European Union – European Commission Recognition

The CAEQ offers an assessment for the recognition of certification bodies by the EU and the acceptance of organic products exported to the European Union according to requirements specified in the Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007.

What need does address this sub-program?

In order to certify organic products both originating from countries not on the list of EU-Recognized Third Countries and destined to be sold in any EU country, certification bodies (CB) need to apply to European Commission for recognition in order to be included on the List of recognized control bodies and control authorities for the purpose of equivalence or the List of recognized control bodies and control authorities for the purpose of compliance.

Which organizations can apply?

This EU Recognition Sub-program is offered by the CAEQ to any organic certification bodies operating in geographic areas not belonging to EU-Recognized Third Countries (1), whether or not they are EU based.


In order to appear on either list, certification bodies must demonstrate that they operate an equivalent or compliant control system to that required within Europe, through reports supplied by either competent authorities, a national accreditation body with competence in organic agriculture or an international supervisory or accreditation body that is specialized in organic agriculture.

In accordance with Section 5, of the “Guidelines on Imports of Organic Products into European Union”, the CAEQ has the status of an international accreditation body specialized in organic agriculture. It is therefore deemed as a control authority and admissible by the European Commission to provide each applicant CB with all the requested reports intended to support recognition application to the European Commission.

In addition of being compliant with ISO 17011 requirements, the CAEQ has been involved in accreditation of organic CBs for the last ten years and has clients in several countries including EU countries.

What are the actions of CAEQ?

In order to enable the certification body to demonstrate compliance of its certification system with ISO/IEC 17065 requirements, the CAEQ offers formal accreditation with the scope of a private standard from the certification body equivalent to the EU requirements. In the course of the accreditation process, the certification body is provided with the assessment reports prepared by the CAEQ on the document review as well as on the regular on-the-spot evaluation, surveillance and multiannual re-assessment of its activities that are required to maintain recognition.

With regards to standards, the CAEQ has created a database that includes the main national standards allowing performing gap analysis between most of them so as to identify complementary or additional requirements when compared with each other. Consequently, if a certification body is already certifying products to a specific standard and wishes to offer a EU organic certification program to its clients, it will be able to instruct inspectors to verify any complementary or additional requirements to the national standard it uses in order to certify the products against EU standards. It will then be deemed compliant.

If a certification body uses a private standard as the normative base for certifying organic products, the CAEQ can provide on request a report on the results of an equivalence assessment between this standard and the EU standards. Depending on the results of the gap analysis, the certification body could be deemed equivalent.

Since CAEQ specializes in accreditation services for organizations carrying out certification of agricultural and food products, the CAEQ uses only one accreditation reference manual for assessing certification bodies. This accreditation manual contains criteria that correspond to ISO 17065 requirements. In accordance with EU regulation and guidelines published by the European Commission, any certification body seeking recognition from the EU must meet these requirements.

Besides its accreditation services, the CAEQ offer additional services such as Certified Products Database management, Standards comparisons for the purpose of equivalence determination, etc.

Contact without delay the CAEQ who will provide you with the requested reports after your assessment.


References: Regulation EC 834-2007, Regulation EC 889-2008, Regulation EC 1235-2008

European Commission Website

FAQ on organic rules in Europe

(1) Non-EU countries are referred to as ‘Third Countries’. Some Third Countries have been approved by the EU commission as having organic production standards and operating procedures equivalent to those in force in the EU. These are called ‘Approved Third Countries’, please refer to the EU list to know if your country is included.