AMS National Organic Program Participates in Organic Certifier Training in Mexico

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AMS National Organic Program Participates in Organic Certifier Training in Mexico 

NOP Staff Training in Chile

On June 6-8, AMS National Organic Program (NOP) Policy Analyst, Bridget McElroy, provided training to organic certifying agents at a workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico. The workshop was organized through a partnership between the NOP, the Foreign Agricultural Service, Mexico’s National Service for Animal and Plant Health, Food Safety and Quality (SENASICA), and the Inter-American Commission for Organic Agriculture.

The 50 training participants were representatives from 14 certifying agents operating in Mexico, as well staff from SENASICA and the Mexican government accreditation agency. The training was aimed at building certifiers’ capacity to oversee organic production and processing, and to enforce the organic regulations. Training topics included organic inspection methods and techniques, traceability and production volume audit exercises, sampling techniques for residue testing, and maintaining integrity in the organic supply chain.

The certifier training was organized as part of a broader effort between NOP and SENASICA to negotiate a possible determination of equivalency between the U.S. and Mexico. The primary objective of determining equivalency is to maintain market access for U.S. organic products as Mexico implements its own organic program. Equivalency would also reduce certification costs and burdens on businesses in the organic sector, and create new market opportunities for producers in both countries.

Strong control and enforcement programs—including oversight by certifiers—are essential to assuring the integrity of organic products traded under equivalency arrangements. Training for certifiers, and the robust partnership that the NOP and SENASICA have developed through equivalency negotiations, are critical elements for resolving trade issues and ensuring that organic products crossing the border comply with the organic regulations.