IFOAM

The IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) Standard is an internationally applicable organic standard that can be used directly for certification. A list of accredited certification bodies can be found here.
ACO offers certification under IFOAM in line with our overall approach of offering choice to clients on a market access basis.
To give some background on the international situation, out of a total of over 300 Certification Bodies world wide, only 35 Certification Bodies (under the IFOAM rules) recognize each other and accept products certified by only those certifiers. Only 35 Certification Bodies world wide have signed the IFOAM Multi Lateral Agreement. It is this agreement that for the certification bodies accredited to IFOAM enables them to accept each other as equivalent, and therefore to accept each others certification decisions. In this, IFOAM is very restrictive as it only narrows the acceptation of certification bodies to these 35 Certification Bodies.
A number of the EU’s largest certifiers such as Ecocert (France), Control Union Certifications (CUC) – formerly Skal (Netherlands), Soil Association (UK) and Bio-Inspecta (Switzerland) do not certify to IFOAM Norms but to EU Regulations only. Similarly IFOAM has little relevance in the North American and Japanese markets.
Those who wish to continuously have a reference of ‘IFOAM compliance” on their certificate or wish to use the IFOAM logo on their product, please complete an IFOAM application form BEFORE your annual audit.
program-sample-6
A copy of the IFOAM standard can be dowloaded here.
Do I need IFOAM?
It may be depend on who you supply your product to. Some buyers require specifically “IFOAM compliance” certified product. If your product will be used as an ingredient by another processor/manufacturer, you might need to check with your buyer if they require IFOAM or not.
What is the major difference between IFOAM and ACO?
The major difference will be ingredients. If you are a Processor or a Wholesaler, you might have struggled to find ACO (IFOAM) recognized ingredients to be used in your product.
If you wish to keep the IFOAM logo and reference, then you still have to comply with the IFOAM requirement. This means that ingredients to be used in your product must be IFOAM certified or certified by an IFOAM accredited certifier.
The Global Organic Mark
The Global Organic Mark is one of the services offered directly to operators under the new IFOAM Organic Guarantee System . Organic operators certified by ACO can apply for the use of the Global Organic Mark on their products.
The Global Organic Mark is a registered and protected logo, which IFOAM promotes towards consumers globally.
The Global Organic Mark is the property of IFOAM. Its use by any other person is regulated under IFOAM’s Policy 43  on the Use of the Global Organic Mark.
Individual operators wishing to obtain the right to use the Global Organic Mark on their product should contact IFOAM. The use of the Mark is regulated through contracts and is subject to fees according to the GOM fee scheme. IFOAM also publishes a simple document describing GOM User Guidelines.
The IFOAM 2014 Norms for Organic Production and Processing can be found here .

Application and Evaluation Procedure

The general application process is as follows:

  1. Completed application documents are submitted to ACO for review
  2. ACO completes a document review of the application
  3. Once the application is completed and reviewed by the office and onsite audit will be allocated
  4. The auditor will complete the onsite audit
  5. The Certification Office completes a review of the onsite inspection report
  6. Once all outstanding issues have been addressed a IFOAM certificate of compliance is issued
  7. Annual audits (surveillance audits) are required to verify compliance
  8. On successful completion of the annual audit and closure of any corrective actions, a new certificate of compliance is issued

 

IFOAM contractual conditions can be found in the Certification Agreement received in the application information pack.  The associated fees and possible penalties can be found on the fee schedule received in the application information pack. 

 

Operators must comply with the requirements of the IFOAM standard (link provided on this site).  Operators have the right to appeal certification decisions made by ACO, the process is as follows:

  1. The certified operator at all times has the right of appeal of decisions by either the auditor, the CRC (Certification Review Committee) or CO. Such appeals will usually be at the expense of the operator, except where it is shown that fault lies with the CO.
  2. An appeal of a non-compliance decision must be filed within 30 days from the receipt of the notification. Appeals are to be processed based on an application (in writing) from the applicant / Certified Operator concerned OR where the CO deems that an Appeals Committee needs to be enacted on behalf of a client. In the event that the appeals process sustains the client’s appeal, the CO will enter into negotiations with the client to offer reinstatement of certification and endeavour to find agreement with the client on a mutually satisfactory management plan including communication with industry in relation to the matter 

 

Any updates to procedures or regulations will be published on the certification news section of this website. 

Operators are required to maintain documentation as outlined in the IFOAM standard.