Guidelines for the issue of organic produce certificates to all markets




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guidelines for the issue of

organic produce certificates to all markets



Issued by the Department of Agriculture Export Organic Program – May 2014

Overview


  1. This guideline provides information to help facilitate:

    1. the completion of Organic Produce Certificates (OPC) by exporters; and

    2. the issue of OPCs by certifying officers in Approved Certifying Organisations.

  2. The Approved Certifying Organisations issue OPCs on behalf of department, for organic and bio-dynamic produce (as defined under the Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders) exported from Australia. This certification provides assurance to the importing country that the product has been produced in accordance with Australia’s organic export system (including export legislation, National Standard, Administrative Arrangements and importing country requirements.

  3. The export of certified organic produce can be undertaken via:

        1. The department export system - all products must be made in accordance with the National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce1; or

        2. A conformity assessment arrangement between a certifying organisation and the relevant importing country authority for certified product which is made strictly in accordance with the requirements of the approving overseas country. Products under this system must not be traded with other countries unless prior approval2 by department has been given.

Organic Produce Certificates


  1. There are three types of Organic Produce Certificates:

    1. Organic Produce Certificate EX1399, for all countries other than those within the European Union and Switzerland.

    2. Certificate of Inspection for Import of Products from Organic Production into the European Community EX11300 (EU), for European member state countries only.

The member states of the EU include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (includes Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion Island, French Guiana [Cayenne], St Pierre and Miquelon, Mayotte, and French Southern Territories), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (includes Canary Islands and Gibraltar), Sweden and United Kingdom

    1. Swiss Confederation Import Certificate (Swiss) for the import of organic farming products to Switzerland.

  1. Approved certifying organisations, exporters / operators should first confirm importing country requirements prior to the export of Australian certified organic produce.

  2. Only Australian products which have been certified to the National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce or a conformity assessment system by approved certifying organisation are eligible to be listed on an OPC.

  3. Any local or overseas products that are certified under a private or other Standard are not eligible for an OPC.

  4. Certified imported organic ingredients used in the manufacture of Australian made goods must be substantially transformed to be eligible for certification on an OPC.

  5. The organic produce certificates are available in an electronic format and thus capable of being transferred via email. OPCs must not be signed electronically by an operator or approved certifying organisation unless it has been approved or is expressly permitted by an importing country authority. A code/cipher system must be developed by the approved certifying organisation for uniquely identifying each organic produce certificate.

  6. OPCs are accountable Government documents and each certifying organisation must document and implement a system for the use and reconciliation for organic produce certificates, and system for providing monthly reports to the department via email. These requirements will be assessed.

  7. The department must receive and maintain records relating to organic produce certificates and exports. This includes cancelled or damaged certificates. The end-of-month report format must detail each organic produce certificate including exporter and importer details, country of destination, type and quantity of goods exported, consignment departure and arrival dates and the date on which the certificate was signed and the stamp of the approved certifying organisation applied. The format for these monthly reports must be in MS Excel or MS word, or other program capable of being converted to one of these software programs.

Issuing OPCs


  1. The Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders clause 1.05 states that “export of organic produce is prohibited unless an Organic Produce Certificate has been issued under these orders for the produce.”

  2. Certificates must be issued prior to the consignment (to which the certificate relates), departs Australia. In the case of produce destined for the European Union the EU OPC must accompany the goods to the premises of the first consignee.

Note: Conditions relating to export documentation requirements may change without notice. It is advisable therefore that exporters and approved certifying organisations are fully conversant with the importing country requirements prior to issuing documentation.

OPC to be completed and returned to the approved certifying organisation for issue

  1. Only certified products that are “Product of Australia”3 or “Made in Australia”4 can be issued with an OPC. No OPC must be issued for products produced or manufactured in / or exported from countries other than Australia.

  2. All relevant sections / fields of the OPC must be completed by the certified operator or exporter as per the instructions in Attachments 1, 2 and 3 and returned to the approved certifying organisation for verification before the consignment is shipped.

Note: After all information has been added to the OPC by the exporter; any blank areas remaining on the certificate should be ruled out to avoid any additional information being added after issue. Thereafter, the certificate shall be forwarded to the approved certifying organisation for signing and stamping following verification.

  1. Upon receipt of the completed OPC, the certificate is signed and dated by an authorised person from the approved certifying organisation.

Note: An OPC can only be issued by approved certifying organisation if it is completed in full and signed by the certified operator / exporter first.

Note: OPCs must not be backdated. If non-compliance is confirmed the department will apply sanctions, such as suspending the right to issue official certification, to the approved certifying organisation.

