to meat, livestock

File photo of marbled Japanese beef on display at retail. (ES3N/iStock/Getty Images)

By Glacier FarmMedia staff

Organic meat and other livestock products from Canada can carry certified organic labels in Japan starting July 16.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on July 10 announced an expanded equivalency agreement with Japan for organic foods.

Since September 2014, Canada and Japan have had the Japan-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement (JCOEA) in place recognizing the equivalency of the two countries’ national organic systems, but covering just plants and processed foods of plant origin, such as organic vegetables and tea.

The expanded agreement taking effect July 16 covers livestock products — and processed food products containing livestock ingredients — within the organic-specified scope of the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS).

Those Canadian organic products are covered under the JCOEA and must bear the JAS seal to be sold in Japan, CFIA said. They may also use also use the Canada Organic logo.

Canadian organic products that have a JAS organic standard but are not within the scope of the new arrangement — for example, feed — and are certified by a CFIA-accredited certifying body in Canada will still have access to the Japanese market, but won’t carry the JAS logo.

According to the JAS organic livestock requirements for livestock products and feed, it’s permitted to use imported organic feed from countries that have organic equivalency with Japan for production of organic livestock or of organic feed, only if any suitable organic feed can’t be secured in Japan.

When such organic feed is exported to Japan from Canada, an export certificate issued by a CFIA-accredited certifying body will be required, the agency said.

JAS certified organic livestock and plant products made in Japan, or for which the final processing and packaging occurs within Japan in accordance with the Japanese Organic System, and are certified by a Japanese accredited certification body, can be imported into Canada under this arrangement and are accepted as organic in Canada without further certification.

Other Canadian organic products that are certified by an accredited body in Canada but don’t have a JAS organic standard and still aren’t within the scope of the expanded arrangement — honey, seaweed or alcoholic beverages, for examples — still have access to the Japanese market but won’t bear the JAS logo.