Exporting organic products to the EU and Switzerland

The process for getting an official organic assurance for organic products exported to European Union (EU) countries changed in 2017. It's also changing for Switzerland in 2018 and 2019. We've outlined the processes and your options.

New Certificate of Inspection requirements

For exports to the European Union (EU)

You must have a certificate of inspection (COI) issued by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) through the EU Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) for each consignment of organic products you export to the EU.

For exports to Switzerland

You must have a certificate of inspection (COI) issued by MPI either:

From 1 January 2019, Switzerland will only accept COIs issued through the TRACES system.

Get a TRACES Certificate of Inspection

To get a TRACES Certificate of Inspection, you need to:

(*A TPA is a third-party agency like AsureQuality or Biogro).

Set up a TRACES account

The TRACES website has guidance to help you set up your account and use the TRACES system. Note, you may experience display issues in TRACES if using Internet Explorer as your web browser. We recommend using an alternative browser. 

Get an EU login

The TRACES website has step-by-step instructions for creating a login account to use EU online services.

Request a user access profile in TRACES

Request a new user access profile for TRACES by following the step-by-step instructions on the TRACES website.

If you are the first person from your business to register in TRACES, you'll need to create an 'organic exporter'. You can check if your business is already registered by searching for it in TRACES – you can search by section (organic exporter) and country.

Get access validation

After you submit your request for an access profile, your TPA will need to validate your access. Email your TPA to let them know you have applied.

You'll be able to check whether your TPA has validated your access, by logging in to TRACES.

If you have any questions, email organics@mpi.govt.nz

Each organic exporter may have one person as their account administrator. The administrator manages TRACES access for other staff. 

Request registration of your suppliers (organic producers)

If your suppliers aren't already registered in TRACES, you will need to request registration for them too. These are the final operators who either supplied, or had responsibility for, the products you are exporting. If they aren't registered in TRACES, you won't be able to complete a Certificate of Inspection template in TRACES. 

Check if they are registered by searching for organic operators in TRACES. You can search by country and section (organic producer).

If you have questions about who your organic producers are, contact your TPA.

Complete a Certificate of Inspection template in TRACES

The TRACES website has instructions to help you create a COI. MPI also has guidance available.

After you submit your COI in TRACES, save a pdf copy on your computer. Note the TRACES reference number. It will be in the format 'COI.NZ.YYYY.0000123' – you'll need to copy this into your official organic assurance application form. If you need help with requesting a COI in TRACES, email organics@mpi.govt.nz

Download MPI's guidance on completing a COI [PDF, 676 KB]

Complete an official organic assurance application form

Instructions are provided on the form.  

Download the official organic assurance application form  [XLS, 253 KB]

Get your TRACES COI and OOA application verified

Email the completed official organic assurance application form and a copy of the TRACES COI you have submitted, to your TPA.

If your consignment contains products certified by both AsureQuality and BioGro, send the official organic assurance application form to both TPAs.

Your TPA will verify your TRACES COI and application form, then forward them to MPI for a final check. 

If you need to contact MPI about documentation for your consignment, email organic.certification@mpi.govt.nz

Receive your official organic assurance

If your application for an official organic assurance is successful, we'll register your consignment and issue your COI in TRACES.

A single, hard copy of the COI will be prepared. You can collect this from MPI's Auckland or Christchurch offices, or have it sent by courier. You can download copies from the TRACES website.

If your application isn't successful, we'll email you and your TPA with the reasons why. Your TPA will advise you what to do next. 

Get an official organic assurance issued manually (Switzerland only) 

You have the option of exporting consignments to Switzerland with manually issued official organic assurances, provided they are dated before 31 December 2018. 

Complete an official organic assurance for each consignment, and email this to organic.certification@mpi.govt.nz.

Download the official organic assurance application form [XLS, 253 KB]

The information you put on the application form will be verified by your TPA.

If your application for an official organic assurance is successful, we'll register your consignment and issue you a hard copy certificate on MPI letterhead. You can request certified copies for products other than animal products. You can collect the certificate from MPI's Auckland or Christchurch offices, or have it sent by courier.

Who to contact

If you have questions about exporting organics to the EU or about getting a TRACES COI, email organics@mpi.govt.nz

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