Completing Organic Export Certificates


  1. The description of the commodity and consignment to which the certificate relates must be clearly identified using lot identifier or date coding. The description area of an OPC should contain full description details including product description (name, size, and quantity), batch numbers, expiry / best before dates, container numbers / marks, total number of packages and total weight of each item.  As batch numbers cannot be stamped on fresh produce, operator identification of the produce needs to be used in the description area for reconciliation purposes.

  2. Where produce requires export documentation under other Export Control Orders - such as Meat, Dairy, Fish, Eggs, Horticulture or Grain products - information relating to export documentation such as Notice of Intention, Health / Export Certificates and / or Request for Permit (RFP) must be recorded in the area designated for ‘related certification’. See Attachment 1 for more details.

  3. Where there is related export documentation, the details on the OPC must match the product type, product units, weights, product codes etc. See Attachment 1 for more details.

Alterations to an OPC


  1. All information on the OPC must be legible – preferably typed.

  2. The approved certifying organisation’s representative must not issue an OPC that is illegible.

  3. The approved certifying organisation’s representative must not issue an OPC that contains alterations. The approved certifying organisation’s representative must not issue an OPC where the details are not clear. The use of correction fluid (i.e. white out) is prohibited.

  4. If an OPC is received with alterations or corrections, the certifying organisation must mark the OPC as ‘cancelled’ and request the exporter to complete a replacement certificate. The cancelled certificate should be kept by the certifying organisation and be documented by the certifying organisation. If an OPC has been issued by a certifying organisation, the exporter or other responsible person must not alter the information contained thereon. The exporter should ensure that the issued OPC is accurate before using it for export. If there is an error, a replacement OPC can be issued by the certifying organisation prior to export.

  5. An approved certifying organisation may issue a “replacement” OPC where the details of the export have changed and the OPC returned to the approved certifying organisation. The returned OPC must be cancelled before issuing the replacement OPC. Replacement OPCs must have the following statement on them “Issued as a replacement for OPC ######.” The cancelled certificate should be kept by the certifying organisation and be documented by the certifying organisation. A replacement certificate can only be issued where the consignment has not yet departed Australia. If a consignment has left Australia an OPC can be cancelled, however a replacement certificate cannot be issued without approval from the certifying organisation.

Issuing of OPCs


  1. An OPC must be issued by an approved certifying organisation prior to the consignment being exported from Australia. All products intended for export must be listed on the OPC.

  2. The use of attachments is not permitted. Where all items do fit onto an OPC, the use of multiple certificates for single consignments is the Department’s protocol. The Program will consider, on a case by case basis, requests to allow the use of attachments for particular consignments. No attachments to OPCs are permitted unless prior written approval has been given by the department for that consignment.

  3. Where multiple OPCs are used for a single consignment, the related OPC numbers should be identified in the related certification box of each OPC. For example if OPCs 11000, 11001 and 11002 were all used for one consignment, the related certification box of:

  • 11000 would say “Page 1 of 3 refer to OPCs 11000, 11001 & 11002”

  • 11001 would say “Page 2 of 3 refer to OPC 11000, 11001 & 11002”

  • 11002 would say “Page 3 of 3 refer to OPC 11000, 11001 & 11002”.

  1. If the approval is given to use attachments, it must be clear that the attached pages constitute a single certificate. This is managed through each page being identified with the same unique certificate number and pages being numbered (such as 1 of 2) and each page being initialed and stamped by the certifying organisation.

Rejecting / Cancelling an OPC


  1. An OPC that does not meet the requirements for export or contains any errors or is incomplete must be rejected and then cancelled by the approved certifying organisation.

  2. A rejected / cancelled OPC should be marked ‘cancelled’ and be documented by the certifying organization.

  3. A decision on why this action was taken must be documented by the approved certifying organisation and kept with the cancelled copy of the OPC.

Approved certifying organisations returning issued OPCs


  1. When an approved certifying organisation has signed and stamped an OPC, they will return the original copy to the exporter operator that will ensure this “issued” OPC is used to facilitate the export of the consignment.

Note: In the case of product to the EU, the original certificate must accompany the consignment at the port of entry.

Return of an issued OPC by the exporter where an export has been cancelled


  1. Any cancelled exports where an OPC has been issued will require the OPC to be cancelled and returned to the approved certifying organisation within 7 days of cancellation. The certifying organisation will then retain the copy for their records and document the details in the register.

Specific market access requirements


  1. Some of our trading partners have specific requirements relating to exports of organic product from Australia,

Japan – exports are listed on an Ex1399 OPC.

  1. Under Australia’s equivalence arrangement with Japan, exports are for plant and plant products only.

  2. OPCs must have the departmental address in the bottom left hand corner of the ‘Description of produce’ section of the OPC for plant and plant products only.

  3. Organic products exported to Japan under the equivalence arrangement that have not had the JAS-mark applied to the label in Australia can only be exported to JAS organic certified importers in Japan.

