|The New IFOAM Family of Standards|
Latest update: 1st April 2013
The Family of Standards was launched on 24 January 2011.
The fee scheme was revised in April 2012.
View the current IFOAM Family of Standards and the recent approvals based on COROS assessments here. (Note: to get the full functionality of the Family Frame, you must open it with a PDF reader. A Preview-type of program will not give you access to the full information). To make sure you open the latest version, refresh your page before clicking on the Family Frame link.
To learn why and how to apply click here.
Why an IFOAM Family of Standards?
Today, while conventional products can be traded more or less freely between countries, organic products are facing a comparative disadvantage when it comes to international trade: they often have to be certified several times, according to different standards, to access different markets. IFOAM, together with FAO and UNCTAD, have for several years promoted the concept of equivalence with a vision to alleviate these obstacles to organic trade and to promote a global “regulated but streamlined” market access for organic products. Given the number of organic regulations already in place or under development, and the additional number of private standards seeking equivalence to those, achieving global equivalence through unilateral or bilateral equivalence assessments would require thousands of assessments to be conducted: mission impossible!
The IFOAM Family of Standards is the one and only tool set up to enable multi-lateral equivalence, the only realistic approach to a “regulated but streamlined” market access. Its principle is to conduct equivalence assessments of each standard/regulation against one single international reference: the “Common Objectives and Requirements of Organic Standards” (COROS), agreed upon by the IFOAM membership and also endorsed by FAO and UNCTAD under the GOMA project. Hence the IFOAM Family of Standard will become the one tool that will draw the line between organic standards and non-organic standards. The vision of IFOAM is that the family will contain all organic standards and regulations equivalent to the international reference.
In dealing with import approvals, IFOAM, FAO and UNCTAD have recommended that governments adopt an equivalence approach, using methods as efficient as possible to approve a large number of national organic regulations as equivalent to theirs. Governments can now achieve this through endorsing the IFOAM Family of Standards and automatically considering that all standards and regulations in the Family are equivalent to their own production rules. Australia has already adopted this approach and hence products certified according to a standard part of the IFOAM Family can be exported to Australia without additional certification. More governments are expected to follow this path and use the IFOAM Family of Standards as a basis for import approvals. Private standard owners may also use it as a basis for mutual recognition.
Learn more about the IFOAM Norms and the COROS by clicking here.
Which standards are included in the Family?
The following standards are included in the IFOAM Family of Standards:
- Government organic regulations that have been fully implemented for 5 years or more.
- Government organic regulations that have been officially approved as equivalent to these.
- Private standards that have been assessed as compliant to the IFOAM Basic Standards in the context of the IFOAM Accreditation Program.
- Private standards and regulations that have successfully passed an equivalence assessment against the Common Objectives and Requirements of Organic Standards. For private standards, an application needs to be submitted to initiate the evaluation process.
Equivalent assessments are conducted by IFOAM, in accordance with codified equivalence assessment procedures (Policy 42). Upon approval and publication of a standard in the Family, the results of this assessment are also published on the IFOAM website. Entrance and continued approval in the Family are subject to admission and annual fees. All organic standard setters or owners can apply, including governments, CBs, associations and PGS initiatives. Approval in the Family gives the right to use a specific logo in relation to the standard (not a product logo). Both private standards and government regulations can be further promoted in the IFOAM Family of Standards by subscribing to the promotion package.
Learn more about the Basic and Promotion Package fee scheme for private standards here.
Download the application form for private standards here.
Download the application form for government regulations here.
Download the contract template for new applicants (private standard owners) here.
View the logo here and access information about the conditions of the use of the logo here.
Contact person: Joelle Katto-Andrighetto (ogs@ ifoam.org)
|IFOAM - International Federation of Organic Agriculture | firstname.lastname@example.org|