Information for third country control bodies
Organisations that assess and inspect organic producers or distributors from non-EU countries can apply to be recognised as control bodies by the European Union. This allows them to certify that products intended for import into the EU are produced organically.
There are set criteria for the recognition of control bodies that have to be met if an application is to be successful. Additionally, there is a standardised procedure for recognition.
The European Commission provides a number of documents in order to aid prospective recognised control bodies in preparing their applications. These include guidelines on how to present your application and a list of necessary supporting documents.
The European Commission may request additional documents after an application has been submitted. The application must be made through the Organic farming information system (OFIS). Access to the platform for submission of requests for the recognition of control authorities and control bodies for the purpose of equivalence is reopened until 30 June 2021.
Adding countries or products to your scope
It is possible for control bodies to expand their scope of recognition to include new products or countries.
In order to do this they must provide updated information to the Commission detailing:
- information about which new products and/or countries they wish to add to their scope (number of operators you expect to act as control bodies for and volume of imports);
- confirmation that the authorities of the third country have been informed of your intended activities;
- an assessment by your authorisation body to check the expertise of your inspectors.
Control bodies wanting to expand their scope to include new products must also include:
- a witness audit report by your accreditation body for the product category applied for and this must be carried out in the country that you wish to export from.
All information regarding a change to your scope should be entered through OFIS.
Obligations of control bodies/authorities
Recognised control bodies have to fulfil the following requirements to maintain their recognition:
- ensure the information related to your recognition by the Commission is up-to-date, in particular the contact point and contact information;
- maintain an accurate online list of operators under your control including their certification status and the product categories covered;
- submit an annual report by 28 February through the Organic farming information system (OFIS);
- conduct an investigation into any suspected irregularities concerning a product; you must inform the Commission and European countries of the conclusions from the investigation within 30 days of being notified of an irregularity.