  4. OPCs issued for organic exports under a conformity assessment agreement (i.e. products other than plant and plant products) must not have the departmental address on the OPC.

Taiwan – exports of all certified product are listed on an Ex1399.

  1. OPCs must not be issued for offal and bone exports.

  2. OPCs must contain full description details including product description (name, size, and quantity), batch numbers, expiry / best before dates, container numbers / marks, total number of packages and total weight of each item. As batch numbers cannot be stamped on fresh produce, operator identification of the produce needs to be used in the description area for reconciliation purposes, other description details may be required.

  3. Taiwan has a nil tolerance to residues.

European Union – exports of certified product to the EU are detailed on the Ex11300 Certificate of Inspection (i.e. EU OPC). The export of livestock or livestock products is under a prior approval process with the EU authority. Exports to the EU must be

  • Physically inspected / verified by approved certifying organisation or a risk assessment process is undertaken for each consignment prior to signing and stamping of the Ex11300 EU OPC; (see AQIS Notice 2011/9 for details)

  • listed on an Ex11300 EU OPC which must be completed and issued prior to departure; and

  • the Ex11300 EU OPC must accompany the consignment at the port of entry and to the first consignee.

Singapore - exports of certified products to Singapore are detailed on an Ex1399 OPC.

  1. Certified egg and egg products of Australian origin for export to this market must be sourced from egg producers and / or egg processors that are listed by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore.

Definitions


  1. Aborted means bringing something to an end at an early stage.

  2. Cancelled means to stop the use of an OPC.

  3. Certification means an official document / process that gives proof and details of something.

  4. Conformity assessment arrangement is an agreement between an individual Australian certifying organisation and an overseas government entity for eligibility of that certifying organisation to certify goods for export to the importing country under the agreement.

  5. Export documentation means a document from the department required to facilitate an export arrangement (e.g. health certificate, request for permit (RFP), and phytosanitary certificate).

  6. Exporter means a person who exports, or intends to export, certified organic produce.

  7. Issue, in relation to export certification means “signing and stamping” of the original Organic Produce Certificate by the approved certifying organisation.

  8. Made in Australia means a product that is made from local and imported ingredients that has been substantially transformed in the production process in Australia.

  9. National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce means the Standard that needs to be met for product to be eligible for export (the Standard, National Standard, NS).

  10. OPC - Organic Produce Certificate means an official government certificate used to facilitate a consignment of Australian certified organic produce to an overseas country (refer: Order 1.06 of the Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders).

  11. Product of Australia means a product that has been produced with ingredients that are all of Australian origin.

  12. Request for Permit (RFP) means the request for an export permit which provides the legal permission to allow goods to leave Australia.

  13. Substantially transformed means a fundamental change…in form or nature such that the goods existing after the change are new and different goods from those existing before the change.

  14. Third Party Trader means an exporter that obtains organic goods for export from other organically certified businesses.

Attachment 1

EX1399 - Organic Produce Certificate


Eligible to be used for the export of Australian certified organic products to all counties outside of the European Community (refer to 4 (2) above for list of countries) and Switzerland.

Use this list to check that each box contains the required information

Box titled - ‘Exporter name and address’

Full Name of Exporter

Full location address details – (Not PO Box)

Street number and name

Suburb / Town, State, Postcode

Box titled - ‘Consignee name and address’

Full name of Consignee

Full location address details – (Not PO Box)

Street number and name

Suburb / Town, State, Post / Zip code

Country

Box titled - ‘Australian port of loading’



Place where shipment is loaded for export

Box titled - ‘Vessel / Aircraft details’

Flight number / shipping details.

Box titled - ‘Date of departure’

Date shipment is scheduled to leave the Australian Port of loading

Note: The certificate must have been completed and approved (‘issued’ by the certifying organisation) before the Date of Departure

Box titled - ‘Port of discharge’

Place where the shipment is unloaded from the ship / aircraft

Box titled - ‘Country of final destination’

Name of country the shipment has been exported to

Box titled - ‘Approved Certifying Organisation name and address’

Full Name of Certifying Organisation issuing the OPC

Full location address details – (Not PO Box)

Street number and name

Suburb / Town, State, Postcode

Box titled - ‘Marks, container nos. Type of packages including any specific weight or count Description of produce including trade name’

Marks, container nos. - Batch number / container number of each product listed (could include expiry date). This information is for traceability purposes



Type of packages including any specific weight or count - Description of the type of product being sent

Description of produce including trade name - full description details including product description (name, size, and quantity), batch numbers, expiry / best before dates, container numbers / marks, total number of packages and total weight of each item.  As batch numbers cannot be stamped on fresh produce, operator identification of the produce needs to be used in the description area for reconciliation purposes.  Example – Container # G332434 Big Mamas spaghetti pasta sauce 5 of 12 x 175gm jars expiry 30/2/2012 Batch # 234567)

Box titled - ‘Total number of packages’

Total number of boxes / cartons / items of the product in the shipment (these numbers should be checked and match the total weight for the product item)

Box titled - ‘Total quantity (Kg, L, MT)’

Total weight / volume of each product listed in kilograms or litres (this weight should be the total of the number of packages x the weight of the item. E.g. 8 boxes of 24x1kg tetra packs apple juice =192kg) (this information should be checked and match the product items)

Box titled - ‘Certified producer(s) or manufacturer(s) details’

Name and certification number of the certified producer / manufacturer of the product.

