USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, in her keynote address at the Organic Trade Association’s All Things Organic Conference and Trade Show, announced that an equivalency agreement has been reached between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

This historic equivalency agreement will allow the continued smooth flow of certified organic products between the two countries and support the continued growth of this rapidly expanding market in North America.

It is the first such equivalency agreement worldwide for the organic industry.

The official signing took place at Organic Trade Association All Things Organic Conference and Trade Show at Lakeview Center, McCormick Place during the State of the Organic Industry in North America session. The agreement, signed by the two government agencies, went into effect on June 30.

"This is the first step toward global harmonization of organic standards, and marks an historic moment for the organic community," Merrigan told a standing-room-only audience at All Things Organic.

As a result of the historic equivalency agreement, as of July 1, certified organic products can continue to move freely across the U.S. and Canadian border provided they use the new Canada Organic Biologique label or the USDA Organic seal.

"Consumers will benefit from equivalency, as they have access to a more affordable range of organic products, increased product diversity, and a reliable supply chain. As a result, consumers will continue to have confidence in the organic integrity and government oversight of the products they buy," said Christine Bushway, OTA's Executive Director.