GREENFIELD, Mass. (Oct. 6, 2000)—The Organic Trade Association (OTA) and the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) have signed a memorandum of understanding to integrate OTA’s American Organic Standards (AOS) into IFOAM’s international organic guarantee system.
"This is a monumental step. By undertaking this process to recognize OTA’s American Organic Standards, IFOAM is supporting private standards and regional variations for the international organic community," said Katherine DiMatteo, OTA’s executive director.
A major aim of the agreement is to achieve mutual recognition globally among certifiers of organic agriculture.
Under the agreement, The International Organic Accreditation Services (IOAS) will evaluate provisions in AOS for compliance with IFOAM Basic Standards. Meanwhile, OTA will identify differences in the IFOAM system from a U.S. perspective. OTA and IFOAM will then work together to determine if further actions are needed to achieve harmonization of private sector U.S. and IFOAM organic standards.
"IFOAM is committed to finding ways for approving or endorsing standards that have variations deemed acceptable within a harmonized framework," according to Gunnar Rundgren, IFOAM president.
Under the agreement, both the North American-based OTA and internationally based IFOAM vow to work together to influence governmental systems to accept IOAS accreditation as an accreditation option.
Adopted by OTA in October 1999, the American Organic Standards are a detailed set of guidelines for the North American organic industry. They can be viewed at www.ota.com.
Founded in 1972, IFOAM, based in Tholey-Theley, Germany, is the worldwide umbrella organization of the organic agricultural movement, with approximately 760 member organizations and institutions in 105 countries. One of IFOAM’s objectives is the implementation of a global guarantee system.
OTA, founded in 1985 and a member of IFOAM, represents the organic industry in the United States, Canada and Mexico. OTA currently has over 1,100 members. Its mission is to encourage global sustainability through promoting and protecting the growth of diverse organic trade.
October 6, 2000
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