Note: this is the name and certification number of the actual producer or manufacturer of the product NOT the exporter unless the producer / manufacturer are exporting the product they have made themselves. If shipment is of a mixed consignment, multiple entries are required here. This cannot be a third party trader.

Box titled - ‘Related certification (eg Notice of Intention, Health, Phytosanitary, or RFP number)

The information in this box must only relate to Government (i.e. the department) certification.

Related Government certificate number of export permit / certificate required to export the commodity (Example: OPCs containing dairy products require a health certificate to be exported from Australia. The health certificate number or RFP needs to be listed here – Examples of acceptable layout are: Health Cert 445533 or HC 445533 or Health 445533 or RFP 987654321)



Note: An RFP is a request for permit – this is a reference number given upon request for an export permit. On the department system the RFP and the relevant certificate issued are linked, so either reference is acceptable.

When obtaining a certificate from the department (health / RFP / phytosanitary etc) no reference to organic should be included on the certificate. The OPC verifies that the products are organic. The certificate from the department verifies the health and safety requirements of the products to meet an importing country’s quarantine requirements.

Box titled - ‘Declaration by Exporter’

Full name and signature of the exporter and the date the OPC was completed and signed.



Note: Completion of this box is the exporter’s declaration that the products listed on the OPC are Australian products certified organic / bio-dynamic by one of the approved certifying organisations in compliance with the National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce or under a certifying organisation’s conformity assessment arrangement (USDANOP, JAS, and Korea).

Box titled - ‘Declaration by Approved Certifying Organisation’

Full name and signature of the approved certifying organisation representative authorising the use of the OPC for export. Do not sign the OPC if the exporter has not signed the ‘Exporter Declaration’ box.

Date must be the date the OPC was signed by the approved certifying organisation representative.



Note: Completion of this box is the certifying organisation’s declaration that the products listed on the OPC have been verified by the approved certifying organisation as being Australian products that have been certified organic / bio-dynamic by one of the approved certifying organisations in accordance with the National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce, or complies with the conformity assessment agreement (e.g. USDANOP, JAS, Korea) held between the relevant importing country authority and the certifying organisation issuing the OPC.

Do not sign / approve the OPC unless all products listed on the OPC can be verified as being certified and compliant with the National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce or compliant with the certifying organisation’s conformity assessment arrangement.

Box titled - ‘Stamp of Approved Certifying Organisation’

Stamp of approved certifying organisation signing / approving the OPC

Export of goods on a certificate not displaying an original stamp, are not deemed valid and may not be accepted by some importing countries.

Once an OPC is signed and stamped by the certifying organisation it is considered ‘issued’.


Attachment 1 - Example of EX1399 - Organic Produce Certificate





Attachment 2

Example of EX11300 – CERTIFICATE OF INSPECTION FOR IMPORT OF PRODUCTS FROM ORGANIC PRODUCTION INTO THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY


Eligible to be used for the export of certified organic products to the European Community (refer to 4 (2) above for list of countries). The EU specifies what is required on the Ex11300. The guidance on completing the EU Ex11300 is provided on the reverse side of the EU certificate.





Attachment 3



Example of SWISS – Organic Produce Certificate – Swiss Confederation Import Certificate for the Import of Organic Farming Products -

Eligible to be used for the export of certified organic products to Switzerland. Switzerland specifies what is required on the Ex11300. The guidance on completing the SWISS is provided on the reverse side of the certificate.







1 www.daff.gov.au/biosecurity/export/organic-bio-dynamic

2 Department of Agriculture approval is based on assessment for compliance with the current version of the National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce

3 Refer to Competition and Consumer Act 2010

4 Refer to Competition and Consumer Act 2010

Guidelines for the Issue of Organic Produce Certificates to all Markets

Date Published

Current Version Number

Document Owner

Page Number

May 2014

4

Department of Agriculture - Export Organic Program




September 2012

3

DAFF Export Organic Program




November 2011

2

AQIS Organic and Bio-Dynamic Program




January 2010

1

AQIS Organic and Bio-Dynamic Program

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