U.S. and Canada Harmonize Organic Meat Trade

January 27, 2012

A new agreement between the two nations will make it easier to trade organic-compliant ruminant meat and dairy across borders.

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced a new organic trade agreement between the United States and Canada that will make it easier to trade organic beef, sheep, goat, bison, and dairy between the two countries.

U.S. law requires that certified organic ruminants (the animals listed above) must receive 30% of their feed during grazing season from organic pasture and must be out on pasture at least 120 days per year. Regulations to ensure adequate space and living conditions are also in place.

As part of an ongoing effort to improve organic trade with the United States, the government of Canada now recognizes the above requirements as equivalent to its own standards for ruminant living quality; in other words, ruminant product meeting these standards is considered organic-compliant and fit for sale in both nations.

Non-ruminants, including swine and poultry, from the United States must still meet Canada-specific “stocking rates” (i.e. the number of animals in a given area) to be deemed organic and suitable for sale in Canada.