• Organic certification and import


    As already indicated, the importation and sale as organic of both green and processed coffee must comply with the legal regulations of the consuming countries. This compliance needs to be verified by a third party; the procedure is called certification. It is important to realize that different rules apply in different countries. 

    The certification procedure includes a number of steps. Note that there is a clear distinction between the certification of an operator to produce organic coffee, and the certification of an export shipment to be imported as organic coffee.

    • Registration. The producer selects a certification organization (certifier for short) and signs a contract. The producer provides information on their farm/processing facilities and is registered.
    • Inspection. At least once a year the certifier inspects the production and processing facilities.
    • Certification. The inspection report is the basis for deciding whether a master certificate can be granted or not.
    • Control certificate (formerly called transaction certificate). This must be issued for every export shipment to the European Union, the United States and Japan, indicating the exact quantity and organic origin, after which the goods may be exported/imported as organic.

    The certification process includes an assessment of the grower's production and export capacity against which the authenticity of future export transactions will be tested. This is to ensure that sellers of organic products do not exceed their registered capacity. Also, in the European Union organic products can be labelled as such only once the entire production and handling chain, from the grower through to the importer, has been inspected and certified.

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